Transcript of 9th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Thursday, February 12, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sharon. How are you today?
Ms. Lough: Not so good. My ferret died.
Dr. Balis: Oh, I'm very sorry. How did it happen?
Ms. Lough: I used to let Harriet run around in the garage while I did laundry. Charlotte came by unexpectedly. She and Rob had a fight last week, so they haven't been speaking. She used her garage-door opener to get into the house and left the door open. I guess Harriet must have gotten out or maybe the dog came in. I was in the house when it happened. The neighbor's dog got hold of Harriet somehow. When I talked to them later, they said they found the remains of some small animal in their yard. I was too upset to look. I guess its my fault really, though I was pretty upset with Charlotte.
Dr. Balis: It sounds like an accident. Why do you blame yourself?
Ms. Lough: If I'd been out there, this wouldn't have happened. A part of me resents Charlotte for coming and going as she pleases. But that doesn't make sense--it's her house. She didn't even seem to care when I told her what happened. Charlotte only came by to borrow the bread-maker. I was pretty hysterical--I was sobbing and ranting. I think she just wanted to get away from me.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. It's hard to lose...
Ms. Lough: I feel like a bad parent. I'm a bad pet owner. I think someone like me doesn't deserve to live. I'm a total failure.
Dr. Balis: Sharon, you're being very hard on yourself.
Ms. Lough: My life is like some cruel joke by a malevolent deity. I think if there is a god, he wouldn't be a big muscular guy with a white beard throwing lightning bolts--like Zeus or the god of the Old Testament. God would definitely be a woman, most likely a prepubescent girl--spoiled and self-absorbed--who enjoys petty cruelties.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: This would explain a lot of inconsistencies.
Dr. Balis: You sound very depressed.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, what else is new? And it doesn't help that I hate my job. And I've been having...uh, female trouble.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean by that?
Ms. Lough: Well, I don't want to gross you out with the lurid details. I'd like to save that for my gynecologist. I've been bleeding continuously for a little over two weeks. At first, it was just an irregular menstrual period--I've had those before--but the bleeding won't stop. And I've also been getting these dizzy spells--all of a sudden, I get weak and nauseous. Sometimes, I get these splitting, blinding headaches. Maybe it's early menopause.
Dr. Balis: Is there any chance you could be pregnant?
Ms. Lough: No, you have to have sex to get pregnant.
Dr. Balis: Have you made an appointment with your OB/GYN?
Ms. Lough: I keep hoping it would go away.
Dr. Balis: I think it would be a good idea for you to see your doctor right away, just to rule out something serious.
Ms. Lough: I don't really care if it is. Maybe I have an ovarian cancer. That's how my grandmother died. My mother had to have a hysterectomy. It must run in the family.
Dr. Balis: Then you should definitely see a doctor as soon as possible. This is not something you just want to wait on.
Ms. Lough: I don't really care if I die. I'm not motivated enough to actually buy a gun, or patient enough to hoard medication. I'm not really suicidal. But it would be okay if I were to be hit by a speeding bus, or a large hailstone were to drop on my head.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: Cancer really wouldn't be such a bad way to go. It's kind of romantic and tragic.
Dr. Balis: Death by cancer is slow and painful--hardly the stuff of lyric poetry.
Ms. Lough: Would you miss me if I were dead?
Dr. Balis: Yes. Sharon, I don't want any of my patients to die. I'm very concerned for your welfare. I'm concerned that your depression will lead you to inaction with regard to this matter, and I think that's highly self-destructive. Please see your doctor.
Ms. Lough: Don't cancer patients get really thin? Just think, I could fit into my jeans again.
Dr. Balis: That's not funny, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: What if I have AIDS? That would be even worse. It's considered quite chic in San Francisco to have AIDS. I could get free food and t-shirts and everything.
Dr. Balis: Is there a chance that you might be HIV-positive?
Ms. Lough: I don't know. I was tested a few years ago--when I was sleeping around a lot--and I was negative.
Dr. Balis: Perhaps it would be a good idea to get tested again, and not only for HIV.
Ms. Lough: I want to let nature take its course.
Dr. Balis: Why do you feel this way?
Ms. Lough: I've already told you--I'm a miserable person. I'm a mishap, a system error. I can't even take care of a fucking ferret. What a loser!
Dr. Balis: I think some of your feelings of depression might be attributed to your physical condition, which is why it is important that you get immediate medical attention.
Ms. Lough: Oh, jeez...
Dr. Balis: Sharon? Sharon, what's the matter?
Ms. Lough: I'm dizzy. I don't feel so good.
Dr. Balis: Do you need to lie down?
Ms. Lough: I just feel weak...
Dr. Balis: Put on your coat. I'm going to take you to the Emergency Room.
Ms. Lough: No! No, I just need to go home. I'll make a doctor's appointment for tomorrow, I promise. Please, I just want to go home. I can't handle waiting four hours in E.R. right now. I'll go home and lie down, and I'll call an OB/GYN tomorrow, okay?
Dr. Balis: All right, Sharon. Do you feel well enough to drive home?
Ms. Lough: I took the bus.
Dr. Balis: Let me call you a cab.
Ms. Lough: That's okay, I can't afford...
Dr. Balis: Sharon?
Ms. Lough: Oh, no. Oh my god, I'm so sorry.
Dr. Balis: That's all right, Sharon. Here, use the wastebasket.
Ms. Lough: I'll clean this up...
Dr. Balis: It's all right. The janitor will take care of it. I'll call you a cab. Do you need a glass of water?
Ms. Lough: No, I'm okay. Thanks, Doctor Balis. If you don't mind, I'll wait for it downstairs--I need some fresh air.
Dr. Balis: Sure. Please call me and let me know what's wrong with you. Okay?
Ms. Lough: Yeah. Goodbye, Doctor Balis.
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Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

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