The night before the neurologist appointment, I ask my husband to make a list of questions for the doctor. I fall asleep before midnight and cannot fall back after he comes to bed at 5am. Moving around the house like a cat, looking for a comfortable spot, only I am restless instead of floppy. The questions I want to ask don't have answers.
I make coffee, feed the guppy my youngest grandson gave me, let the cats out to prowl. At 6am, I put on laundry and try to read but my mind cannot focus. I think I wrote a daylog, then made a casserole for dinner. My husband woke up too early, asking me for red, translucent nail polish to fix an electric heart he gave me for Valentines' Day, but several light bulbs have burned out. I suggest he eat breakfast first and by the time he was done, it was time to leave.
I was irritable from lack of sleep and the humidity; he read signs aloud as we drove a familiar route, declaring he'd never been here before. My heart was already sinking as I turned on a Neil Young CD, singing along to Prairie Wind, getting sadder. We were ten minutes early and only one other couple was there. The man was white-haired with a bandage across his forehead. The woman was reading a fashion magazine, three seats between them and a table with a plant. The man was filling out forms and when he asked her for help, she was silent, embarrassed or annoyed or tired. He asked her, "When did this start? 2010? 2011?" No answer. He asked her three times, "What does the blank after subscriber mean? Is that me? I don't think I've subscribed to anything." The woman doesn't answer. I'm half reading some exercise magazine and can't be silent anymore, "Whoever has the insurance is the subscriber," I tell him. The woman says in a detached way, "That's me." So I tell him to write her name in the subscriber blank.
The neurologist is timely, a trait I appreciate. As if on cue, he appears in his grey pin-striped suit and grey, curly hair and calls my husband's name. My husband doesn't hear the doctor so I tell him, "It's your turn." He looks at me with no expression and I tell him the same thing in a different way, "It's time to see the doctor." He smiles and says, "Okay," with enthusiasm. I want to wish the couple well or good luck, but instead I tell the man who is still filling out forms, "You're doing a great job." He looks up and asks, "Why do they make it so confusing?" I tell him I don't know, it's just the way it is. The door closes behind us.
The doctor asks my husband how he is doing to which he responds by launching into great detail about a mobile he worked on all week while on vacation, made from walnut shell halves, using a ship book so the sails would be historically accurate. I tell the doctor it's something that he made and it got broken in his first marriage. The doctor writes things down, while whistling softly, renews two prescriptions electronically, and teases my husband about getting organic pipe tobacco sent from California, calling it "Maui Powee". My husband says he doesn't inhale and I tell the doctor he's lying. The doctor says to me, "You've done all you can, for now."
As we drive home, he asks me if the lady in the waiting room was trying to sell me insurance. I assure him she was not. As we pull into our driveway, he asks if he can drive now. I look at him and say, "We forgot to ask the doctor that."