Dear Ted and Jody:
Thank you for your email yesterday. Too bad Bobby’s rental car fell through.
Christmas Eve day the physical therapist took Nancy for a 550 foot walk and called it 600 feet. Yesterday, I went with her twice. So, she got in over 1100 feet. The last 25 feet going to the road is uphill. It isn’t the going up, but the coming back down that is the problem. After all, it is a wet stretch of mostly packed dirt on top of a gravel base—potentially slippery. Our first outing I carried her walker and she used a cane. We got brave the second time and didn’t carry the walker. (Pity, I could have used it).
Between the cane and a “picker-upper thingie” (I know they have names for these things, for they are carried in various inventories, and things in inventories invariably have names along with unpronounceable numbers) she dressed herself yesterday.
Independence and doing things for herself is the real battle for her at present. After our first walk, yesterday she insisted upon fixing grilled cheese sandwiches. About the only things she could not do was get the grilling pan out of a low cabinet or the pickles from the second refrigerator in the garage. Both required bending more than the 90 degrees at the waist. Such bending tends to pop the hip joint when they are new. While it takes a bit longer, after 20 days of doing all the kitchen “stuff” I am not complaining about a little extra time. Besides, I am running out of ideas for what to fix for lunch and dinner Grilled cheese would have been my suggestion for dinner tonight. Back to the food idea bin.
As I thought, I have used my tolerance for reality. Hence you will find episode 19 of the Amanda Saga appended (and a photo of Nancy ½ way through her 2nd walk yesterday).
Warmest regards, Ed
019 Mrs. White is Hypnotized
Fiction in 1544 words by T. Edward Westen, 2016
It took David the Hypnotist ten minutes to convince Mrs. Hastings that she needed to write down all that she remembered. “Memories are always piecemeal. They are almost never complete unless one has hyperthymesia. But then, if you had that you wouldn’t have needed me to take you back.”
Mrs. Hastings said, “Yes, I have heard of that, some actress has it.”
David the Hypnotist nodded his head. “Yes, I believe you refer to Maryilu Henner.
“Yes, she’s the one. A delightful young woman. I have enjoyed her in everything she has done. One would never know she is a savant.” Replied Mrs. Hastings.
David the Hypnotist shook his head in disagreement. “She is not a savant nor autistic, rather we suspect she experiences an ongoing subconscious process that both records what happens to her and recall is triggered automatically when events or dates or names come up. But, the rest of us have to rely on notes, and regression through hypnosis. Even then it is not complete. So, write down what you remember from before you jumped off that swing. Please avoid talking to the others until we are all finished.”
“OK” said Mrs. Hasting taking the note pad David the Hypnotist handed her.
“Now, if you go out that door” said David the Hypnotist pointing to a door on the far side of the room from which they entered, “You will find a comfortable lounge with tables, chairs and the makings for coffee or tea and a well-stocked refrigerator full of various non-alcoholic beverages.”
Mrs. Hastings left through the lounge door. David the Hypnotist, then made a few notes before he went back to the room where the others were waiting.
When David the Hypnotist opened the door Mrs. White asked him “Where is Mrs. Hastings?”
David the Hypnotist jerked his thumb over his shoulder “She is in another room making some more notes.”
Mrs. White looked puzzled “So, it didn’t work?”
David the Hypnotist, smiled, “It worked. Do you have your narrative or list finished?”
Mrs. White, smiled and handed it to him. “Take me next.”
David the Hypnotist looked around the room “Any objections?”
The other two women shook their heads indicating they had no objections.
David the Hypnotist opened the door to the session room and said, “After you fair lady.”
Once in the session room, David the Hypnotist pointed to the door on the other side of the room. “Mrs. Hastings is in there. Would you like to say hi and make sure she is OK before we proceed?”
Mrs. White took the few steps to the other side of the room and opened the door. Mrs. Hastings was wringing out a tea bag on a spoon by wrapping the string around it. Mrs. Hastings looked up and said “Very refreshing session. Enjoy it.”
Mrs. While asked “Are you OK.”
Mrs. Hastings replied, “Never better.” And she winked.
Mrs. White shut the door and turned to David the Hypnotist “Where do we start?”
David the Hypnotist gestured to the recliner “Make yourself comfortable. Comfort and relaxation are what we hope to acheive.”
“You know, it is hard for me to relax in small rooms.” Said, Mrs. White.
“I should think so.” Replied David the Hypnotist. “However, what do you find most relaxing”
“Ironically,” replied Mrs. White, “in a bubble bath.”
“Tell me what is so relaxing about a bubble bath,” David the Hypnotist said. While he though ‘Perhaps Brice was not off his nut when he told me these four women and Mandy are all the same person at different ages. Let’s see.’ “Now. I want you to imagine yourself in a bubble bath. The door chime is turned off, there is no radio, no television and your cell phone is in the other room. There is nothing here to distract you.”
David the Hypnotist could see Mrs. White relaxing. So he continued. “You can feel the water, just the right temperature to sooth your warry muscles. You can smell the bath salts. You are alone in the bubble bath and all you can hear is my soothing voice and the pop of a bubble. My voice makes you relax even more.”
Mrs. White seemed to lose all semblance of muscle tone and resembled a fabric doll left in the chair by a forgetful child.
“Now, you are completely relaxed. You are safe. You feel the worries draining from you. You feel better than you have ever felt. Even your toes feel relaxed. All you hear now is the comforting sound of my voice. Is the temperature of the water just right?”
Mrs. While answered “Yes, perfect.”
David looked down at the notes she had provided, a list really. Reordering them as she had then numbered ‘1: Mommy took me to breakfast 2: Mommy took me to Santa, 3: Mommy took me to swing, 4: the policeman gave me a ride . . . hmm. It might be better to start with Santa, Daddy seemed to take over in Mrs. Hastings memory.’ Then he said, “Now we are going to go back to when you were four years old. I want you to go back to the day you went to see Santa. Can you see Santa?”
“Yes, I see her.” Said Mrs. White.
“Who do you see?” Asked David the Hypnotist.
“I see Santa.” Said Mrs. White.
“Mandy, I want you to describe Santa. What does Santa look like?” David the Hypnotist asked.
“She looks like a Mommy with white fluff on her chin. She has a soft fat tummy just like my pillow.” Said, Mrs. White.
David the Hypnotist hesitated while he made of note next to Santa on Mrs. White’s list. “I want you to look around. Do you see your Mommy?”
“Yes, I see a Mommy with the others. They get to sit on Santa’s lap too.”
David the Hypnotist asked “Is that the same Mommy who took you to breakfast?”
Mrs. White replied. “No.”
David the Hypnotist asked, “How can you tell it is not the same Mommy that took you to breakfast.’
“This Mommy has a blue dress on. The other one was yellow.” Replied Mrs. White.
David the Hypnotist pushed on. “Mandy, I want you to go back to when you got up this morning. Where are you?”
Mrs. White replied “Yes, I am in our room.”
David the Hypnotist asked, “Where is your room.”
Mrs. White replied “I am Mandy. I am four.” She held up four fingers “I live at level 4 number 7.
David the Hypnotist said, “I want you look around and tell me what is in level 4 number 7.”
Mrs. White described a typical dormitory room with two bunk beds and two sets of dresser drawers and for lockers. The room was egg shell white. When pushed, Mrs. While described a very neat room occupied by four little girls.
David the Hypnotist then asked “Who lives there with you.”
“Alice, Cindy and Becky.” Replied Mrs. White.
“Mandy would you please describe Alice” asked David the Hypnotist.
Mrs. White said “She has a blue dress.”
David the Hypnotist asked “Does she always wear a blue dress?’
“No” replied Mrs. White.
“Mandy, can you describe Cindy? Asked David the Hypnotist.
“Mrs. White replied, “Yes”
“Mandy, Please describe Cindy. David the Hypnotist said.
“She has a green dress.” Replied Mrs. White.
“Thank you Mandy. Now what color dress are you wearing?”
Mrs. White’s reply carried a child’s self-aware pride “I have a red dress on.” David the Hypnotist could almost see her move in the recliner doing the back and forth of a little girl swishing her dress.
“Mandy, do you ever wear green?” Asked David the Hypnotist.
“NO! Cindy wear green.” Replied Mrs. White who was visibly tense and agitated.
David walked through a sequence of questions designed to sooth and reassure Mrs. White. He had learned a long time ago, that once a subject was uneasy the session was in effect over, for the subject’s relaxed state was terminated. Best to bring them out and start again. The ambience, so to speak, was lost for that session. He then told Mrs. White she would awaken refreshed when he snapped his fingers; and, she would remember everything when she woke up and not be the slightest bit disturbed about going back to her childhood. He snapped his fingers.
Mrs. White smiled and stretched. “My, but I must have dozed off.” Then she had a puzzled look on her face. “I remember.”
It took David the Hypnotist less time convincing Mrs. White to write down all that she remembered than it had convincing Mrs. Hastings.
“Please join Mrs. Hasting in the lounge, but write down what you remember before you talk to her about what you remember.
David the Hypnotist stuck his head in the lounge to remind Mrs. Hasting that she and Mrs. White were not to discuss their memories until after Mrs. White finished writing out her memory.”
“While you may be the same person at a different age, you did diverge at 4. Things that happened to you later can modify your earlier memories. So, to have a better chance of understanding where you were before you jumped off that swing we need uncontaminated accounts.”