Getting Happy... when you wish you were dead

Day 86 – Monday, 4 Feb

I had an appointment with Dr. Cosmé Lozano today.

We got off to a very rocky start when we first met at Silver Cross Hospital, but we have both turned out to be very different from what was expected.

"Conrad." Cosmé was standing in the doorway. "Would you like to come in?"

We walked down the hall, turned left, and went all the way to the back of the office. Cosmé's office was a windowless room, well furnished with the memorabilia of vacations, his children, and his practice. It was a surprisingly comfortable room.

"How are you today?" he asked as he settled behind his desk.

I didn't sit down. He had comfortable chairs in his office, but I've always felt a physical disconnection when sitting across a desk from someone. Even my own office had been arranged so the desk was sideways to where people sat. That way I could use the desk, but there was no barrier between us.

So in Cosmé's office, I leaned against a table at the side of his office.

"I'm okay. I got the first draft of a Kickstarter plan done. That feels good.

"I showed my business plan to Ben Fields. He's a successful, now semi-retired, business owner. He like it, and said he can easily see the potential in what I'm trying to do. That makes me feel very good. It's nice to have outside validation.

I took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. "But I do have a specific concern I'd like to talk to you about. Other stuff is happening, too, like Maria and I getting divorced, but we can come back to that."

"What's your concern?"

"Well, as you know, Maria and I are getting divorced." He nodded as I continued. "I also got a letter recently telling me I'm no longer covered by her health benefits. So that means I don't have any insurance, and I have to tell you straight that I don't have any income.

"We Care, the local food bank, gave me the transit fare to get here today, and I don't have any way to even pay the twenty dollar co-pay for each visit. So I don't have any way to keep seeing you."

Cosmé took me seriously. He stopped making notes, sat back in his chair and talked to me.

"Well, you already know I'm fairly successful at what I do. I have a good practice, and I make quite a bit of money. That allows me the freedom to see who I want to see, and do what I want to do." I nodded and muttered agreement.

"Conrad, if you're willing to keep doing the work you're doing... As long as you keep making the progress I've already seen, then I'm willing to see you. You don't have to pay anything."

When the appointment was over, he walked out with me. He made a point of telling his receptionist that he would continue seeing me, and that I was not to be charged anything for future visits. He would take care of the costs.

This was a big deal for me. Here was a doctor, a psychiatrist no less, who was setting aside everything to help me.

As it happened, I wouldn't see Dr. Cosmé Lozano again. We would exchange e-mails, and eventually lose contact completely, but this recognition and acknowledgement was a key element in my being able to keep moving forward.

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