Friday, November 16, 2007

Dropping By


My office is in a building with lots of other offices and some stores. It's not uncommon that friends will mention they've been in the building for a reason, or they might say they're going to be there and might drop by. I generally suggest that they not do that-- I see patients back-to-back most days, it's more than a bit awkward to have my personal life intrude on my professional life, though I don't want my friends to think I don't love seeing them, just not during the work day.

Yesterday, between sessions, I got this text message from a friend, "I'm in the building. U there?"

I called and said, "I have to see a patient quickly, come up in a little bit."

It felt like a funny, meant-to-be sort of thing set up by the cosmos. I didn't tell the friend all the details, but I did have a patient scheduled that hour only the night before she'd called and said she forgot what time the appointment was. I told her (same time as friend showing up), but as an afterthought I added that I had another time available later if that was more convenient. It was, she took it, thereby freeing the cosmic time slot. And you know I don't do "med checks" but the patient I'd scheduled into that time is the only patient in my entire practice that I see for brief med checks-- a patient who came to me completely stable with no symptoms or side effects, no desire for psychotherapy, who could easily be managed by an internist (and has been told that) but he wants a psychiatrist to write his prescription.

Friend came up and we chatted. He sat where the patients sat, I sat where I sit. I'm not the quietest of therapists, but when I'm doing psychotherapy, it's all about the patient. I got to talk about me. He looked around, asked about the position of the clocks. Why doesn't the patient get to see a clock? Why don't I have a desk? We talked about some other stuff. I didn't ask if he needed more meds. He left when the hour was up. I wondered if he felt funny that the patient in the waiting room must have thought he was a patient.

It was nice to see you, Roy.