We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I said good-bye to a fellow I have worked with on and off for over 15 years yesterday.
His wife died last winter, and he has finally decided to move to Florida to live with one of his daughter's families. Lonely. He is in his 80s. Most of his old pals in town that he worked with, grew up with, and worshipped with are dead. A sad farewell for both of us. He gave me a big bear hug. He was never a regular psychotherapy patient, but an irregularly-regular patient when things got tough.
Strong guys are not afraid of getting help when they need it.
I nursed him through panic attacks (cured them easily with medicine), a major depression after his heart attack, a major depression after the death of his wife, the suicide of one of his daughters. In the process, I learned a lot about his life. A lot about life. It is my privilege to learn a lot about life through people's lives. Their stories enrich mine.
Today, he reminisced about his troop ship trip home from England after having been a tail-gunner - a teenager - for a couple of years in WW2 in Italy and France, and finally in Germany. He was based in Dijon for a while. "We got the news about FDR's death on the ship. Some liked him, some hated him, but he was our boss. Ship was half-filled with guys like me headed for furlough, and half-full of POWs. Why, at that point in the war, they were bringing German POWs to the US I have no idea, but the military never makes sense. That's a given when you're in the service. For my furlough, they took me from New York to Massachusetts to Miami to New Jersey before I could get home to Massachusetts. After my month furlough in the local pub, I had to spend three months down in New Jersey to get enough points to qualify for discharge."
"Doing what?" I asked. "Basically, nothing," he said. "They just had to make us wait out our time. The action then was mopping up in the Pacific." He said "It feels so long ago now that it's like another life."
He is a retired mailman who remembers horse-drawn fire trucks, played trumpet in the Volunteer Fire Department marching band for 50 years, and still sings in his RC choir and delivers food to the elderly. "I'm older than most of the people I deliver to." He was the guy who told me that flak on an airplane sounds like "a bucket of gravel being dumped on the fuselage. You get used to it after a while. We all assumed we would die, and got used to that too."
An American fellow to the bone, and one of the finest, humblest, most giving and unselfish people I have ever known. He dedicated his life, and especially his retirement, to being a good companion and to doing unto others in whatever ways he could.
Dr. Bliss ... He sounds like a true member of 'the greatest generation" and I salute him. But we're in the process of growing a new 'greatest generation' now, in our soldiers, all volunteers, fighting to protect us and their country. They are as brave and as worthy of respect as that older generation, and I salute them and love them for it. In this very partisan and difficult period in our history, it's important to remember the gift they are giving us, and thank them directly whenever we can.
With a few changes to put it in a Canadian context, that fellow could be one of a number of old men in my parish: all of them members of the KofC and the Royal Canadian Legion and most of them curling club stalwarts too.
My late father in fact.
Thanks for this little vignette. And God bless him down there in Florida.
That's a nice story Dr Joy. I'm sure this man will never forget you. I think you will never forget him either. A lot of healing and work on both parties concerned, especially the suicide. Some day when I get my courage up I'll share with you the suicide of my sister, and the devastating effect it had on me and my parents.
I'm glad you were there for him during that part of his life. I'm happy to hear that you pray for all your patients.
I had a shrink once that told me the same thing. I felt honored when he told me that.
Do you think you could re post the blog you made a while back, the one with a picture of you in a bikini. I told you I had carnal thoughts of you, and you told me I was Normal. Do you remember?
You hot good looking shrink!
For some reason, that little tale made me weep. That it should come to this sorrowful parting after so much and so many experiences, really got to me. I doubt if this man was any sort of hero in a glamorous sense; he just did what he had to do when it was required, and then went home.
I hope whoever he is he lives out his remaining years without any regrets or loneliness. And when he goes finally home, I hope everyone is there to welcome him.
I am glad you had this experience with this patient.
My shrink threw me out of therapy after exactly one year. I was in full transferrence, and she just handed me a number of a new shrink, basically told me to leave. In my heart I felt she couldn't handle the deep emotions I was trying to express, couldn't help me work through what I needed to work through, although she had me where she could have done some great work with me to resolve a lot of issues.
The termination was the hardest emotional experience I have ever had in my life - far worse than the anxiety and depression I originally went to her to resolve. The rejection was almost unbearable, the months following the worse experience of my life. She really screwed me up, and almost a year later while I am over the hard part I know in m y heart will ever really be over her.
Dr. Bliss, To understand the roots of your patients,you must understand the root of the process in hyperdimension back through physicality.
Each of your patients manifests anothers personality that is broken in your diagnoses,and actually is another personality.
A psychologist or psychiatrist with "The Knowledge" has a completely different ability than those who do not.
Our society has been set upon and that feel good process along with medicinal abatement has provided no cure,as you know,but there is a cure,you just have to be brave enough to assimilate the "Knowledge"
Saying goodbye to a family member when you are "That Doctor" is a much stronger emotion than the weekly "Actually" just another client that you are trained to connect with,and may Abhor, when actually requested to attend the clients family "Bah Mitzvahh' dont cha think. Madam.
But now ,back to reality,when given the knowledge , your practice takes on a very different psychii, and you either grow or succumb, and so what do you think I may have accomplished(A freebee for me,) Growth or psychiatry?
I too get kicked out of a supposed other Doc-tuh's office when I release just a few tid-bits of the knowledge, its the test of "mettle" .
Thank you for sharing your emotive state of release.
Dr.Thomas W. Hughes