Transcript of 45th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, July 1, 1997 at 4 pm.

Ms. Bows: Hello, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: Sylvia, please come in. How are you? How was your week?
Ms. Bows: It had its moments.
Dr. Balis: How did your dinner with Tom's parents go?
Ms. Bows: It was very civil. Tom's mom cried a bit, but overall it went fine.
Dr. Balis: Did Tom get what he wanted?
Ms. Bows: Well, the point is a bit moot now, actually.
Dr. Balis: I don't understand. Does Beverly have a guardian?
Ms. Bows: Beverly will have many guardians for a long long time.
Dr. Balis: Hmm?
Ms. Bows: Okay, let me get my thoughts together--I had a long day. The dinner. The dinner went very well. Tom's parents reluctantly agreed that Beverly is just not ready to handle the responsibly of living on her own just yet. And we reached a compromise--Beverly will have an attendant at all times. Her father will be her conservator. And this will remain in effect for one year past her release from the mental hospital. After that, there will be a review. If two psychiatrists certify Beverly as capable of resuming her normal life, then she would be free to live alone as long as she continues weekly therapy sessions. If at any get the idea, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like a very reasonable solution. So what's seems to be the problem?
Ms. Bows: My mother.
Dr. Balis: Your mother? I'm afraid I'm still in the dark.
Ms. Bows: I know. It's a complicated story, so give me a moment.
Dr. Balis: Go ahead.
Ms. Bows: As you can imagine, my mother reacted very poorly when she heard of Grant's kidnapping. Tom and I were so worried that her heart wouldn't take the news well, that we didn't let her find anything out until after it was all over and Grant was sitting safely in her lap.
Dr. Balis: That makes a certain amount of sense.
Ms. Bows: Her doctors were very clear about the potential risks of stress and anxiety on her health. I even considered not saying anything to her at all. But the story was all over the media, and my dad could only keep her in the dark for so long.
Dr. Balis: So your dad knew from the start?
Ms. Bows: Yes. We had to tell him; he was the only one who could keep my mother away from our house for so long. It was a tough job. I know he was as upset about the kidnaping as we were. But he couldn't show it. He pretended to have bad stomach problems for a few days and nights. That allowed him to be in a bad mood and to act irrationally, effectively covering up his real feelings. It worked.
Dr. Balis: Good. So how does your mother fit into this story now?
Ms. Bows: Well, what I didn't realize was just how angry my mother was at Beverly. My mother is from the old school--she doesn't believe in such thing as being a little crazy. You're either all gone or you're faking it.
Dr. Balis: I see. I hate to ask, but how does she feel about your therapy?
Ms. Bows: We don't talk about it. She knows that I see someone on a regular basis, but I think she considers this a small price to pay for becoming a grandmother.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Bows: But when she heard that Beverly was going to be released from the mental hospital, she was outraged. To her, there were only two options. One, Beverly is a certified nut and is put away for life in a mental institution. Or, if she's released, she has to face charges and spend time in jail for her deeds.
Dr. Balis: I see. How did she find out about Beverly's release?
Ms. Bows: Well, I certainly wasn't going to tell her.
Dr. Balis: I thought not.
Ms. Bows: But Rene was happy to. Rene and Beverly never really got along. Rene thought that Beverly was just "a waste of flesh"--a rich spoiled brat not capable of even making coffee without assistance.
Dr. Balis: Oh.
Ms. Bows: Rene felt that my mother "deserved" to know what was happening. And after fully briefing my mother on the current situation with Beverly, Rene took her over for a visit.
Dr. Balis: Rene took your mother to visit Beverly in the hospital?
Ms. Bows: Rene was even more helpful than that. She helped my mother pick out photographs of Grant and Roald to take with her and show Beverly.
Dr. Balis: What were they trying to do?
Ms. Bows: When they got to the hospital, they were able to sign in as visiting family. They met Beverly in the garden. Apparently she was very happy to see them, and the hospital staff left them alone--remember that they were going to release her in just a day or two.
Dr. Balis: I remember.
Ms. Bows: And as Rene sat quietly and observed, my mother drove Beverly into a state of a raging lunacy. When she got through with showing Beverly pictures of Roald and Grant, she went on to telling sweet anecdotes from their lives. Then when Beverly was judged ready, my mother described how she could have been responsible for Grant's death. Rene told me that she was quite graphic. Needless to say, Beverly didn't handle the conversation well. When Rene called for a nurse, Beverly completely lost it. She flailed around and started resisting the nurses. They ended up subdueing her and taking her away in a straitjacket.
Dr. Balis: That's a horrible story!
Ms. Bows: I'm not saying that I approve of any of it. I think my mother was just trying to protect her darlings. In some way though, if it was that easy to get Beverly off balance, then I don't think she was ready to be released.
Dr. Balis: I see. How are Tom's parents reacting to all of this?
Ms. Bows: Tom's dad is being very strong. I think he's already resigned to the fact that his daughter is going to have a problem for the rest of her life. He might have hoped that she was more stable than she is, but I think he accepts the situation.
Dr. Balis: And Tom's mother?
Ms. Bows: I think she might need therapy. Her opinion is that we all--including the whole world--are against Beverly. Only she's capable of seeing Beverly's goodness and true nature.
Dr. Balis: No one is questioning Beverly goodness, are they?
Ms. Bows: No, of course not. Only her sanity. But the two are somehow linked, at least for Tom's mother. You know, Doctor, you would probably think that I'm very callous and even...oh, skip it.
Dr. Balis: You can tell me anything, Sylvia. I don't think at this point you can tell me something that would fundamentally change my opinion of you. Besides, I'm not your judge. I'm your therapist.
Ms. Bows: Okay. I'm happy that Grant and Roald are not Tom's biological children. Because if mental illness runs in families, I would really be worried now.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Worrying about issues like that is not a bad thing by itself. You're a mother. I would expect you to worry about stuff like that.
Ms. Bows: Yeah, but that's a bit twisted, don't you think?
Dr. Balis: It's not what came to my mind. But these are not my children. I think parents--and mothers in particular--have a fairly unique outlook on the world. The well-being of their children is of paramount importance, overshadowing almost everything else. That perspective is substantially different from that of the rest of us.
Ms. Bows: Well put, Doctor. Thank you.
Dr. Balis: So what will happen to Beverly now?
Ms. Bows: She'll remain at the California Pacific mental facility for a period of time and then, when she's judged ready, they'll relocate her to New York to be near her parents.
Dr. Balis: Do you know what her diagnosis is?
Ms. Bows: I think she's a full blown schizophrenic now.
Dr. Balis: I'm very sorry.
Ms. Bows: I am too. Although I'm more worried about Tom and how all this effects him. He hasn't been sleeping well for days now. I caught him sitting on a chair in Grant's room in the middle of the night just staring at the boy. And I know he's been watching Roald too. And his mother calls him several times a day. He's just about reached his limit.
Dr. Balis: Have you thought of trying to get away somewhere for a few days? You, Tom, and the boys--the whole family.
Ms. Bows: Perhaps that's a good idea. Although, I don't know how I could get away from work--it's been really hard trying to get my department to function normally again.
Dr. Balis: How is your project with Richard coming along?
Ms. Bows: It's not my project with Richard. I'm just implementing an idea that the future research department recommended. I'm not working with Richard!
Dr. Balis: Okay. So how's that coming along?
Ms. Bows: Just fine. It's getting late, Doctor. I'll see you next week, okay?
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next week, Sylvia. Have a good Fourth of July.
Ms. Bows: You too, Doctor. I hope you have a wonderful holiday...and forgive me for overreacting like this.
Dr. Balis: No problem. Goodbye, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: Goodbye, Doctor Balis.
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