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Getting Religion - Part 3

You never know who you’re going to meet in a psychiatric ward, especially in San Francisco in the early 1970s. 

As it happened that night,  I met a breath of fresh air and a rock of Gibraltar -  a Chinese Southern Baptist psychiatrist who told me to stop screaming as he gave me a shot in my left arm.  “What’s wrong young lady,” he asked in a kind voice. I shouted that the stars were out of place and the earth was wobbling out of control.  But before I had a chance to start screaming in terror again, he assured me all would be much better tomorrow.  I felt the shot take affect and was out like a light.  

The next day, after awakening with a cotton mouth, Dr. Wang stopped by on his rounds.   He talked to me, listening attentively to my expressions and confused voice, letting me know with great certainty that I needed to eat or I would die, that my body was sacred to God and a temple of God, and that I would be staying in the hospital to take tests and to rest. He said I had two weeks to get my wits about me.  

For the first time in years I felt safe.  He promised no one would be coming to see me that I didn’t want as a visitor, that he had found out who I was and had contacted my employer and family, and that he would be spending time with me almost every day. While I must have said things to him during this second exchange, I only recall his words and clear directions, his solid, unflappable presence, and the feeling that the stars were not so alone in the sky any more.

As I reflect back on that first experience with Dr. Wang, I realize how blessed I’d  been to be in the kind and capable care of someone who conveyed to me that I was so much more that the symptoms of my crazy, scary world.  

To be continued ….

5 Comments to Getting Religion - Part 3:

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