Crazy Like a Fox

The day comes for me to go to my second appointment with Regillo. I ‘dress for success’ for these appointments. Some people may think putting on a professional-looking skirt and pantyhose and doing my makeup for a doctor’s appointment is a little crazy, but I think of myself as being crazy like a fox.

I ‘dress for success’ for the appointment with Regillo. Some say I’m crazy but I think of myself as crazy like a fox.

I can be a manipulative little thing when I want to be. People think of manipulation as a bad thing. It has gotten a bad name because people think that manipulation is always for the agent’s own gain and always hurts the person who he (or she) is trying to manipulate. That is far from the truth. There is something called  ‘positive manipulation’. Your mother used it on your when she told you “here comes the train! Open the tunnel!” so that you would eat your smashed peas. You have used it yourself. We just don’t like to admit it because manipulative has been paired with words like evil and conniving in our culture. Everyone of us is manipulative. Some of us do it with finesse and some are heavy-handed. It is simply a matter of style…and training.

DBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills teach us that as long as you are not hurting others, not being dishonest, etc, using finesse and certain strategies is perfectly acceptable to try to get what you want. The goal of interpersonal effective is getting someone to do something for you and that person feeling good about having done it.  Win-win. And yes, it is positive – gasp – manipulation.

As long as you are not being dishonest or hurting the other person, manipulation is a perfectly acceptable skill according to DBT.

Another reason I dress up is related – sort of – to the IMPROVE (another acronym) the Moment Skills of DBT Distress Tolerance. I am trying to improve the way I think of myself and the situation. Putting on ‘good’ clothes reminds me I am a professional and have a few strong points. The saying is “clothes make the man”. They also make the woman.

“Clothes make the man” and the women. I’m reminding myself that I am a professional and a few strong points.

So, I dress for success because whether anyone else realizes it or not, this appointment is a job interview. I am interviewing, once again, for the job of lab rat.

I have been anxious about this appointment for days. I am not sure what the decline in my vision will mean –am I no longer qualified for the study?

After the usual round of screenings by technicians, I finally rotate around to the man himself. Regillo confirms there has been significant cell atrophy – read ‘wasting and death’ – since I last saw him in August. He calms my fears that I may have done this to myself. No, this was a natural progression of the disease. No external factors such as sunlight reflected off of the snow or my high blood pressure would have caused this to happen. This is good. I can now at least get rid of one concern. I have been declared not guilty.

Regillo calms my fears that I may have done this to myself. I have been declared not guilty.

Just the same, I still have the worry about the study. Will I still qualify? The study is for those with dry macular degeneration only and this rapid loss of vision suggests I may be developing wet AMD.

Regillo runs an IV and puts beta carotene in my veins. I daresay this is the first time I have ever mainlined ‘carrot juice’! Beta carotene is mostly Vitamin A and your eyes lap it up. By watching where the ‘carrot juice’ goes in your eyes and comparing old imagines with new ones, the technicians and doctor can see if my eyes have been creating new veins.

I daresay this is the first time I have ever mainlined ‘carrot juice’! It’s beta carotene & helps the doctor compare old images with new ones.

Thank God. There are no new veins in either of my eyes. I still fit diagnostic criteria for dry AMD and therefore the criteria for the study.

Regillo suggests I refer myself for low vision therapy – already done – and AGAIN referred me to the study. He suggested that he might be seeing me ‘downtown’. I replied he would definitely be seeing me downtown. Regillo just smiled. Or at least I think he did. Do you think I was too confident?

Regillo just smiled. Or at least I think he did. I still qualified for the study and I am confident I will be in it.

Next: Advice from Scarlett

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