Transcript of 25th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, January 7, 1997 at 4 pm.

Ms. Bows: Hello Doctor. It's nice to see you. Did you have a good New Year's Eve?
Dr. Balis: I should be asking you that Sylvia. How do you feel?
Ms. Bows: I've been better. But overall, I guess I got off easy.
Dr. Balis: How do you figure?
Ms. Bows: When I was in the hospital last week, I thought that was it--I'd lost my babies. I kept asking the doctor what were my chances and she never gave me a straight answer. So I knew it was bad.
Dr. Balis: I talked to Tom and he filled me in a little.
Ms. Bows: Tom was fantastic. He just lifted me up and got me to the hospital and got everyone to fuss over me. He saved my babies' lives. I'm convinced that if it wasn't for him...oh I can't even think about what would have happened.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad that Tom's been there for you.
Ms. Bows: He is more than that Doctor. I feel like without him I wouldn't have a chance. He makes me believe that everything will turn out okay. I don't know how he does it, but his very presence calms me down.
Dr. Balis: You are placing a lot of trust in Tom.
Ms. Bows: Oh, without question he's the only person I would trust or believe at this point. I mean you too, obviously, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Thank you, I hope so.
Ms. Bows: Oh of course. But I feel like doctors at the hospital, and nurses too, they just have too much to deal with there--a lot of patients and not enough hands to go around. It would be so easy for someone to forget or to miss something. And I was so out of it there. There was no way I could keep track of what was going on. I gave Tom my health care power of attorney--I wanted someone to be able to make decisions on the spot and I was just too drugged to make them myself.
Dr. Balis: So you are no longer worried about Tom's motivations?
Ms. Bows: I guess that was really silly. I was very paranoid but I do believe now that Tom actually cares. He genuinely wants to see these babies born and thrive.
Dr. Balis: I got that impression as well.
Ms. Bows: I wished I had believed you, Doctor. It would have saved me a lot of aggravation, but it's not important now. You know, when I was in the hospital last week, I saw Tom cry. He didn't know that I was looking--I was so sick that he just assumed that I was too out of it to notice. But I was very touched. It was like finding out that your very best friend you'd thought died a long time ago is suddenly alive and well and is coming to your rescue. The last couple of days I've been seeing more and more of the old Tom that I fell in love with. He is caring and attentive and he is there for me. He is like a giant mountain ready to shield me from any trouble or to come to my defense.
Dr. Balis: So what are your plans now?
Ms. Bows: You mean regarding divorce and Tom?
Dr. Balis: Are you still planning on going through with it?
Ms. Bows: We haven't talked about that. Frankly, I don't even know if he would want to stay married to me after all this.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like you two have a lot to talk about.
Ms. Bows: I know. But I want to keep focused on the babies. They are my priority right now. There is nothing that is more important to me.
Dr. Balis: I think that's true for Tom as well.
Ms. Bows: I think so too. But things are going so well between us right now. I want to give us a chance to fully explore our options before we commit to something by having this conversation too early. Does that make sense to you Doctor?
Dr. Balis: Sounds like you haven't made up your mind about Tom yet.
Ms. Bows: I guess that's it. I feel like I'm operating in the emergency mode and this is the kind of decision I would like to make on a clear day. But I'm thrilled and extremely grateful that Tom is taking such a strong role right now. He is so strong and determined that I feel like he can make everything all right by sheer will power. On the other hand, I've been feeling almost paralyzed with terror and I'm very afraid of making the wrong decision.
Dr. Balis: What wrong decision?
Ms. Bows: Keeping the labor at bay seems such a delicate balance between the health of the mother and that of the babies. I would gladly sacrifice my health to make them all right. But it's not how it is. I have to stay relatively healthy so these babies will get the nourishment they need from me. The tocolitic drugs keep me sick and nauseated the entire time. Instead of gaining weight, I'm losing it. I force myself to eat every day. And my mind is all cloudy.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Bows: I'm having trouble concentrating.
Dr. Balis: You seem to be doing fine now.
Ms. Bows: Not really. I'm constantly forgetting what I want to say to you. My thoughts seem to be slippery and I can't hold on to them long enough to make a point. I have trouble reading. I have a book that Doctor Rush gave to me in the hospital. It talks about all the drugs and all the procedures that they can do for me right now to keep my babies from being born. There is also a large section on premature infants. I keep trying to read all of this but I'm having trouble keeping it in my head and making connections between the ideas in the various sections of the book. This is one of the reasons I gave Tom the power of attorney. He is reading and researching all the alternatives so that if the time comes he can make an educated choice as to the course of action we should take. I trust that he will make the right decision.
Dr. Balis: I'm sure he will. You mentioned being terrified. Are you mostly terrified of losing the babies?
Ms. Bows: I feel guilty for saying this but no.
Dr. Balis: What is it then? Are you afraid of getting sick yourself?
Ms. Bows: No. That's the least of my worries. What I'm mostly concerned with is the state...the medical condition these boys will be in when they're born. I'm worried about underdeveloped lungs and underdeveloped hearts. I'm worried about brain damage. I read some studies before and...
Dr. Balis: The technology advances everyday. What was true yesterday is no longer true today. I recently heard about a girl who survived after being born at twenty-four weeks. She's okay and her parents are fine. They showed her on the news. She is a beautiful little girl now. And that was almost a year ago. And now you are even further along than she was--you are at twenty-five weeks.
Ms. Bows: I know Doctor. I mark off every hour. But I don't want to be lucky--I don't want to have a miracle survivor story that is featured on the news. I want an ordinary, even boring, birth story--a nothing to talk about story. Do you understand?
Dr. Balis: Yes I do.
Ms. Bows: I want to be a boring patient--the kind which nothing happens to.
Dr. Balis: Sylvia, one thing you are not is a boring patient.
Ms. Bows: I know. But I want to be. Actually Doctor, I'm getting very tired.
Dr. Balis: Should we stop for today?
Ms. Bows: If you don't mind. I'm feeling myself slipping away.
Dr. Balis: No problem. I'll see you next week. Please give me a call if...if you just want to talk.
Ms. Bows: I will. Thank you Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye Sylvia. Be well.
Ms. Bows: I'll give it all I can. Goodbye Doctor.
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Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Sylvia Bows' Transcripts Transcripts of Sylvia Bows' Therapy Sessions
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