Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 8/16/96

Saturday, August 10, 1996

Sunday, August 11, 1996

Monday, August 12, 1996

4 pm. Fifth Session with Joseph Mazurka. Joe came in and was agitated and restless. He didn't speak at all about his vow not to return to therapy, but came at his normal time as if nothing had changed. He couldn't sit still, pacing during much of the session and gesticulating excitedly as he spoke. His skin was unnaturally pale and he looked puffy around the face. He kept referring to his work at the gym in getting himself in shape--how he was weak before but now he is strong. Finally, near the end of the session, Joseph confirmed what Carol had told me--that he was taking anabolic steroids. I warned Joseph about the side effects of steroids, particularly liver failure and psychological harm, and obtained his promise to discontinue the injections. Joseph says that he has been enjoying himself more and, when questioned, rhapsodizing eloquently about the beauties of slasher films. He particularly likes the most graphic depictions of beheadings and shootings. Joe says that he is through taking shit from people. He said that since he can rip a person's throat out, that he shouldn't have to put up with petty annoyances from that person. His conflicts apparently have been limited to stare downs so far, but I'm afraid that it might escalate, especially if he doesn't stop taking steroids.

Received a letter dated 8/12/96 from Brenda Wolfe of SII Security. Apparently, their computers were compromised and someone broke in and looked through their medical records. They seemed especially interested in our AIDS early detection and treatment program. I'm awfully glad that I hadn't turned over all my patients' transcripts to CalaCare as they requested, or that I don't keep my computer hooked up to their Intranet.

Tuesday, August 13, 1996
9:30 am. Telephone Call from Cassandra Evans. Cassie called and cancelled her appointment this afternoon. She is too sick, and has missed a couple of days of work. She is extremely afraid of losing her job and said she was worn out from physical pain, crying, and emotional distress. I referred Cassie to Doug Halsey at UCSF and, after some hesitation, she agreed to call him and make an appointment. She spoke to her previous general practictioner who was reluctant to release medical records. I told Cassie that I'd give him a call.

4 pm. Sixth Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia and I talked about her Martian party on Saturday. She said that she had never before seen my legs. It's easy to forget how non-human a doctor can seem even in the midst of the most intimate exchanges. Apparently, Rene wants me to ask her out. Although I thought she was very attractive and quite vibrant at the party, I really must resist. She is just too close to Sylvia for me to be able to support such a relationship without ethical compromise. Apparently, Sylvia slept with four different men last week, continuing her wide swath through SII's male work force. Sylvia acknowledged that she liked to shock me. I wasn't really aware of the number of opportunities available for an attractive and compliant woman. She went out with Richard the night of our last session, drove around the City soaking up impressions and then concluded the evening with a sexual encounter. Then she had a date with Bruce Redot, a sculpture and designer and an old friend who was thrilled that she was having problems with Tom and capitalized on it by inviting her on a date and consummating their friendship. She slept with someone in her marriage bed on the night of the party--it could have been that Dion character who was hanging around her all night. And then, the real capper is that she slept with someone on her technical writing staff who sounded a lot like Hal Mainor. She knew he was married, but because he made the first move, she thought it was okay. She wouldn't tell me his name because she had promised him to be discreet. If Hal will stop canceling his sessions, I will have to ask him about this. I warned Sylvia about AIDS and safe sex. Sylvia said that she was not using condoms, but that she had things under control and knew what she was doing. I told her that she could not rely on her instincts, but she said that she wasn't, although she clearly wasn't getting a blood test from these guys before engaging in intercourse. I left it at that, but I had an uneasy feeling from the discussion.

Wednesday, August 14, 1996
Received another anonymous fax today, continuing the Wednesday morning tradition. They are sort of creepy, especially considering all of the effort going into these faxes. Perhaps I am not the only recipient? I can't think of any reason why I would be haunted in this fashion. The image shows a bouquet of daffodils, interspersed with hands and feet and a giraffe neck. One of the hands is holding a stick in a pose reminiscent of the black power salute. Although I'm not an expert, I would guess this image was created or at least manipulated in a computer. There is a fluffy black background that looks airbrushed.

Thursday, August 15, 1996
2 pm. Third Session with Helen Gregory. Helen arrived in great agitation. She burst forth with an explosive exposition which lasted fully three minutes, something about a letter which had been hidden from her by someone. Finally, I got out of her that she thinks Calvin, her husband of 30 years whom she despises, has been hiding letters written by her son Matthew to her. Although Helen claims to be in constant communication with Matthew, she won't talk over the telephone and she apparently isn't getting letters from him. She says that she communicates with Matthew by sending her thoughts. She says that she knows that Matthew has sent a letter by a warm feeling in her spine which increases as the letter gets closer and closer. She hates Calvin because he is afraid of her--afraid of what she knows and her secret knowledge as a woman, and because of his "dirty ways, physical shortcomings and vindictive spirit." However, she can't divorce him because it would endanger Matthew and herself. He knows too much. Helen did not admit to ever having been diagnosed with any form of mental illness previously and absolutely refuses to take any form of medication. She wants my assistance to help her sort out the many details and layers. Helen wants me to get a dead-bolt installed in the door, and I've decided to comply.

4 pm. Seventh Session with Anna Green. Anna has decided that she is too smart and too beautiful to be disrespected by men. She was captivated by the chauffeur scene that Bruce Redot used to seduce Sylvia Bows. Apparently, most of SII knew about that showy seduction. Anna opened up a little and told me what happened with her and Bill. Anna decided that her encounter with Reed didn't count and that she was still a virgin. She told Bill that she wanted to wait until she was with the guy she was going to marry. Without Bill ever actually asking her to marry him, Anna went from feeling that he was a casual boyfriend to believing that she was going to marry him. Almost by surprise one night, when staying over at a friend's new apartment, Bill successfully initiated sexual contact. But they didn't use contraception. Contraception, for Anna, apparently gave the sex a reality to which she was unwilling to admit. So their contraceptive use was spotty at best. They finally settled on a withdrawal method which worked until Anna became pregnant. Bill insisted Anna have an abortion and Anna wasn't sure what she wanted. She asked for time to think. Bill became insistent, finally threatening her that if she wanted to raise the child, it would have nothing to do with him. Bill stopped talking to Anna. Anna confided her situation to Caren. Caren immediately insisted that she have an abortion and the procedure was done the next day. Anna believes that it was the right decision and says that she hardly ever regrets it. She told Bill that she had had an abortion by telling him that he was the father of a dead baby. Bill said that she was psychotic and needed psychiatric help and that he never wanted to speak to her again. They haven't spoken since.

Friday, August 16, 1996
10:30 am. Telephone Call from Tom Bows. Mr. Bows called me and he was very angry. He said that I am encouraging Sylvia's "unbelievably lewd behavior" and that he blames me for not counseling her differently and for continuing the Zoloft. He was also angry that I attended the Martian party last Saturday. Mr. Bows said that he intended to keep his marriage together. He then went on to intimate that I had sexual designs on Sylvia and threatened me with professional sanctions. He hung up abruptly.

Looked at Helen Gregory's Doodles. The first is a self portrait. It shows a woman with a tall, intelligent face, straggly wiry hair and very long fingers held up and covering one eye. The littlest finger, held out from the rest, has a very long fingernail. The expression is severe. The likeness isn't particularly accurate, although there is some resemblance. The hand covering the one eye gives the impression of a half face, a common feature among the drawings of schizophrenics. The second is a picture of a collection of eyes and eyeballs, some protruding significantly from their sockets on stalks. All the eyes have eyelashes--long and baroque. One eye has two pupils in it. Are these eyes watching? Who is the watcher? Is this a representation of paranoia? Does she just like drawing eyes?

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