Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 07/10/98

Saturday, July 4, 1998

Sunday, July 5, 1998

Monday, July 6, 1998

Tuesday, July 7, 1998

Wednesday, July 8, 1998

4:20 pm. Telephone Conversation with Mary Eldrich respecting Samuel Eldrich. Ms. Eldrich called me to cancel Sam's appointment again. She told me that Sam is having complications following oral surgery to remove his wisdom teeth. Sam's gums are infected and the oral surgeon told Ms. Eldrich that the infection was due to Sam picking at them. While possible, I think it is also possible that Sam's gums became infected as a result of surgery and that the itching resulting from the infection has driven Sam to pick at the wound. I told Ms. Eldrich that theory, and she seemed somewhat relieved. Ms. Eldrich didn't mention whether or not Sam is taking antibiotics for the infection, but I assume that he is. Ms. Eldrich said that she felt personally guilty for not spending enough time with Sam because of her work obligations. I gave her permission to stay at home with him, if she wished. I'm concerned that Sam might use his dental problems as an excuse to avoid taking his antidepressant medication.

5 pm. Fifty-Third Session with Alex Rozzi. When I saw Alex, it was obvious that he'd been in a fight. He told me that Tony was angry that he'd tipped Sharon off to Tony's HIV status. Tony and Alex got into a fistfight which ended with them both bloodied, battered, and laughing together. Bloody fights with someone who is HIV-positive is not a great idea, but I didn't bring it up with Alex during the session. He already seemed upset and quite tense. Tony is developing a real enmity towards Sharon, but he is determined to follow Cami's advice that he pretend to like her for Tony's sake. He does seem resigned to her presence now. I thought Katherine had already left for Alaska. I was surprised when Alex told me that she threw a party at the Alliance prior to disappearing on her trip. I'm fairly certain that she was out of town during the last few months--Alex would have mentioned seeing her if nothing else. Perhaps she went back to Maryland to spend some time with her family before venturing to the frozen North. If she was in town, I'm surprised that I haven't heard from her. I'm glad that Alex had a chance to spend some time with her. She tends to have a grounding influence on him, and he plainly adores her. Alex told me that Regina tried to crash the party and there was a rumor that she brandished a gun. Regina clearly is a danger to Alex and I urged him to be careful. Alex's danger is all the greater because he's still spending a lot of time with Cami in a relationship which is ambiguous. Regina is apt to put the most extreme interpretation on their current friendship--an interpretation likely to drive her to emotional excess. Alex told me that Ralph was released from the hospital. He came home with a colostomy bag and a hospital nurse. In addition, Edward, Ralph's ex-lover, is also a nurse. Apparently, Ralph contacted him from the hospital and Edward has since become a fixture in Ralph's household. Since Alex has been cold to Ralph for the last few weeks, Ralph probably reached out to Edward for the emotional support he needs to get through this. Edward is also able to provide medical support. Alex clearly sees his position threatened by Edward, whom he described as an "old queen." In some ways I agree with Alex that his position is in jeopardy, but Alex placed himself in that position by being unable to cope with Ralph's emotional needs. Alex, at seventeen, isn't capable of giving a dying man either the emotional or physical attention he needs. I told Alex that he should look at the current situation in a positive light--that Edward is taking onto himself some of the responsibilities for Ralph's care that Alex couldn't cope with on his own. Alex agreed but said that he feels helpless. I told Alex to continue to be Ralph's friend and to do his best to treat him normally. But for Alex, the realization that Ralph may actually be dying seems to be finally sinking in. Alex is fighting hard to have everything remain static in his life, but circumstances are forcing the context of all his relationships to keep continually changing.

6:10 pm. Telephone Conversation with Anna Green. Anna told me a grizzly story about Kathy being bound, beaten, and orally raped by one of her tricks. Kathy is currently hospitalized and Anna is shaken. Anna is Kathy's safety net, so when she didn't call after a session, Anna called the hotel front desk. They went to the room and found Kathy unconscious. The hotel called an ambulance and I assume they called the police. Anna saw Kathy at the hospital. Kathy was unintelligible given the extent of injury to her mouth. Anna was given a single dose of Valium at some point during the day's ordeal. She wants to go home and sleep now, but thinks that she should spend tomorrow with Kathy rather than come in for her session. Anna did indicate that the police have taken a strong interest in this case. They seem inclined to try to link it, in some way, with the recent suicide of Kathy's client that Anna told me about last week. Martin was also there and he was also questioned by police.

Thursday, July 9, 1998

Friday, July 10, 1998

10 am. Twenty-Fifth Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon asked Tony about his HIV status and he confirmed that he is HIV-positive. Afterwards, Sharon engaged in a sexual encounter which was largely unprotected. Sharon gave me a long, detailed, highly graphic description of her sexual encounter with Tony in which she played the dominant. Although she had some previous experience as a dominatrix, this was the first time in which she was doing it at least partly to please herself. And, given the relish with which she related the details of the encounter, she apparently enjoyed it. I nagged her about her lack of attention to safe sex, although I have to admit that I'm not completely sure of a proper protocol which would have afforded substantial protection to Sharon given the nature of their conduct. But Sharon isn't interested in safe sex; she's declared herself to be a risk taker while, at the same time, claiming to take precautions. Sharon really wanted me to know all the intimate details of the encounter, although I tried to stop her on several occasions during her lurid account. I'm not quite sure why it was important to her that I hear the details of her sex life. But when I asked a question, she teased me for probing for more information, implying that I was doing so merely for my own entertainment. Sharon has taken an HIV test and is waiting during the next couple of weeks to hear the results.

3 pm. Fourteenth Session with Rachel Tanner. Rachel is taking steps to conquer her fear of contamination from public facilities--she was able to use the pool and the shower at school. I was actually quite impressed. When I talked about her inability to use public bathrooms, Rachel told me that she had reorganized her life around her phobia by carefully planning her bathroom trips and limiting her fluid intake. I tried to use an exposure technique when I suggested that she try to use the bathroom in the building down the hall, but I might have pushed her too hard. She took it poorly and angrily rejected my suggestion. She took my efforts to get her to use a public restroom as manipulative game playing and angrily wanted to walk out of the session. I prevailed upon her to remain and showed her an Internet site which offers a sense of community for sufferers of OCD. She read for a while and, seeing a number of posts with different medication options, questioned me on my choice of Prozac as a somatic treatment for her. By the time I finished discussing the various options in medication, she had lost much of her anger and we ended the session. I was surprised by how volatile she was. In our earlier sessions, Rachel was much more timid and nervous. Actually, I think that her ability to assert herself and her anger shows a degree of progress, although obviously I'd like it to be directed elsewhere. When Rachel was discussing showering at the school, she said that she caught Carla, her Human Sexuality teacher, staring at her. When Rachel caught her eye, Carla gave Rachel a mischievous look that gave Rachel chills. I suspect that Carla's actions were completely innocent and that Rachel's heightened sensitivity to the experience of being in a public shower caused her to read more into a glance and a smile than were actually there. An interesting side note is the surprising fact that Rachel took a shower in the public locker room at all. I suspect that most people, if uncomfortable about taking a public shower, would just dry off and go home to shower. I suspect that Rachel, however, was so conscious of the possible dirt and germs in the swimming pool water, that the prospect of a public shower was less repulsive than the idea of staying "contaminated" with the water from the public pool.

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