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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1900938
Phoenix visits his psychiatrist and receives a phone call with the go-ahead...
Phoenix got to the mental health clinic a half an hour early for his appointment.  The secretary at the front desk handed him a clipboard with a chemical dependency screening worksheet on it.  She also handed him a pen, but he returned it, stating that he had his own.  As he looked over the worksheet, he answered the questions honestly and finished it rather quickly.  A few minutes after he handed the clipboard back to the secretary, his doctor called him back.  Phoenix sat down in his customary chair in his doctor's office and placed the screening form on his desk.  His doctor looked it over carefully, somewhat troubled, it seemed.  "How bad a problem with alcohol are we talking about, Phoenix?"  Phoenix told him that he had quit drinking.  "Okay.  How bad a problem was it when you were drinking?"  His doctor was very concerned about Phoenix's answers, but Phoenix had answered honestly.  As far as Phoenix was concerned, that was the only way to answer.  His doctor would come back to the alcohol problem many times throughout the session.  Phoenix told him about his drinking, why he drank, and why he quit.  He had only quit drinking four days before, at the same time that he had stopped his antipsychotic.  His doctor asked him about that.  Phoenix told him that he figured that, while he was quitting things, he might as well quit drinking then, too.  As Phoenix spoke, his doctor said, "Well, I understand how drinking could be attractive.  I am worried, though, about what it might do to your health."  As they talked more, his doctor asked, "What is the worst thing you think could happen to you?  I'm sure you've thought about that."  Phoenix told him that sometimes he thought the worst thing that could happen to him would be that he would shoot himself and sometimes the worst thing would be that he would not be able to shoot himself.  The worst thing, then, would be that he would miss.  Again.  "Well, I think you're way too nice a person to be shooting yourself, Phoenix."  They discussed Phoenix's thoughts about suicide some.  Phoenix said that he was afraid he would not make it.  "What do you mean, Phoenix - that you wouldn't make it?"  That he would not make it and get into medical school or get through grad school or that he would not make it.  "Fear of failure, then."  Phoenix confirmed that.  "Well, I was pretty proud of you when you graduated from college with Cum Laude, or was it Magna Cum Laude..."  Phoenix stopped dead.  The words rang in his head - "proud of you" - and Phoenix smiled.  Those words meant the world to him right then.  He had made the person he respected most in the entire world proud of him.  Phoenix thanked him quietly, humbly.  Phoenix thanked God in his head as he continued the conversation with his doctor.  "A lot of people try their hardest and never get even close to that."  He was right.  Phoenix had always resented missing Summa Cum Laude by two hundredths of a point, but he had missed the bigger picture.  He had graduated Magna Cum Laude with two degrees, one in biology and one in psychology, despite all of the struggles and the pain and the illness he had been through.  He was now in graduate school with a 4.0 GPA thus far.  "If Guadalajara is where your opportunity is, I think you should go, Phoenix."  He had permission, encouragement, even.  Phoenix felt great.  As they ended the session, Phoenix shook his doctor's hand.  "No guns and no liquor."  Yes Sir.

Phoenix walked up to the university from the clinic for his supervisory meeting.  Just as his meeting was about to begin, his phone rang.  He took the call outside the conference room.  It was his doctor's nurse.  She had called to tell Phoenix that the ECT had been approved and not to worry, that it was still on schedule.  Phoenix breathed a sigh of relief.  The day was now complete.  It could be called a good day, indeed, now.  He was taken care of.  The issue of authorization for the ECT had been hanging heavy on Phoenix for a week and a half.  He had to have preauthorization from the VA for the procedure.  His doctor had evidently told his staff to take care of it, but they made some assumptions that it was already okay and did not do what he had asked, Phoenix found out.  He got this final piece of information from his doctor's nurse.  She assured Phoenix that she would know for next time, though, that when his doctor asked that something be put in for authorization that there was a reason.  Phoenix was not angry.  He was puzzled, but not angry.  If the boss asks you to do something, there is probably a reason.  That was Phoenix's logic.  However, he was not the only patient they had to take care of, and his doctor's nurse was not the only one involved in the assumptions.  The problem began when no one actually read the previous authorization.  Only Phoenix and his doctor had actually read the authorization to know that it was for only one ECT per month.  Oh, well, Phoenix thought.  It was taken care of.  He had the authorization.  He had his doctor.  He had, above all, God and his answered prayers concerning the entire mess.  God had taken care of him.  God had answered his prayers because Phoenix had trusted that it would be okay and that God would take care of it.  And He did.  Praise God, Phoenix said out loud as he walked back into his supervisory meeting.  Phoenix was getting his faith back...
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