How I want to Scream….

 December 14, 2015

(A year ago today I said goodbye to my dad. I sat with him a couple hours after he passed, and told stories about him to anyone who stopped by.  His forehead was cool when gave him a final kiss.  Peace finally.  He had wanted to die for months. I thought about him a lot today.)
Today was a bit crazy…and at times I wanted to scream.  It seems as if I had just fallen asleep when  I heard “Carol we overslept”.  It was six am.  We were supposed to be on the road to Portland for my appointment at OHSU  by 6 am.  There was a truck of meat to load for delivery, all the stuff I needed, Charlie’s clothes needed to be packed and the animals needed  to be fed.  Charlie would not leave the house until he had brushed and flossed his teeth.  I was really ready  to scream at him but it would take too much time. We had three hours twenty two minutes and four seconds to get to my appointment in Portland.  The big Ford F-350 named Gertrude can move when it has to.  I was urging it on with whip and spurs while Charlie kept it reined it right at the speech limit.  Can I commence screaming NOW?
We made it across the I-5 bridge perfectly negotiated the turn to Lake Oswego and then turn back to The South Waterfront when my phone buzzed.   Luke: ” mom can I go home.  My back hurts.” Then before I could answer “Mom I got a ride home “.  Five minutes passed.
Mom I took two hydrocodone.”   What the…I did scream!  By then Charlie dropped me off at the door to the Center for Health and Healing and I was running for the elevator. “Start drinking lots of water. Eat something and take no more medicine of any kind today,”  my text screamed at Luke.
 Where is this appointment anyway? First floor. Speech therapy.  No wrong speech therapy. I am supposed to be at the Northwest Center for Voice and Swallowing.  Big difference.  Regular rehab therapist vs evaluation specialist with TECHNOLOGY. The receptionist says “Did you bring your paper work along?”  If I had been sent paperwork I would have had it done. You know my fetish with paperwork.  No paperwork came to me. She hands me a pen, a clipboard and a pile of papers to fill out.  How many surgeries have I had?  Do I smoke? Drink? Eat I eat cream at midnight? Am I a professional singer?  Why am I here? The questions are endless.  The evaluator calls me into the exam room and I sit in one of those funky ENT  chairs. Like an fancy upright dentist chair.  She says “Oh I see you brought paperwork.  But you are already a patient here at the hospital.  We know all of this.  Just fill out the last page.  But we don’t have time to do this now so you can do it when we are done.”  She puts a microphone up to my face and keeps the distance from my mouth consistent by an unattractive metal space bar.  An intern comes to observe. AN INTERN.  We know how I love speech pathology interns. I am on it. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? What is your area of specialty?  Do they pay you good here? Wanna come out to visit eastern Oregon? I’ll show you around, buy you lunch and offer you a job (oh back to reality) it’s revealed I am one of “them”. Charlie arrives on the scene and now it’s a room  of speech pathologists, from young to old we have it covered.  Both the intern and evaluator are delighted that one of Oregon’s former premiere speech pathologist couples is in their exam room. Now to the voice evaluation. It remains the  same as it has been through the ages from the beginning of speech pathology. It’s the tools of measurement  that change. “Read the Rainbow passage.”  (Gag or scream, which do I do first) “Give us a one minute narrative about your home town. How long can you say “ahhhh”. Let’s hear your range… pitch from low to high, high to low” Her laptop spews out charts and graphs. What, no oral exam? No hearing evaluation?  Nope. This is the Voice Lab. Recommendations: LSVT Loud.  The evaluator is very surprised we have local practitioners. I laugh. My former colleagues will now become my therapists!  
As I return to the waiting room to finish the only page of the questionnaire I hear the intern say to some unknown Voice and Swallowing Clinic professional “You know that couple that just left? They are both speech language pathologists. Aren’t they cute?”  Should I scream “you just broke your vow of confidentiality?  Ah no, they didn’t really…just insider chat heard on the outside.  
I am so tired, but there is more to tell….so stay tuned.
Disclaimer:  this summation in no way reflects the true professionalism of the Speech Pathologists I encountered today.