Transcript of 19th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Rachel Tanner, Friday, November 20, 1998 at 3:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: You look well, Rachel.
Ms. Tanner: Finally, uh? It was like all the bugs ganged up together and said, "Let's dog pile on Rachel!" I don't quite feel a hundred percent yet, but I'm so much better.
Dr. Balis: It shows. Did you make your big decision yet?
Ms. Tanner: Yes! If I seem worked up, it's because I'm excited about moving in with my brother. I think it's going to work out. I love the house and the neighborhood in Sausalito, especially when the tourists are gone. I have to live in the laundry room, but we are going to make it cozier. Besides, the dryer warms the place up, and I'll have my own sink. And I can come and go through my own door. And it has a great view. I took your advice and looked at all the positives.
Dr. Balis: There were fewer unknowns with that choice than with moving to Germany with your grandmother.
Ms. Tanner: Exactly. And there's another benefit with this choice...
Dr. Balis: What's that?
Ms. Tanner: Evan. I can get to know him better.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Tanner: There you go being neutral again.
Dr. Balis: I don't want to influ...
Ms. Tanner: Don't worry about it. I'll just keep talking. I feel like I'm about to do some growing up, somehow. I'll probably have to start working again. There are salons where I could do manicures, but I don't know if I have the right image for those high-end shops over in Marin. An artsy fartsy coffee shop might need help, then I could dress like the slob I usually am. I don't think I could handle waiting tables like Michael does. Rent is going to be cheap. Michael said my share would only be $150. Gram said she'd allow $600 a month for living expenses, but part of it's for school. If I quit school, she'll only give me $450. It's her little incentive, manipulation, whatever you call it. That's how Germans are, "Work makes you free," and all that.
Dr. Balis: How is school going?
Ms. Tanner: Fine. My Bio teacher, Mr. Krieger, is one of the best I've ever had. He is a funny looking bald man with little ears that stick out, but he is so sweet. He likes my questions. I hang around the lab a lot after class. I'm waiting for his lab assistant to quit so that I can take his place. Igor is a brooding giant that hulks around the lab. I think he is jealous of the time I spend with Mr. Krieger.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad to see that you've made another friendship.
Ms. Tanner: Don't worry, Doc, I'm not going to get involved with this one!
Dr. Balis: Rachel, I've been hesitant to mention Carla, but I do want to know what your thoughts are. You were having trouble for awhile...
Ms. Tanner: The campus is so big that I haven't run into her so far, thank God. I don't think about her much, except in the shower. I need a new fantasy.
Dr. Balis: How do you think you would react if you did see her?
Ms. Tanner: It would depend on her reaction. I wouldn't go out of my way to flag her down, but I'd say hi if she did. It's over.
Dr. Balis: Rachel, do you have any friends other than teachers?
Ms. Tanner: Not really. I see Mattie in the hall after my poetry class, and she asks if I'm still writing and if I've joined a group. There are no writing groups that I know of. Besides, I haven't been writing. I haven't even been swimming in three weeks. And it's hard to do downward dog when your nose is running.
Dr. Balis: Downward dog?
Ms. Tanner: In Sanskrit, it's "Adho Mukha Svanasana"--yoga. I'll show you. In fact, why don't you try it? Get on your hands and knees, hands shoulder width apart. Now, keeping your knees slightly bent, raise your hips until your body makes an upside down V. Doctor Balis? Just watch me do it, then.
Dr. Balis: I'm certain you're not supposed to drink coffee immediately prior to inverting yourself.
Ms. Tanner: Yes, I should have mentioned that. Anyway, the idea is to take the arch out of your back and fold at the hip crease. Lengthen your spine as you bring your heels to the floor. Relax your head so that it stays in line with your spine. And breathe.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. I don't think I could have done all that well...
Ms. Tanner: My workshop leader says, "The difference between your pose and mine is that I've done it ten thousand more times than you." I couldn't do this at first, either. Whew! Love it! Anyway, I was looking at the Sausalito Parks and Rec guide, and they have tons of yoga classes.
Dr. Balis: That's good. I see this move as having many possibilities for building new friendships and experiences for you, Rachel. However, you won't have your grandmother to transport you around. Is that going to be a problem?
Ms. Tanner: Not really. I'll just have to ride a bus across the bridge to City College. It will take up more of my time, but I have too much time on my hands anyway. I'll just be one more weirdo riding the bus.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Do you think you'll have any contamination issues in riding public transit?
Ms. Tanner: I'm pretty good at keeping my hands to myself and washing. It's funny how I used to be more of a washer, taking it to extremes. It seems like picking at my hair and nails replaced the washing urges. And I think the medication is helping reduce the urge to pick.
Dr. Balis: How many pull free days is it now?
Ms. Tanner: I haven't been pulling at all. Want to see?
Dr. Balis: Yes, if you want to show me.
Ms. Tanner: Sure. I like showing off. It's still just a stubble, but my hair has always grown fast. Check it out.
Dr. Balis: Yes, it's barely noticeable.
Ms. Tanner: Well, at least it's not a bald patch now.
Dr. Balis: It looks good. I'm proud of you, Rachel.
Ms. Tanner: Thank you. The school has tele-courses, too. You can take classes from your living room, or laundry room.
Dr. Balis: Good. When is your grandmother leaving for Germany?
Ms. Tanner: December. In fact, she's probably getting antsy waiting for me today. Do you mind if this session is a little short? I should really get back to helping her pack. I'll move in December, too, I guess. I can hardly wait. I can take a break from school and get adjusted, I hope.
Dr. Balis: It will be easier now that you are feeling better. Oh, by the way, I did communicate with your physician, Doctor Malcolm. We concurred that the increase of fluoxetine to 40 milligrams was appropriate. Are you continuing topical therapy for the psoriasis?
Ms. Tanner: If you mean putting white stuff on my hands, yes.
Dr. Balis: Good.
Ms. Tanner: You seem to be really uptight, Doctor. You should try to loosen up a bit, do yoga, tease your patients a bit. Then I'll know my therapy is working with you.
Dr. Balis: Good advice. Well, we'll talk in two weeks?
Ms. Tanner: I'll have a lot to share. Thanks, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Have a good Thanksgiving, Rachel.
Ms. Tanner: You too, Doctor. Goodbye.
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