"Tell me, Mrs. Martin, why are you depressed?" The medical aide was taking notes after my injury.
"I'm not depressed: I'm here because I was cleaning the basement and tripped over something and fell against the sofa, which threw me against the wall and a metal Christmas tree fell on me."
“Have you ever made suicide attempts before this one?"
"This was not a suicide attempt: I'm retired and now have time to do some of the things I've been putting off for years and decided to clean my basement.”
"We find that older people do tend to have bad moments. We have very good psychotropic drugs which may help you.”
"I don't want a psychotropic drug: I want something for my sprained ankle!"
“We treat the whole person. Just doing something to alleviate your temporary pain will not be sufficient."
"Could you start the whole person treatment with an elastic strip, or maybe one of those elastic wraps and I'll put it on myself?"
"You must understand, Mrs. Martin. I'm on your side. I realize that sometimes after the nest is empty and you don't have enough to keep you busy, depression sets in.”
"My nest is so damn full I can hardly squeeze through it! The middle kid is home again, and he's brought a Dalmatian with him and all of his friends are over at the kitchen table playing games. The pizza delivery truck comes hourly. I'm babysitting kids I've never even seen before because their mothers have to be at work, and the day nursery is closed. Once an hour some agency calls, asking me to collect money door to door. I'm tailing some three courses from the University Extension. The grass grows in inch a minute and my husband can't cut it because he's too busy playing golf. And in between times, I'm trying to clean the basement before we go for a lengthy vacation.”
"Now, now We'd best get something to tranquilize you and slow you down just a little."
"Do you realize that the bone in my ankle is practically sticking out through the flesh?"
"Mustn't get upset now! Just a few uppers and downers should take care of all this for you. Nurse - please bring in a shot of Demerol for Mrs. Martin"
"Touch me with that needle, and you die:" I told him.
"Depressed and filled with hostile anxiety" he wrote on my chart. "You'll feel better soon Mrs. Martin. Retirement and aging is difficult for everyone.”
Opaline Marks is the pen name of Opal Markiewicz, a writer of novels, short stories and nonfiction essays.