Psychiatrist's office. Cold, esoteric surroundings make me shiver. I am captivated by all the ADHD pamphlets for children sitting on the table. "Does your child speak out of turn?" one asks and I shudder at the thought of filling little children full of largely untested chemical combinations. "They may be attention deficit hyperactive disordered!"
"Come on back," the receptionist says in a very heavy Southern accent as she opens the door.
"Kermit is ready for us," my father whispers, as we get up from our chairs, and walk down that sterile seeming and long, boringly white hall to his office.
"How are you, today?" my doctor asks as he greets us, shakes my hand, and we sit down again.
I chuckle. The thought of my father's words of calling this esteemed and learned man, Kermit, makes me smile. I envision a little man up under the table animating and speaking for the personage sitting in front of us. He does look like Kermit, I think.
We talk of side effects.
"How is your sexual health?" my doctor asks after a myriad of questions.
"I haven't m-a-s-t-u-r-b-a-t-e-d in months," I reply. "I have no desire for sex."
I can't believe I said the M word. I look at my father and he is leaning forward in his seat, interested. I want to curl up in a ball and disappear with a wink. I felt like the proverbial bull in the conversational china shop.
"Are you okay with that?" my doctor then asks. He goes on a long diatribe about how my medications can cause sexual dysfunction.
"I want him to get married again and to have a normal life," my father chimes in, looking at me to see if saying this was okay.
I am so embarrassed, by now, that I want to run out of the room and hide in my father's car. I still can't believe I said the M word.
"Dad, did I say too much?" I ask my father on the ride home.
"Son, he is your doctor. You need to talk about those things with him. We all want you to have a normal life and everybody masturbates," my father said.
I felt sick at my stomach talking about it, but dad's words did make me feel better.