Friday, July 31, 2009

Bif Poppi!

The word is out. Big Poppi added a few chemical compounds to his system and it may have helped him hit the ball a bit further.

That is about as surprising as a birthday party for a six year-old.

Now everyone is yelling about the "integrity of the game." Right, sure.

First, during the last fifteen years, was there any ball player of note who was not taking some kind of enhancers? Jed Lowry maybe. He's hitting .187. Brian Daubach?

But I love the part about the integrity of the game. This is the way the game is played. Any game in America. Did Karl Rove worry about the integrity of the U.S. Attorneys General. AIG didn't seem to have too many concerns about the integrity of the insurance game. How about Enron. Bank of America, Countrywide. United Health Care, which has paid millions of dollars in fines for defrauding Medicare. How about Haliburton? The War in Iraq? General Motors?

Does Fox News worry a lot about the integrity of what they report? Does Rush Limbaugh validate all, or any of his facts?

Even the American Psychological Association has been walking a very fine line about allowing psychologists to design brain-washing and torture techniques to help the government break laws and be unethical to fight terrorism. Integrity?

Lawyers? Do I need to say more? Stock brokers? Mortgage salespeople? Who do you trust? Rabbis selling body parts, priests playing with young boys. Presidents and interns?

How about professors who take Provigil to stay awake and finish journal articles, or students who take Adderol? Is that cheating.Is that OK if you have ADD, but not if you don't. What if you rush off before finals and get an MD ti give you a diagnosis for a week?

Is it OK for me to have that caffeine boost at eleven every morning? Does it make me a better therapist, or would it be more honest if I was falling asleep?
Baseball remains an American game. it reflects our culture. If someone is going to pay you $20 million to hit home runs, you are going to do what you can to hit home runs. You don't think any of the owners knew about McGuire or Sosa? Everyone knew, and everyone liked it.

I was at the game last Friday. Big Poppi came up and hit a fly ball to right. It was four feet short of the bull-pen. If he was juicing, it would have gone out. I paid $80 fuckin dollars for those seats. Can you believe that. $80 for a baseball game. If Big Poppi's had taken those drugs and hit the ball ten feet further, I would have been have been a happy customer. Isn't that what integrity is about? Giving the customer what he paid for?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

her list

A new client came to see me yesterday. She said she had been searching for a new therapist and that several people had mentioned me. I guess I'm a superstar in a crazy world.

She related her life history and it is pretty awful. She has been trying to get herself stabilized for years, and has had about four previous therapists. She cried, and was pretty anxious, but we did OK.

As she left she gave me something she had written. She said she knew that she would spend the session crying and not be able to say all that she wanted, so she had written it out for me. She handed me about six pages.

I like it when people put effort into their treatment. They have to do more than I do if they are going to change, and change is difficult.

She listed things that she was hoping to work on, and then she listed the reasons why she had left her other therapists, and other factors that have held her back and made her life difficult.

As I read it, I was impressed. But then I kept reading and I began to see that this poor woman has become a professional victim. While it is true that the world -- her family, her school mates, her one terrible relationship, her three terrible bosses, have all contributed to making her life difficult. While I am sympathetic, I felt like she was making a case for me to pick up the load.

I don't want to do that. I am going to have to tell her that the next time we meet. I will try to do it in a manner that will let her see that this is her life to lead. I'm afraid that she isn't what she is looking for.

I'll let you know.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

She's gone

I can talk freely here because I know she doesn't have a computer.

She is an older woman who had a very unfair start in life; she and her mother shared a room and a bed for the first eighteen years of her life. Her father lived upstairs and worked two jobs. Her mother lectured her constantly about sin and warned her about the evils of men.

She was engaged to a man in the Navy. He came home from the sea and they were married. The marriage lasted three days. She sent him home realizing that she could never go through with it. She never did.

I saw her for five years. We met at the same time very week. She was always there, she always had things to talk about. She had insight into her situation and was often good with self-effacing humor.

I was her third therapist during a twenty year period. She said she was amazed that I had expected her to make changes and she that had been able to do so. She became much more assertive,she learned that she didn't have to act sweet and charming to people who treated her badly, and she learned that if she didn't want men to come-on to her she shouldn't flirt with them. She was able to deal with the world and move to a better living situation. She asked for help when she needed it. She even made one good friend.(She ran away from that relationship twice, but I kept sending her back)

But I was expected her growth to continue, and she didn't want to give up being bitter and resentful about things that happened fifty years ago.

When I hurt my eye she got scared that I wouldn't be able to see her every week for the next ten years, even though I only missed one week. Last month I told her that in august I was going to take three weeks off. Two weeks later she came to our session and told me that it would be our last meeting. She had made an appointment with someone else. She was worried that I was going to be gone too much and she needed regular therapy.

I think she wanted me to be shocked and upset. She said her last therapist cried when she announced that she had found me. I spoke to that woman who told me what a marvelous patient she was.

But, the truth is, I was kind of elated. Five years is more than enough. Medicare shouldn't pay for forever, and I was thinking of moving her to at least bi-weekly after the summer. Also, she didn't want to free herself from more of her limitations. She was comfortable using her anxiety as an excuse.

Now, if she wants that, it is perfectly understandable, but she doesn't need therapy to do that.

I realize, that this should be viewed as an issue in treatment, and should be worked through. It is about her fears of abandonment, of losing someone close to her. She should not take my actions in my as a reflection of how I feel about her. There are reasonable limits on different types of relationships. They are not all or nothing.

I didn't feel like doing all of that. I will let the new guy do it. I'm not perfect all the time.

She's gone. This week I used the hour to get a cup of coffee. I have someone scheduled in that slot next week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This is what I've learned, from my own experience and from dealing with any health care system anywhere.

The best advice is that if you want to stay healthy -- don't get sick.

Once you get sick you get sucked into the system and then you have a tough time getting out.

I'm still walking around with one eye, knocking things over and wondering when it's going to knock me over. Stress. I've been taking eye drops and then I developed a rash on my cheek, which was probably from the drops. I showed the doctor and she acted like she didn't know and said I should see a dermatologist.

Right, sure, see another doctor. I just make sure the drops don't spill.

Once you go to the doctor and they start running tests "just to be sure" looking for things you never even thought about and now you're worried for two weeks. They forget to call you and tell you that there probably isn't anything wrong, but maybe another test would make it clearer.

Enough, enough!

Eat right, take walks and smile.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

City politics

I have had many, many clients who have been in the government of the beautiful and hard working city in which I have my practice. Like any city, there is a great deal of nepotism, chronyism, pettiness and politics that overshadows those who are dedicated and caring city employees. For the most part I don't mind, at least people are working and getting paid, although now about 15% of the workers are being laid-off.

But right now I have three clients who are in the middle of dealing with the city and are not only being screwed, it is happening in such a manner that is obviously grossly unjust, unfair and out of order that any place with some kind of self-respect and dignity would be so terribly embarrassed that all parties involved would be thrown out on their ass -- but no one seems to be batting an eye.

In one case I am seeing a woman who had worked in a department for fourteen years. She is a talkative and breezy woman whom almost everyone likes. He attitude helps her do her job and relate to the people she has to deal with. But two years ago she got a new supervisor who seemed to feel uptight with the way this woman was outgoing and chatty.
A couple of months ago the big boss came in and told my client she was being put on paid leave, but that she would have to leave the building immediately. He said he couldn't say why. Three weeks later she was called in for a hearing in which she was charged with all kinds of things that she had no memory of ever doing, some of which, if she really did them she should have been fired on the spot, but no one had ever said anything, nothing was documented, and no one else could be found who had witnessed it.

She denied it all, asked for the union to do an investigation. Two weeks later she got a letter saying she was being fired. The union was never given any evidence. Word got back to her that the new supervisor who had wanted to get rid of her was known to be very involved, in an extra-curricular manner, with one of the men high up in the administration.

The other two cases are very similar. Petty grievances, jealousy, and incompetence seems to be the rule and not the exception. I could tell you more stories, that I can't tell.

I was about to say that I am not surprised, but I guess I am, even I, who have seen or heard almost everything, am a bit surprised by how once the bar gets set very low, everything falls apart. When the incompetent people rise to power their instincts are to protect themselves from those who can point out their flaws. They band tightly together and everyone in the community suffers.

I guess we used to call this The Bush Administration, now it's just on a local level, but it's just as insidious.