Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 6/13/97

Saturday, June 7, 1997

Sunday, June 8, 1997

Monday, June 9, 1997

I've been so sick! First the cold and then the acute sinus infection. On Monday night last week I started to get high fevers--103.7 was the highest I measured. So I decided to actually go see my internist who turned me over to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. She had my face x-rayed and then sent me down for a CT Scan. My sinuses were totally filled and apparently chronically infected. She recommended massive doses of antibiotics for the infection and a surgical procedure to try to drain my maxillary sinuses. So I went into surgery on Thursday on an out-patient basis. The surgery was okay, although apparently there was too much swelling to do more than a lavage--rinsing out my sinuses with saline. They took the mucus recovered from surgery and sent it to the lab. It came back gram stain negative but with a high white blood cell count. I guess the antibiotics had already been effective. I had a very bad night on Thursday and on Friday, at my follow-up appointment, the surgeon recommended that I be admitted for bolus IV doses of antibiotics. They let me out of the hospital on Saturday. I'm better now, although still a little swollen and sore, but I much prefer being a doctor to being a patient. Oh, and they have plans to do corrective surgery on my deviated septum when the acute episode has passed. I can't wait. Anyway, I cancelled all my appointments from Tuesday on last week. So this week will probably be exceptionally busy.

I got an e-mail from Peter Hossfeld. Peter surprised me by giving a fairly accurate description of how he might appear to someone who didn't share his belief in higher realms--he stated that sometimes he feels that way himself--like someone who is distorting everything to fit his assumptions. But Peter has another perspective--soaring aloft over the low petty concerns of humanity, viewing us all as burrowing like ants in the dirt. And he still has Serena to thank, even if she requires such a pittance as his body, his soul, his time, and his money. He gave me a clue, I think, with one line in his e-mail. When I said that Peter should give reality a chance, Peter responded: "Right, back to boring old reality, where i'm a pathetic fool who can't do anything about the mess he's made of his life." Serena makes Peter important in a way that he could never be by himself. But Eliza gives Peter a reason to trade-in what Serena offers for something a bit more emotionally satisfying and tangible. Peter described the scene at Eliza's house where Luke assaulted Eliza and him. He saw Malcolm not as a person but as a karmic force--overwhelming Luke with a blur of motion. He said that he never saw anybody hit in so many places so fast. Malcolm must really be good. Peter, in contrast, thinks of himself as a spineless wimp. My guess is that he is really in love with Eliza. She is definitely the key to bringing Peter back from the brink.

11 am. Telephone Conversation with Decker Jenkins. Decker is out of jail and has been roaming the streets for the last couple of weeks. He has been in and out of homeless shelters, but finally he has surfaced. He went to his friend, Mr. Knopff, who has allowed Decker to live with him and has given him his job back on condition that he continue his sessions. Decker has kept taking his medication, and it's doing him a world of good. He seemed relaxed and quite normal in his conversations. He was focused and able to converse freely. He is clearly more organized in his thinking. He also seemed excited about continuing his therapy. He said that Simian hardly bothers him anymore and he acted as though Karen's murder relieved a burden rather than a tragedy--for Decker, it might have. Decker rescheduled an appointment for Thursday this week and he promised to tell me then how he was cleared of Karen's murder. I was surprised that I hadn't been contacted by the police, but then again, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. Perhaps they're just too busy to talk to their suspects' psychiatrists.

Tuesday, June 10, 1997

4 pm. Forty-Second Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia told me a horrendous story about her sister-in-law Beverly--who had mental problems stemming from losing her child to a miscarriage after a difficult pregnancy--kidnapping Grant and spiriting him away to Monterey for a couple of days. Lloyd Major surprisingly put up reward money and had his publicity machine spring into action so that Grant and Beverly picture appeared on many news programs across the country. A hotel manager in Monterey recognized Beverly from the news segment and reported her, and Sylvia got Grant back. Sylvia said that it was the worst 48 hours of her life. Beverly is now in a mental hospital--I forgot to ask if Tom and Sylvia were going to press charges. And I thought that I had a bad week. We also talked about the possibility of reducing Sylvia's therapy sessions--I told her that I thought we had resolved most of the issues that Sylvia had initially--but Sylvia desired to continue our sessions for the near future anyway, especially considering the events of the past week. I certainly acquiesed.

Wednesday, June 11, 1997

12 pm. Fourth Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex came in with a large contusion, approximately 8 centimeters in width, on the left side of his forehead. He told me that he was working at a strip club for some extra cash while his mother left him unsupervised, and that the man who has been following him around--the man whom Alex previously assualted--grabbed Alex by the arms and then slammed his own head into Alex's. Alex lost consciousness as a result, and paramedics were called--apparently Alex wasn't brought to a hospital which I thought was standard procedure. Benny and another friend Roly were both present, and they took off after the man--Alex doesn't know what they did to him, but they reported to Alex that he wouldn't have to worry about him again; Alex hopes they killed him. Alex has been suffering severe headaches with rapid onset and rapid resolution since the injury. I urged him to see a neurologist or, failing that, to see his general practicioner. Alex reluctantly agreed. He also was quite resistant to my request that he have his mother call me. Alex believes that his mother is a master manipulator and that she will use her seductive ways to confuse me. I told Alex not to worry. Alex also has a pet rat--Darla--who he brought to the session. I'm not very fond of rats, generally, but Darla seemed harmless and actually could do some impressive feats, such as jumping onto Alex's shoulder on call.

4 pm. Seventh Session with Katherine Lippard. Katherine came in wearing a very feminine outfit--just barely acceptable for business wear. She said that she had treated herself at a fancy women's clothing store on a whim. I have to say that she looks a lot less forbidding and more appealing than the usually formidable and corporate Katherine Lippard. Katherine did well at the board meeting in her presentation of the financial side of the Apple Computer deal. She was presenting a negative view of the deal, so she was attacked by Lloyd Major on several fronts. But she was prepared for him. She seemed to believe that Lloyd Major was on cocaine--she said that he was sniffling a lot and seemed anxious and manic, like he couldn't sit still. I'm reasonably sure that Lloyd doesn't use cocaine. It's absolutely the wrong drug for someone who has the particular nasal phobia that he does. Perhaps he overdosed himself on antihistamines again. Obviously, however, I couldn't discuss that with Katherine. At the board meeting, Katherine apparently came out the winner. And Frank Herald told her why he had left her alone on this project. He's planning on retiring at the end of the year, and he wanted to give her a test of fire to make sure that she could handle his job. She passed. But even though the CFO position is what she's been working for all her life, she finds her success leaves her unfulfilled. I told her that she should try to seek fulfillment through her social life. Katherine described a member of the board of directors who asked her out. Katherine has it all planned out in her head--down to what he will try to do to impress her at dinner. While Katherine's rendition does sound rather dreary, it's all in her imagination--she never gave him a chance. Katherine is excited at the prospect of going out and meeting people--but she seemed clueless as to how to begin. Among other things, I told use her brother as a sort of social cane while she gets the hang of it. I got the distinct impression that she might be experiencing some transference with me--I have to be careful that she doesn't look to me as a possible candidate for her social needs. My experience with Anna makes me especially gun shy, I suppose.

Thursday, June 12, 1997

10 am. Fourth Session with Decker Jenkins. Decker is completely altered since the last time I saw him. He is calm, focused, and much more relaxed. He is able to look me directly in the eye. He says that Simian has almost completely disappeared, except for one short time each day when his auditory commentary becomes evident. Decker shaved his head, but he has a good looking skull. Somehow, it makes him look less menacing, which is surprising because I would have expected that it would have the opposite effect. When he speaks, he still moves his hands very little, although there was some slight hand movements during part of his story. And it was quite a story. He told about how he fought with Karen the night of her murder and he may have struck her. He says that he has blanked the episode out of his memory. But when the police wanted to talk to him, he assumed that they must have thought that he did it, so he confessed to the crime. While he was in prison, he had an opportunity to get this thoughts together and decided that he couldn't have done the murder--it wasn't in his nature. After a couple of days in prison, the police told him the horrific circumstances surrounding Karen's murder. While Decker was describing how she was brutally raped and had her skull crushed with a blunt object, he displayed absolutely no emotion or sadness, although he gave some lip service to feeling sorry that she felt pain. Apparently, though, the semen sample they recovered from the body eliminated Decker as a suspect. And he was released. Although he wasn't the rapist, I wonder if he had more to do with her murder than he has told me. It seems an odd coincidence that, on the night of her murder, Decker has this violent confrontation with Karen which is traumatic enough to induce partial amnesia. In any case, Decker is very pleased with the changes which the anti-psychotic drugs have made in him, and he swears that he will continue to take the medication.

12 pm. Twelfth Session with Christina Herald. We talked about five themes running through Christina's busy life--her teacher, her brother, her parents, her boyfriend, and her house. I almost get the impression that Christina is so busy reacting to all the events swirling around her that she has little time to figure out how she feels about all of them. She seemed extremely wound up during this session, jumping from subject to subject. I also noted that she was a bit sunburned on the tip of her nose and her cheeks. She also might have colored the ends of her hair a slight golden color--it looks nice, actually. She told me that she became a sort of nurse to professor Carmichael who fell and broke a leg. She waited on him a bit and sneaked pizza into the hospital. It seems he also has a fondness for daytime soap operas. Her brother, motivated by his love for Greg, finally told her father that he was gay, and her father took it exceptional well. Herald the Horrible was supportive, accepting, and tender. On the other hand, his wife--Jonny's stepmother--was not. Apparently--not speaking technically--she blew a gasket. The venom she spewed in Jonny's direction so enraged his father that he ordered her out of the house. Christina assumes that they are going to get a divorce, though I've seen breakups like this reconcile countless times before. Christina, on the verge of what she assumes is their parents' separation, actually bonded with Monica--Joanna's daughter. And she said that she feels that she underestimated her father. At least Christina doesn't have the sole obligation of telling her father about Jonny's sexual preferences. Christina and Malcolm are tentatively beginning to date again, although Christina believes that there is something missing either in Malcolm or in their relationship. She thinks of it like a missing jigsaw puzzle piece, and she needs to find it before she'll really feel comfortable with Malcolm. She said that she felt its lack even prior to the destruction of Malcolm's facade. And Christina told me about an old relationship she had during college with a man named Kurt whom she believes suffered from delusional schizophrenia. And although Christina knows that it sounds crazy, she thinks that she may have a ghost living in the house that she's renting from her Aunt. The disturbances that she mentioned, however, just sounded like some of the peculiarities common to old houses.

4 pm. Forty-Fifth Session with Anna Green. Anna discovered that Martin has not only moved to San Francisco, but that he has taken a job with SII as well. So now Anna is faced with having to see Anna where she works. Anna's support system has swung into action to try to protect her from Martin. She spent some time with her parents in Davis, she's renewed her ties to Caren and Greg, and she's enlisted Jules, her boss, to check out Martin. Anna is prepared to change her life--quit SII and move--to avoid Martin. Actually, though, I'm afraid that she may be encouraging Martin to try harder to get to her--Anna is making this into a pursuit game. So I encouraged her to talk with Martin and try to explain to him that she is not interested in a relationship with him.

Friday, June 13, 1997

9 am. I received a fax from the Anonymous Faxer today. I think that was the first fax that wasn't received on a Wednesday. And I haven't heard from him for almost two months--since the image about being consumed by his work. But this image looks like a warning sign--there is a man lying on the floor of an attic in an old building, bleeding from the neck, his head probably severed. There is a gaping hole in the roof of the building--it appears to me that the man has smashed through the roof to end up bleeding on the floor. Unlike some of his other images with blood, this one offers no redemption, no hope of salvation. The man is just lying dead on the floor. I'll write to him and find out if anything is wrong.

4 pm. Twelfth Session with Thomas Darden. Thomas went back to Pennsylvania for his vacation. He spent a little time with his mother, but it was marred by disagreements regarding religious beliefs. In a nutshell, she is a devout Christian and is trying to influence the faith of her grandson Jordan, who is being raised by Thomas' brother Alex and his wife Martha, both atheists. They don't appreciate her attempts and send back the gifts with a religious purpose that she sends. Thomas sides with Alex, both philosophically and on the issue of his mother's attempt to influence Jordan's religion. So they fought. But the most momentous thing that happened was that Thomas happened to run into Sharon in a grocery store back home. Their meeting went relatively well, except that Sharon is engaged to be married in about three months. Thomas felt in the back of his mind that there was still a chance for him to work it out with her, but her impending marriage has pretty much dashed those hopes. I get the distinct impression that Sharon and Thomas didn't actually have a lot in common, and I told Thomas so. He said that Sharon was his first and only love. I argued that he really hasn't given anyone else a chance. His vacation, sitting isolated in a cabin in the woods by himself is somewhat typical. We ended the session talking about his overriding concern about what people will think of him, that renders him all but mute in social settings. I think that we have to do some work to try to reduce Thomas' sense of self-consciousness.

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