Friday, November 16, 2007

Wings to Fly — 16

Memoir Index

Crippled Within


I was a new pharmacist. I was working at a small clinic owned by Grant hospital. I worked about ten hours a week after Christian was born. My customers liked me very much, and some would even make their doctor’s appointment based on when I was working in the pharmacy.

We had one doctor whom I will call Dr. Gulinskii (not his real name). He was a family doctor. He would bring his patients to my pharmacy with his arm around their shoulders and would proceed to dictate their medicines to me. He was liked by his patients.

One day a woman walked into my pharmacy and asked me out of the blue, “Do you know any good dermatologists? My son asked me to find one, and Dr. Gulinskii did not give me any names.” I replied naively, “We have one upstairs. She is an excellent dermatologist named Dr. Banuchi. Her husband is a surgeon.” As I was speaking, Dr. Gulinskii walked in. His face turned red. He waited until I took care of the lady. After she left, he started to raise his voice. “I will not have you taking my patients away from me. You will hear about this. I can get you fired!”

I was so disturbed I did not know what to do. How could I tell him he misunderstood me? For the next many weeks, he stopped coming into my pharmacy. He called me several times, threatening to put my job in jeopardy. Yet he would not allow me to explain anything. I told my supervisor what was happening. He told me, “Don’t be bothered by his empty threat. He can’t fire you. He does not own the pharmacy.” Yet I was so distraught by this that when I went on vacation with my family, I could not enjoy a minute of our time. Tom and the kids were on vacation, but I was not there emotionally.

Sometime later I drafted a beautiful letter in calligraphy explaining the total misunderstanding. I gave it to his wife who was his receptionist. She took it from me and promised to give it to her husband. I felt she sympathized with me. Two days later, he walked into my pharmacy with his arm around a patient and dictated her prescriptions to me. He acted as if nothing had ever happened. There was no apologies.

Business Partners

Tamara and I started our business on a shoe string budget. Two years into it, we were $30,000 in the hole on my credit card and were seeking investors. It seemed we had everything but funding to make it really work. I approached Jack Kippengel (not his real name) whom I had gotten to know in business conferences. He was a grandfatherly type whom I was immediately drawn to. He sympathized with our dilemma, really believed in our vision, and was enthusiastic about participating. He told us that he would raise one million dollars for us in exchange for 10% ownership of the company.

From the start Tamara had a strong distrust for Jack, but because of our desperate need she accepted him. I had no such feelings. He was raising money. He convinced someone to invest $5,000, and he was working on more. He told us that in so many months he would have all of the money raised. He opened up a checking account for the money he raised, which only he could access. I don’t exactly know how that came about. Maybe both Tamara and I were too naive. Soon he had $10,000 in the company checking account. Within a short time, he was spending money for what he believed should be done, like creating expensive brochures and hiring professionals to produce them.

By now Jack also had a strong disliking for Tamara. Neither trusted the other. They were both talking to me saying we needed to get rid of the other. I was paralyzed. I could not think logically. Since they were both so totally dedicated to the business now, I was afraid that getting rid of either one of them would be devastating to that one. They would be hurt, and they would be bitter towards me. I went through days where if my family talked to me, I was not there. My mind was totally preoccupied.

One day I took a walk. I was deeply perturbed, and I started to talk to God about this situation. I had a sense that I needed to let go of Jack Kippengel. Tamara and I called him and told him that he was no longer a part of Proevity. He had already spent the $10,000 he raised and still owed $2,000 to designers. We also had to hire an attorney to make sure he was completely out of the picture. The man we had brought on board to solve our financial problems had left us with an additional $12,000 debt.

These are two of many experiences where I was paralyzed because I had a need for others to like me or appreciate me. I also felt that I was responsible for their well being, their livelihood, and their dignity, even if it meant I should be destroyed. Later I learned where this ingrained belief system came from and how to deal with it.

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