Thursday, September 2, 2010

St. Pantaleon (? to c.305)

When I made the decision to get a divorce from my husband, Brian, at age 26, my mother insisted I see a neuropsychiatrist and literally get my head examined. It wasn't because she liked Brian, since she didn't, but my mother wanted to make sure I was okay.
The doctor she chose was a renowned Jewish physician and author who was affiliated with Brown University. I will call him Dr. B.
I put up a fight about going for counseling since I made the right decision to leave my marriage. So, my basic attitude throughout the six or so months of sessions was to disagree with whatever Dr. B. had to say, especially since he was the same religion as Brian.
I told him my goal was to forget my marriage ever took place and his advice was to always remember it like the Nat King Cole song "Unforgettable." That way, I'd be able to recognize red flags in future relationships and not make the same mistakes.
Each week I'd say to Dr. B., "If you're as brilliant as everyone says, diagnose me with something." But, he couldn't because there was nothing wrong with me.
Dr. B. suggested I try Dexedrine because I had so much energy and needed to calm down. To the average person, it would be like taking speed. I was skinny to begin with (and still am) and the medication made me not want to eat which reduced my weight to 93 pounds.
He also gave me reading materials to take home and discuss at the next session. I never did anything he told me to do and one day he took an uncontrollable yelling fit. When I mentioned the outburst to a family friend who was a psychologist that knew Dr. B. as a calm and demure professional, he thought it was incredible that I got him to snap.
From that day forward, I thought Dr. B. had serious problems. And it rang true in 1995 when a patient he was treating, who was also a psychiatrist, shot and killed a person at a convenience store in East Providence. Dr. B. somehow thought it was his fault so gave up counseling. Last I heard he was working in Boston.
One of the patron saints of physicians is St. Pantaleon. He was born in Nicomedia and was the physician to Emperor Maximian. He was a bachelor who lived a wild life as a pagan until he experienced grief and despair for his behavior so returned to the church.
He gave free medicial assistance to the poor and many of his cures and healings were accomplished through prayer.
St. Pantaleon is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He was martyred for his beliefs by being nailed to a tree and beheaded c.305. On St. Pantaleon's feast day, July 27, it is said that a vial of his blood, kept as a relic in Ravello, turns to liquid and bubbles. He is also known in Italy to give winning lottery numbers in dreams.

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