I know what you’re thinking, “just use a calendar or diary.” Yes I do, and I still get it wrong. Why? Because my stupid brain thinks it knows everything, and I don’t check. It can’t accept it’s now dreadful with dates and I shouldn’t assume I’ve got it right.
I can be certain that I know when I need to be somewhere, but it turns out I’m a week wrong. Or I’m right about the date I’m meant to be there, but that’s not today’s date and so I’m still wrong. So why can’t I just check? I do it all the time so why don’t I accept that needs to be part of my routine? I find it so frustrating that I know I have this problem but I’m not helping myself.
When I arrive for the appointment and check in, I know I’ve done it again the moment the receptionist says “I can’t see your appointment for today.” Straight away I’m thinking of what I wrote down and what the date today really is. This happened this week when I took my Dad for a medical appointment. I’d driven for 2.5 hours the night before from mine to his so I would be ready to take him the following morning. I knew it was for 3rd November at 10.15. I even had checked the time again to make sure I didn’t miss it. When you’ve come that far even my stupid brain agrees it’s worth double checking. I would have done that even before I became so dreadful with dates.
My most recent mistake didn’t affect just me.
So as I was checking him in, I was surprised when the receptionist couldn’t see his appointment. But then I thought how the evening before someone made the comment about it being November. At the time I thought that comment would be more appropriate on the 1st of the month. I assumed that as it was the 2nd she was just trying to use a conversation filler. But as I looked at the confused receptionist I realised my error. I was running a day ahead.
But this time it was even more complicated. Even when I asked if I was a day early, she said she couldn’t see any appointments for him at all. I know I can be dreadful with dates, but I don’t just make up appointments. Unfortunately I had forgotten the letter and it was sat in my house, the other side of the country. Another member of staff gave me a disapproving look and told me I should have brought the letter. Well that was it. I knew I’d made some errors, but I didn’t need someone telling me off. So I explained I have a brain injury so my memory isn’t great, but there’s no point in us going on about it because I can’t just get it. And I cried.
At that point they tried harder to find out when his appointment was due. I hate crying in public, but why does it take that for people to put in just a little more effort? As his appointment was with a mobile team it was on a different system. But yes I was a day early. Imagine if I’d accepted the first response of that he didn’t have an appointment at all. I would have gone home only to find I needed to reschedule the appointment and come back. I know the error was mine, which I quickly admitted. But I find it hard to understand why people are so reluctant to be helpful. It felt like they only took the extra step to avoid a scene.
I just want to be treated with respect.
I realise I’m taking this very personally, but I’m only human. I’m dreadful with dates, and accidentally make things confusing, but I want to be treated as a human. Not a number or naughty child. I’m a polite adult, I just sometimes need a little assistance. I treat others as I want to be treated, so I expect the same back. And that’s got nothing to do with my brain injury, that’s just being courteous.