end of an era

Last week, I ventured to the Fairview Medical Center at the University of Minnesota to see my beloved psychiatrist Dr. Suck Won Kim for the last time before his retirement.  Dr. Kim is a skinny Korean man with salt-and-pepper eyebrows and sharply combed hair.  I met him first in 2008 when, after years of failed prescriptions, my old psychiatrist essentially threw in the towel and referred me to Dr. Kim, a national expert on OCD who has seen over 3,000 OCD patients.

The first time I met with Dr. Kim, he asked me about what meds I had tried.  And when I had told him, he resolutely said, “No more of that.  You are done with that.”  And he started me on Effexor XR, which I am on to this very day.  Dr. Kim spoke with such confidence that I had felt confident.  I remember thinking, I think this might actually work this time.

But Dr. Kim wasn’t done after he wrote out the prescription.  He turned to me and said, “Cognitive-behavioral therapy.  Tell me, have you heard of it?”

I had.  Horror stories.

“It’s the best treatment there is for OCD.  I’d like you to call Chris Donahue and get an appointment.”

“Okay.”

“It will be hell,” said Dr. Kim, telling me what to expect.

And it was– but it set me free from the reign of OCD.  And that is why I was feeling sentimental as I sat in the office of this OCD genius for the last time, feeling cheesy but needing to tell him that he was one of my heroes.