A surprising heart-to-heart

The doctor is NOT a head doc/shrink 😛

Doc: We’re on schedule to seeing you off the CII by Oct or Nov of this year, barring anymore accidents/falls and we can always go with a nerve block if we see any regression with the CRPS. What has your GI said about your Crohn’s?

Me: He put me on prednisone back in Dec. and though the symptoms have scaled back on severity, they’re still present.

Doc: Are they going to give you a stronger dose or planning for something other than pharmaceuticals?

Me: I won’t go on a stronger dose of prednisone right now. I know from my asthma attacks and bouts of pneumonia that more and more prednisone is required each time my body tolerates a new level of it. I also don’t like the insane energy/lack of sleep I get while on it. So, I’m fasting for now and drinking ginger ale. It’s worked before though it can take 3 months to calm down the Crohn’s flare up.

Doc: You have to take better care of yourself! How else are you getting through med school?

Me: With an arsenal of doctors to keep me sane and my body functioning 😉

Doc: You, youngsters, take everything for granted like there’s all the time in the world. Like when are you getting married already?

Me (being a little sassy): When I finish med school and have a suitable partner?

Doc: Aren’t you still dating the Texan financial analyst/advisor? Wasn’t he the good one?

Me (laughing that my dr. recalls anything about my love life): The Texan and the financial analyst/advisor are two different people. But no, no longer exclusive.

Doc: But it was definitely the Texan with a few pieces of property (real estate), right?

Me (laughing harder): Yeah, you got it right. The hunter, producer, etc.

Doc: So, what happened?! It’s ’cause he wasn’t Chinese, right? (my dr. is an ABC like me)

Me (shaking my head): Dude, I will never be Chinese enough for an Asian guy seeking a Chinese wife to placate his parents. It’s not happening – don’t you remember the pharmacist I told you about in Sept.?! Nightmare!

Doc: The longer you wait on getting married, the less of a chance you have that it will happen…

Me: B/c I’ll be old and ug-

Doc: B/c you’ll be too set in your ways. Take my sister, for example. She’s 48, has lived alone for a long time now and every time she gets a new boyfriend, she fights with him in every way: verbal, emotional and physical attacks.

Me: Is she attracted to only the “bad boys”?

Doc: No, she thinks she’s testing their/his love by pushing her boyfriend away whenever she feels vulnerable/upset and if he really loved her, he’d take her shit, forgive her and come back every time for as long as they’re together. Then, she gets upset when the guy finally has enough and is gone forever. The problem isn’t them, it’s her. My father did a real number on her and refuses to admit that he’s culpable for her current state.

Me: Oh! I remember: he disowned her for changing her hair color-

Doc: Right and that wasn’t all of it. He did a lot of damage to all three of his children. My oldest brother isn’t married but has a string of girlfriends (probably even kids he’s unaware of) and a gambling problem. I’m still angry with my father because he put my mom in an early grave when all he had to do was take care of her during her chemo/radiation for breast cancer. He fully expected that she cook, clean, run the household and any errands, get her own medicine and on and on as if she wasn’t ill. My mom not only did all that but she defended him when I or my siblings criticized his behavior!

Me: I think a lot of Asians are broken by their parents and only a few will realize the fucked up way they were raised to become emotionless robots. The only roadblock to becoming “perfect” and possessing a zen state (i.e. never letting emotion overcome our rationale) is the unfortunate reality that we’re human and any suppressed emotion(s) will erupt with the right trigger at the precisely wrong time.

Doc (a little emotional): It took me a long time to see the damage done and it only began when I moved out. I was angry with my parents for a long time and didn’t speak to them for a while. Even now, after processing a lot of it and making attempts to reconcile/rectify issues, I realize the only thing to do is make sure I don’t do the same things to my daughter. You can’t change the past but you can shape the future, you understand? It’s one thing to make a mistake, but it’s a problem if you keep repeating it because you haven’t/can’t learn from your mistake.

Me: Of course! Could you really play the mind games with your daughter conscientiously aware of what your parents did (as opposed to your brethren who have no idea why they act the way they do or treat and raise kids counter-intuitively) and knowing the effect they’ll have? I don’t think any enlightened mind could – I know I gave my parents hell when I realized what they were doing.

Doc: I hope my daughter turns out better than me, maaayyybe a little more like you. You’re smart and beautiful and now, you got a small nest egg – go out and get married already!

Me (laughing): When the right one comes along, I promise I will. I’m enjoying the freedom and weightlessness of being single.

Doc: Probably saving yourself a lot of money and losing the aggravation that is your ex, too, heh. Have you seen or heard from your ex-boyfriend?

Me: No, just his parents.

Doc (with an annoyed look on his face): Didn’t I tell you that isn’t a good idea to keep even the smallest ties to your ex-boyfriend? It’s not right or fair to you-

Me: It’s not like I can erase 7 years of rapport, good or bad, with his family members over night!

Doc: For your mental and emotional health, you can’t care about your ex, his family and friends because it will wear you down all over again. You have to stop seeing-

(I have re-discovered that replying with a non sequitur or the little white lie of half-hearted agreement will stop people from imposing themselves on my ex/love life. It’s the only way to keep them from pestering me with unsolicited advice, opinions and judgement. It’s also a solid way to keep me from losing my cool.)

Me: You might have something there. I’m already weaning myself off their presence and companionship! First, I was seeing them once or twice a week after Beck and I broke up. Then, it dropped to weekly chats before dramatically to one visit in 3 months because he moved back in. I already know that soon it will be more contact only via phone and a visit once or twice a year (i.e. birthdays and holidays like this year) to see how everyone is and how Benji is doing.

Doc: That’s a reasonable plan. But why still get in touch with them at all?

Me (a bit flustered because I already answered that): To exchange holiday gifts after I picked up MamaD from work.

Doc: You were in their home!?

Me: Of course! Where else?

Doc: If Beck is living there, then I assumed he would be present and you’re not ready to see him again, if ever.

Me: Well, if he was, I didn’t see a trace of him… though, I recall MamaD walking away from the living room (where PopS and I were catching up/having Benji all over me for doggie treats) and speaking to a quiet male voice-

Doc: Beck, right?

Me: No idea – it could have been one of their others sons or nephews.

Doc: Why didn’t you go investigate yourself?

Me (shrugging): Just not my place or time so, I had no inclination to discover who the muffled voice belonged to. Besides, Beck has made it very clear he wants nothing to do with me and I’m abiding by that. There’s no point in contacting him.

Doc: He has no clue what it’s going to be like when he realizes what he really lost when he gave you up and cut you out of his life. Didn’t you have a few things you wanted to say to your ex in person? I hope you give it to him good if he ever smartens up and wants you back in his life. I really hope you know your worth and that you don’t care for such a jerk who would waste 7 years of your youth. Sadly, a part of you still does love him, right?

Me: To the former, I don’t remember much of the heartache and anger anymore; I can’t recall the sharp pain of the break up along with most/all the nasty things said and done-

Doc: You could have checked or insisted to see him because he sounds like the type who wants to be worth fighting for even if he might not be with his current state of affairs.

Me: We’re two different people now and  I know that barging in on him would have been unpleasant/unwelcomed. (here, I unexpectedly choked up) I don’t even remember what he smells like. Scents lock in my memories more vividly and he’s fading… I understand why some people hold onto the pain of losing a loved one; it’s all that’s left and it’s better to have the hurt than feel and have nothing at all.

Doc: Don’t love someone who doesn’t love you and don’t want anyone who can’t respect you. Accept that your break-up may have been for the best because he’s no longer holding you back from achieving your goals.

Me: I know and he wasn’t-

Doc: He was and that’s clear because now that he’s out of the picture, you’re pursuing your dreams, you have a job that’s given you leaps and bounds in knowledge and expertise on autism and definitely more experience than the layman. If he had been supportive, you would have reached your goals sooner instead of being elbowed out by his needs, situation and desires.

Me: I’ll give your insight some credit because I agree that there wasn’t room in my relationship with Beck for me. I was always anxiously on my toes and having to expect whatever new drama was affecting his life that would affect our relationship and while keeping myself on the back burner.

Doc: Relationships are about compromise-

Me: I was working on that for myself and us… I get that we’d have to want to get to know each other again if the timing was right and we have to have the patience to go about it like strangers without preconceptions, without our past gumming things up. I understand the sacrifice relationships demand, the give and take-

Doc: I hope you can retain that mutability because the older people get and the longer they stay single, the more set in their ways they become (even if someone can point out the flaws in them that aren’t beneficial and the choices they’ve made are idiotic). Don’t be like my sister because I can see some of her unhappiness stems from the inability to change.

Me: I think most people can reform their ideologies and behaviors (especially, if they’re hindering the person’s growth) when it’s pointed out in a gentle way. It’s the thick headed ones who need the wake up call via Louisville slugger size harsher words-

Doc: No amount of gentleness and prodding can make someone like that change, especially if they have enablers in their life cushioning any stumbles from boneheaded judgement and decision making.

Me: I totally hear that. Close friends and loved ones shouldn’t be “silently disapproving” types because it isn’t helpful to anyone.

Doc: Be strong, happy and brave. The New Year approaches and it’s the best time to drop all that negative baggage of a bad break-up. Now, scoot out of my office – my next patient needs me!

Me (in Chinese): Happy New Year! May good health and fortune come your way. May your business thrive and livelihood be ensured. See you next year!

As I left, I realized the rarity of having an elder back up what I can inference in my culture. I’ve long thought my parents’ generation was bananas for following customs that can be destructive (mind games with an impressionable kid is not cool; for example, telling them if they fail a class, they’ll never be worth loving and they’ll be just another waste of limited resources).

Before the Year of the Rooster arrives, all households are cleaned top to bottom and cleansed of bad energy with incense. Whatever is broken, useless and taking up space is thrown out. I’ll throw out the girl who still loves her ex: the one who wants to reach out but knows she’ll be rebuffed. The girl who waits for a sign that will stop her from emptying and burning the last of the things that were her ex’s love made tangible. The one who wants to tell him the things that are going on in her life and share with him her joy, fears and good fortune. She’s forgotten how he smells, the feel of his skin under her hands but not the sound of his laughter. She hasn’t forgotten the dizzying spell he had on her when they were lying down together and talking about everything and sharing the deepest of aches along with the biggest dreams. But what I know is that in order for me to forget those things, I must cut her loose and shake her of foolish notions like waiting for a sign of love. A fruitless enterprise is going against the grain and betraying who you really are and the dreams that drive you. I am made to love, to be strong, innovative and patient. I only see the good in my loved ones; I will always fiercely protect them, assist them and hold them when it seems like the whole world has turned its back on them.

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