Her name was Dr. Pecher. She was European. A woman with an accent I couldn’t place, a woman who never let me do the asking so I never found out where she was from. She was brilliant but I didn’t get enough of her.
Dr. Pecher saved me. Literally. Probably figuratively too. I was 19. Maybe 20. It was in my 2nd year of college. One Monday morning I walked into class holding nothing but a box of tissues. I had the cold of a century. André, the prof (whom I later mistakenly married and divorced) had the utter wisdom of recognizing something wrong. Within 5 minutes I was being driven to Montfort Hospital. Montfort was known for 2 things: wicked psychiatric wing and being the only French hospital in Canada outside of Quebec. (Years later I played a key part in rescuing Montfort. I love it when everything comes full circle. Except for when it comes to marrying a college prof 14 years after graduating. The power roles never change.)
Dr Pecher was old. She treated me and loved me like a grandmother would. At least that’s how I assume a grandmother would love. Both my grand-mamans died before I was six. Or was it seven. I only added that seven part because it’s probably my favorite number. One day at the end of my session Dr. Pecher announced: “That’s it! We’re done. You’re all good now.” I felt like I was thrown out of a sinking boat without a giant lifesaver candy thingy that floats. I told her she was wrong. I cried. I wasn’t ready. I wanted to climb the wall and throw a chair out the window to prove to her I wasn’t equipped!
She smiled. Told me I’d be fine. I was shaking. Inside and outside. I’m not sure but I probably started wheezing some asthma. Oh that would have been dramatic. An asthma attack in her office. In Montfort hospital. On the 4th floor behind the locked doors of the psych ward.
She smiled and I walked away in the rain. I didn’t actually finish college that year. Doctor’s orders. I had to stop everything I was doing. My last term of college (it was a 2-yr program), my position as Campus Director, my volunteering with the high school French student association, my part-time job as lifeguard, my part-time job as counsellor in a local youth center… Burning the candle from both ends and finding non existing ends to burn is what sent me to Dr Pecher’s office and her calm smile.
Doctor’s orders were also to rest for 3 months. I tried. Riding my bike out to a job interview then provided me with the means to do it. Way before I got anywhere near the interview I was hit. By a french fry truck. The poor guy. Never saw me. It was during rush-hour traffic. Post work day. He was tired and couldn’t wait to get home. Hit me from behind. I didn’t see it coming. He hit, the truck pushed my bike forward for a while, I went flying over the truck and landed behind him. Like I said, he never saw me so he kept on trucking.
Luckily (for me) there was a police car in front of the french fry truck. He saw me flying. The police man that is. He pulled the french fry truck guy over. I was rolling on the road behind him. Luckily the woman following the french fry truck wasn’t as tired as the french fry truck guy. She saw me. She stopped before driving over me.
“Isn’t that funny! I never saw you!” said the toothless french fry truck driver when he walked behind his truck to see me. He was smiling. Smiling?
Karma. After Dr. Pecher ordered me to stop all activities had me getting hit by a french fry truck on my way to a job interview. The insurance company covering Mr French Fry guy had been trying for years to rid themselves of their horrible client. They gave me $6,000. Karma. Works in mysterious ways. I used that money to buy a used car and rent a cabin with 3 other friends. I spent my summer, doctor’s orders, sitting by a river.
Riding my bike in mud became my follow-up therapy.
That picture is a free download from istockphoto.com. It fits perfectly with my story giving it a happy ending.