Master of Counseling Program
One major experience I can attribute to helping me make this decision occurred on one cold morning at the UC Irvine Gavin Herbert Eye Institute where I happened to be accompanying a man on his medical follow-up visit with his ophthalmologist to assist with interpretation. The time was 7:09 am and the wall clock’s second hand ticked fastidiously as if racing with the tippy-tap sound of the receptionist’s keyboard as she typed away on her computer. The hanging TV set up in the corner of the medical lobby was broadcasting a news reporter who is a solemn voice talked about the immense loss in Newton, Connecticut and the green cushioned wooden chairs around the room remained mostly vacant on this cold morning.Occupying the seats beneath the TV in the corner, we sat together seeming out of place in the monotonous lobby of the Eye Institute. Here the Vietnamese middle-aged man who looked no older than my father got the opportunity to talk and know each other a little better. The man was dressed in a thin navy jacket and bore the expression of inexplicable sadness depicting an individual who had traveled the old beaten path of life on his lonesome for many years. Though we were sat inside, there was still a chill in the air and as I drew the lapels of my coat together, I asked my client if he too felt the cold. The real question that I wanted to ask him however was How long ago did you truly feel happy? We engaged in light conversation as we waited for his 7:30 am appointment with the doctor and breezed through the usual topics such as the November weather and breakfast (or lack thereof). We discussed the gravity of his glaucoma contributed by his diabetes and several conversations later, I got to learn of the various trials and tribulations that had continuously laced his life. I could see the emotion in his eyes as he spoke of his parents’ emotional neglect, estranged siblings, loss of friendship, and his unemployment resulting from the deterioration of his eyesight. His gaze occasionally steered to the news reporter on the TV as if to bring his thoughts back to the present and away from the painful past.