Transcript of 10th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Kelly Wiseling, Wednesday, December 2, 1998 at 2:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Kelly. What happened last week?
Ms. Wiseling: I forgot. I'm so sorry. I've been really busy. It's crazy at work.
Dr. Balis: Have you been working a lot of late nights?
Ms. Wiseling: Yes. You can tell by the bags under my eyes, hmm?
Dr. Balis: You do look tired, Kelly.
Ms. Wiseling: Sometimes, when I come home from work, I'm so exhausted, I don't even know what my name is.
Dr. Balis: Are you feeling all right?
Ms. Wiseling: My neck is killing me. I wonder if I should wear one of those collars--you know the ones that people in car accidents wear?
Dr. Balis: You might try using ice instead. Put some ice cubes in a plastic bag or buy an ice pack.
Ms. Wiseling: Ice? I hadn't thought of that. Jesus, it's really killing me!
Dr. Balis: Would you like to lie down?
Ms. Wiseling: No, that's okay. I don't want to fall asleep.
Dr. Balis: You might consider getting a new pillow--some people who have neck pain find it helpful to change the kind of pillow they sleep on. There are many different styles on the market. An osteopath or physical therapist would be able to tell you more about that.
Ms. Wiseling: Hmm. I hadn't thought of that either.
Dr. Balis: Have you been taking anything for the pain?
Ms. Wiseling: I've tried just about every pain reliever you can buy. They all work at first, but I end up taking six or ten pills a day, and my stomach starts to hurt.
Dr. Balis: You must be careful with dosage when taking pain medication. Even over-the-counter brands can be dangerous, and you've already discovered they can be hard on your stomach. Have you seen a doctor about this?
Ms. Wiseling: Oh god, don't even get me started. Do you know how many times I had to have the relay service call CalaCare HMO? They have to wait on hold forever. I can't tie up the relay service like that, they have other people to take care of, too. I was almost tempted to go to the Deaf Center and ask them to do it for me, but I hate asking them for anything. I would ask Angie, but she hasn't been around.
Dr. Balis: Angie? You haven't seen her?
Ms. Wiseling: She comes by the house a few times a week, mostly to pick up her clothes.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Wiseling: She says hi to me, but acts like nothing happened.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Wiseling: At first, I was hurt and angry at her for ignoring me. Now I just don't care. I feel like I don't care about anything. All I can think about is my work. I even dream about work. I'm turning into my father. I used to resent him for being that way, so passive and absorbed with his job. But now I'm the same way.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Wiseling: There's a deaf panhandler who hangs out in the BART station during rush hour. He got on the same car as me and started passing out these little cards. Have you seen these?
Dr. Balis: Yes, I have.
Ms. Wiseling: It's a scam, you know. Most of the people that do this are not even deaf. I read that some of these "deaf" beggars can make up to $30,000 selling these stupid cards.
Dr. Balis: I wasn't aware of that.
Ms. Wiseling: I always hated the deaf panhandlers the most. It's hard enough being a deaf person in a hearing world without some lazy asshole promoting the stereotype that deaf people can't take care of themselves. Most deaf people--something like eighty or ninety percent--work, you know.
Dr. Balis: What was your reaction when this deaf person approached you to buy these cards?
Ms. Wiseling: Ordinarily, I would have given him hell. I would have put him on the spot and told him I'm deaf, too--why couldn't he get a job like me? But I was so tired, and my whole body ached. My head was pounding, and he reeked of stale beer. He was clowning around in the car, and people were staring at him. I gave him a dollar just so he would get his smelly ass off the train.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Wiseling: I'm turning into a doormat. All the life has been drained from me.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Wiseling: Last week, I told my mother I was feeling sick and couldn't come for Thanksgiving. We usually just eat out anyway.
Dr. Balis: What did you do over the holidays?
Ms. Wiseling: I took some work home.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Wiseling: During the afternoon, I had a craving for turkey. Maybe it was homesickness or something like that. I went to Boston Market. I saw a lot of old people there, eating alone. It was depressing.
Dr. Balis: Have you been eating enough? You look like you've lost weight.
Ms. Wiseling: You know what my mother used to tell me? She would say I was good when I left food on my plate. She didn't want a fat daughter. Bad enough to have a deaf child, don't need her to be fat and ugly, too. That was the only time she would say something nice about me--when I didn't finish my dinner, or when I said I wasn't hungry. My mother is so obsessed about appearances, it's disgusting.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Wiseling: My mother was so happy when I started running. She would tell me it would make me slim. The real reason I ran was to get out of the house and away from her. Of course now I can't run--it seems to make my neck hurt even more. My left shoulder hurts, too.
Dr. Balis: You really should see a doctor about that, Kelly.
Ms. Wiseling: I'm seeing you, aren't I?
Dr. Balis: I'm sure your general practitioner could refer you to a physical therapist.
Ms. Wiseling: It's such a pain in the ass to get an appointment.
Dr. Balis: I could make an appointment for you...
Ms. Wiseling: No, I'll take care of it myself.
Dr. Balis: Kelly, it's all right to let people do things for you.
Ms. Wiseling: What's that supposed to mean?
Dr. Balis: I realize it's important to you to be independent, but allowing people to help you occasionally doesn't diminish your independence.
Ms. Wiseling: I've got to do things for myself.
Dr. Balis: You're already doing that, Kelly. You're a very capable young woman.
Ms. Wiseling: I don't need you to tell me that.
Dr. Balis: We all need support from the people around us. It's all right to accept offers of help.
Ms. Wiseling: You don't understand. It's different when you're disabled. I know what people say about me behind my back
Dr. Balis: How do you know, Kelly?
Ms. Wiseling: What? Do you think that just because my ears don't work, my brain doesn't work either? I can read lips, I can pick up body language and facial expressions. I know there are people at work who think I only got the job because I'm a charity case. I'm not the poor little deaf girl. I've got to be twice as good as they are before they'll give me any respect.
Dr. Balis: Do you think there are people at SII who look down on you because you are deaf?
Ms. Wiseling: I know it. And not just Scott Collavito, I bet at least half the people there don't take me seriously.
Dr. Balis: Why do you think that?
Ms. Wiseling: I can tell by the way they act around me. And I wasn't even considered for the SII Mole project.
Dr. Balis: Is that the project you wanted?
Ms. Wiseling: Yes! Y2K is the next big thing for the next two years at least.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Wiseling: I need to go.
Dr. Balis: We still have some time left.
Ms. Wiseling: I've got to get back to my desk.
Dr. Balis: Do you take breaks at work?
Ms. Wiseling: I don't have time.
Dr. Balis: I think a lot of the pain you're having may be stress related...
Ms. Wiseling: No shit.
Dr. Balis: As I was saying, stress can cause tension and muscle aches. It's a good idea to get up from your desk once in a while, even for a few minutes.
Ms. Wiseling: I can't do that.
Dr. Balis: You can at least stand up and stretch a bit.
Ms. Wiseling: I used to do that, but stretching seems to make it worse. It hurts all the time. It's really bad by the end of the day, I can barely turn my head.
Dr. Balis: Sometimes you need to take time to relax, especially when you're under stress. You also need to watch your dosage on the pain medication and eat regular meals at regular intervals.
Ms. Wiseling: And brush and floss after each one. And wear clean underwear, with no holes in it, because I might get into an accident. And what kind of mother would allow her daughter to wear underwear like that?
Dr. Balis: Kelly, I'm concerned you're not taking care of yourself. Did you eat lunch today?
Ms. Wiseling: Oh, mom, do I have to?
Dr. Balis: You really should eat something...
Ms. Wiseling: So I can get fat and ugly, and never find a husband, and become an old bag living alone with no one to talk to but her cat.
Dr. Balis: Kelly, please. For one thing, your stomach aches are probably due to you taking the pain medication on an empty stomach. I'm going to call CalaCare and get you an appointment this week, all right?
Ms. Wiseling: I'm a big girl now, I can do that myself.
Dr. Balis: I'd like to do it for you, Kelly. I don't want you to let this condition go on untreated.
Ms. Wiseling: Only if you say please.
Dr. Balis: Please, Kelly.
Ms. Wiseling: Pretty please.
Dr. Balis: Kelly...
Ms. Wiseling: With sugar on it. And kiss my feet.
Dr. Balis: Very funny.
Ms. Wiseling: Kiss my big toe. It's clean. I didn't step in anything.
Dr. Balis: I'll make the call this afternoon.
Ms. Wiseling: Go ahead if you want to, but you won't get through. No one can.
Dr. Balis: Let me try.
Ms. Wiseling: All right. Bye.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Kelly.
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