“Kayee, go take a seat while I check you in.” The nine year old girl nodded and made a dash for a pair of seats tucked away in the corner away from the others. She looked around the psych’s office glumly. Generic landscape pictures hung on the white walls, and the floors were covered with fake wooden planks instead of carpet. There was a table in the center of the room covered in People magazine’s and issues of Web Md’s. It wasn’t as child friendly as her normal doctors office, whose toy basket overflowed with germ ridden teddy bears and outdated hard cover I SPY books. This was a different kind of doctors office. This doctors office was for crazy people. Her head twitched as she wondered what they were going to do to her in there.
“Hi, we have a 10 o’clock to see Dr. Marzan.” Kaylee heard her mom say at the front counter.
“That’ll be a $60 co-pay.” The receptionist said back. Kaylee’s stomach dropped a little. Sixty bucks? Was that how much it cost her mom every time she took her to the doctor? She had been to the doctor a lot recently. Kaylee tried to do the math, but quickly gave up. Her head jerked violently to the side as she punched the air in front of her. The door opened and in walked a mother and a boy she guessed around five. She let out a bark followed by a high pitched whine. Kaylee saw the receptionist look up at her, before she looked away.
“You nervous?” Her mom asked as she took a seat next to her.
“A little,” Kaylee admitted. She grimaced before the muscles in her face finally relaxed. “IT’S TUESDAY!” She felt all eyes on her. What a stupid thing to yell. It was Friday.
“Oh, is it Tuesday now?” Her mom said. “Bummer, I had been looking forward to the weekend.”
“WEEKEND WEEKEND!” Kaylee yelled. “FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF!” She could feel her mom tense beside her.
“You are nervous.” Her mom stated matter of factly.
“Mrs. Shepard,” a voice called. Her mom stood and beckoned Kaylee to follow, but an elderly man held up a hand to stop her.
“I want to have a minute with your mom alone for a few minutes. How about you wait there and I’ll come call you when I’m ready for you.” Doctor Marzan said. Kaylee gulped. She didn’t like being alone in public.
“Here, “ Her mom said handing her something out of her purse. Kaylee’s heart soared as she took the red and black case. “Play with that until it’s time for you to come in.” Kaylee eager bounded back to her seat, all anxiety of being in the public eye long forgotten as she undid the zipper to reveal her Nintendo Switch.
Oh, I’ve missed you! Kaylee thought as she turned it on. She had gotten it taken away last week when her mom had been called to the principal’s office to come pick her up. She hadn’t been in school since. She didn’t mind; she hated it there.
“SHUT UP!” Kaylee yelled into the quiet office as she tried to remember what she had been previously working on in Mario Odyssey. After only ten minutes of smashing through brick walls as a T-rex she felt the urge to shake her arm out. She tried her best to ignore it, but before she could stop herself, she let go of the Switch as she flapped her arm up and down. Kaylee let out a gasp as she helplessly watched her game tumble to the hardwood floor. She shot down out of her seat and scooped it up off the floor. There, impossible to ignore, was a big crack across the screen.
“No!” she whimpered. Her mom had specifically told her she wouldn’t buy her another if she ever broke it. She had only had it for three months! She hit the power button, relieved to see it come back on. She’d be in trouble for sure, but at least it still worked. She let out a loud series of barks as her neck twisted to the side.
“Mommy, why’s that girl barking?” The boy from earlier asked loud enough for Kaylee to hear. She could hear his mother quickly hush him.
“FUCK OFF! SHUT YOUR FAT ASS!” Kaylee yelled looking down at the screen. She gulped. She hadn’t meant to say it.
“Do not talk to my son that way!” the mother snapped. Kaylee looked up to see the lady glaring daggers at her. “I’m telling your mother you said that when she comes back out here!”
Kaylee’s heart dropped. “I-I didn’t mean too!” She tried to say “I have turnips!” She could feel her eyes begin to burn. It was like school all over again. Her face twisted into a snarl and she let out another quick succession of barks. Her hand shot up and punched herself in the face.
“David, let’s move.” the other lady said. She grabbed her sons wrist and pulled him as far away from Kaylee as she could get. She dropped her voice, but Kaylee could still here her say, “She’s obviously not all there.”
Tears pricked her eyes as her vision began to blur. Her hands shot up, her neck craned as she yelled. “PEANUT BUTTER!” She hated being in public alone.
“Kaylee, we’re ready for you. “ Her mom called. Kaylee looked up, tears still streaming her cheeks. “What’s wro-” Her mom begun to ask before stopping and spying the cracked device clutched in her daughter’s hands. “I told you to be careful with that!” her mom said in a disgusted tone. Kaylee shrunk back. She let out several barks, shook her head from side to side, and her body pushed.
“No!” Kaylee thought, suddenly frozen. Not again! She could feel warm liquid beginning to pool under her. Her body stopped pushing and she frantically clutched herself to stop the leaking.
Her mom threw her hands in the air and let out a grunt of exasperation.“See this is what I was talking about!” She half yelled to the doctor. “She pees herself almost every time she gets in trouble!” Kaylee’s face burned. Did she have to say it in front of everyone?
Doctor Marzan pushed his hands out and lowered them gently down as a signal to calm down. “Let me talk with her alone.” Kaylee sniffled and wiped her runny nose down her arm as she waddled down the hall in semi wet pants. Once they were in the back, he led her to the bathroom so she could finish peeing and clean herself up. She threw her wet underwear in the trash can and scrubbed at her pants with a wet paper towel. Once she re-emerged, she followed the Dr to a room and took a seat across from his desk.
“So your mom tells me you’ve been getting in some trouble at school.” He said. Kaylee nodded. Her left eye twitched. “You want to tell me in your own words what happened?”
“I kicked this guy Jake in the nuts.” She mumbled.
“And why did you do that?”
“He was making fun of my turnips, him and his friends.” She admitted.
“The noises I make and all the… “she waved her hands in the air for emphasis.
“Oh, the tourette’s. I see”
“Yeah, that thing. I always get the name wrong.” she said with a shrug. Her arm jerked out to the side.
“So what kinds of things do they say to you?” he asked as he took notes.
She shrugged. “They copy me, call me a freak. Tell me I need to be in the retard class.”
“Do your teachers know they do this?”
“Yeah, but she doesn’t care. She usually just sends me to the office.”
“Wait, your teacher sends you to the office when they pick on you? Why?”
“She doesn’t like my tics. Or me.” Kaylee said before letting out a loud grunt.
“Why do you say she doesn’t like you?”
“Another teacher told me to hand my teacher a stack of handouts. She was in the teacher’s lounge and FUCK OFF, sorry.” she said. He nodded to her to continue. “Well when I opened the door I heard her in there talking about me to the other teachers. She-She…She said she wished I wasn’t in her class because I was annoying and that I needed to be in the specials needs department.”
“That must have been hard to hear. Did your tics get worse after that?” Kaylee shrugged.
“I don’t want to be in special needs.” She said feeling a tear fall down her face. “I’m not stupid.”
“Being in a special needs classroom doesn’t make you stupid.” He said.
“I was normal last year and then.” She shrugged and threw her hands up.
“Well, sometimes tics can manifest after a stressful event. Did anything happen differently this school year compared to last?”
“We moved.” Kaylee said after a pause. “That’s about it.”
“Being in a new environment can be stressful. Did you leave behind friends?”
“Did you have any friends in the school you were going to?” Dr Marzan asked.
“Yeah, back in Texas.”
“No, I mean here in this last one.”
“Not in the school I’m going to now. I’m…” Kaylee paused. “Not very popular.” She trailed off.
“Do you know why you’re not in school right now?”
Kaylee shook her head. She didn’t know, she was just happy she wasn’t there.
“You were expelled for attacking another student. Jake you said his name was. I need to know, do you ever have thoughts of hurting other people? Even the ones who deserve it?”
Kaylee shook her head. So that’s why her mom was so mad at her this week. She had gotten expelled. “He dared me to hit him, so I did.”
“You said earlier it was because he was making fun of you.”
“He was, they were, “ She tried to say thinking of how to explain. “I was having punching tics, while they were standing around me.” She demonstrated by punching the air. “So they started laughing and egging me on to hit him. Said they’d give me a free shot, then Jake said I was too retarded to even land a hit and… yeah. That’s when a teacher saw me.”
“Do you think they wanted you to hit him because they saw the teacher coming and wanted to get you in trouble?”
“So you don’t normally want to hurt anyone?”
“What about yourself? Do you ever want to hurt yourself?”
“No, I don’t want to, but sometimes I do anyway. My hand hits my face. I feel this pressure sometimes and it’s like, I have to.”
“We call that a premonitory urge. Do you feel this urge with all your tics?”
“Sometimes, but when they’re strong I don’t feel anything. It just happens. Like when I yell. I feel a pressure in my throat, but I don’t know what’s going to come out.”
“I want to ask you about one more thing before I invite your mom to come back in.” Kaylee nodded. “Tell me about the accidents.”
Kaylee blushed. “It’s like the other stuff.”
“What do you mean? It’s like a tic? You’re mom is concerned you might have been acting up for attention or something.”
“No!” Kaylee insisted. “I- I can’t control it! When I tic, sometimes my body pushes without meaning too.”
“And that makes you pee?”
“Yes,” Kaylee blushed before letting out a bark. “I don’t do it on purpose. It’s like when I say stuff, or rock my head side to side. Sometimes It just pushes.”
“I see, well how often does this happen? Once a day? Once a week?”
“Umm, well, lately a couple times a day.” Kaylee admitted. “My mom gets really mad when it happens.”
“Wouldn’t it be more convenient if you wore some kind of absorbent pad or something?”
“I guess.” She said with a shrug.
“So how about you wait out front while I talk to your mom one more time?”
“Okay.” she said getting up to leave.
“Oh, and Kaylee.” She looked up and met his gaze. “You’re not a freak.”