Mr. Cellophane

There is something I understand as being quite common amongst autistic individuals: namely, the feeling of being openly ignored. Looked straight past. In discussions, I have heard it suggested that we do not, perhaps, have a natural presence, nor natural body language and so are overridden in turn. Which is painful realisation to make, and one that was plunged home to me yesterday, at a doctor’s appointment.

It was, to be frank, actually a therapy appointment, which made it sting all the more that the experience I had there was not befitting of a bastion of dependency, trustworthiness and professionalism.

My appointment was at 9.30am and I arrived ten minutes early, having checked the SMS and letter five times to make sure I had the day, date, time and place correct. The Receptionist was pleasant and said she’d inform them of my arrival. I took my place in the waiting room.

At 9.35am, someone who I was fairly sure was the gentleman I had seen at my last appointment, poked his head out of a door and scanned the waiting room – but not in my direction. Ten full minutes later, at a quarter-to-ten, he walked past me, wearing his coat, and leaves the building.

Between my uncertainty of it being the gentleman I required, and my inability to process quickly enough (because, I mean, it surely couldn’t be him – I had an appointment!) I did not speak out and stop him, meaning all I could do was go back to Reception and confirm I did, indeed, have an appointment. The lady assured me I did and I had to, embarrassingly, explain that I had just watched the man walk right by me, missing me completely sitting in full view, and leave. Three people spent thirty¬†minutes trying to contact him, until they sent the Practice Manager to apologise to me and promise a rearrangement.

I was, and am, livid.

I spend enough of my daily life feeling downtrodden, dismissed and downright invisible and now, even in an institution supposed to be helping me with those issues, they manage to find a way to heap on the misery. My distrust of such services is currently resolute.

In order to make myself feel better, though, I have drafted an incredibly strongly-worded letter to the Manager. Who said I can’t express myself – hmph!?

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