Odds and Ends

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View from the far side of the recliner

Odds and Ends

Well probably not that odd and definitely not the end.
Another Learning Experience
I got a call from a potential client’s wife which is usually a red flag. In this case the man had been referred by a physician I know to quit smoking. I didn’t feel I could turn that referral down. The gentleman had a number of serious medical conditions and was looking at another surgery. His doctor naturally wanted him not smoking, surgery is risky enough even for someone in good health. It turned out that the man smoked 5 to 7 cigars a day the way other people smoke cigarettes. He also wanted to work on dietary and exercise goals.
The problem was he still had cigars. I usually want my clients to have their last smoke and get rid of all smoking material before they come to see me. If they are not willing to do that they probably are not ready to quit smoking. There are some other techniques I can use to assist them to being ready but of course if it’s not really their goal I can’t help them with that goal.
We spent a long time going over his history and goals. Decided on the language for suggestions. Did a quick reality technique to check if he could really see himself as a nonsmoker. It was not easy for him to see himself a nonsmoker. Not encouraging. Because of the medical importance of this issue I decided to go ahead. I taught him some simple stress reduction techniques then went into what seemed like a good trance session. In the review at the end of the session he seemed to think he could give up the cigars. We scheduled another session in two days to keep working on the other issues.
Next session he had not quit and still had enough cigars to last him three days. He had decided that his goal was to quit smoking at 6:00 PM on the third day while tapering off. It didn’t seem like the best plan but he was sure it would work and he had spent a lot of time thinking about it and even had a number of precise suggestions. We reviewed the previous stress reduction techniques then proceeded with a session using his suggestions and very specific target for being a nonsmoker.
I called him about an hour after the target time to congratulate him on being tobacco free only to find that he felt terrible and couldn’t give up the cigars yet.
Although that result wasn’t totally unexpected at least the stress reduction techniques were reported to be helpful. I talked to the doctor about the outcome and he thought it worth a try anyway.
I will give this client a call now that it’s been a couple of weeks and see if he wants to work on anything else or do some deep work on his need for the cigars.

More Seizure Stuff
Last time I wrote about my experience of having seizures. Most of the time I can function just fine and no one else knows what’s happening in my head. At least twice that I remember, I was working with clients deep in trance going through suggestions when the auditory hallucinations came on strong, after a bit my ability to form words was getting compromised. Until the seizures passed it was a matter of extreme concentration and frequent pauses to keep going. At the end of those sessions I was exhausted but at least the clients were relaxed and had no idea of what had been going on the other side of the recliner.
Hypnotherapy Conference
Last week I attended the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners Conference in Pasadena. There were three days with 24 presentations and 16 workshops. I managed to get to six workshops and two presentations for a total of 17.5 hours. Almost everything I went to was excellent. It was great to hear directly from two authors of powerful books in the field and from one of the best known medical hypnotherapists in the world. The other speakers were very knowledgeable with excellent information. It was nice to be reminded of some of the things that I learned previously, techniques that I want to start using again and new insights and details on what was familiar. There were four areas in which I gained a lot of new information using metaphors in hypnotherapy, working with; insomnia, PTSD and children.
I am really looking forward to incorporating the new information into my existing practice and expanding into more working (kind of like play) with the little people and helping those folks dealing with PTSD.
I meet two of my classmates from the Hypnotherapy Academy of America (in Sante Fe, NM back then) class of Summer 2007. We agreed that we did get an excellent education. I meet a number of very nice and interesting people from all over the country. There were even a few from Arizona.

That’s it for now.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Thanks,
Don Berlyn

The distant sounds from within

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The distant sounds from within
Four years after the head injury, towards the end of the classroom part of physical therapy school, I was sitting in some type of neurology rehabilitation class. I felt normal. I became aware of a strange noise or sounds like ocean waves in an echo chamber or large empty space. It wasn’t loud. I looked around to see if anyone else seemed to be hearing anything. Apparently just me. It lasted for probably about a minute then was gone with some popping sounds. This continued intermittently throughout my internships. I rarely mentioned it. I did test my coordination and balance, standing on one foot, eyes closed, fingertip to nose, throwing and catching. All systems go during the static. I did ask a PT that I knew to check my pulse, eye movements and pupils during one of the episodes. Normal.
On my first PT job (in Tucson) I had real health insurance and the money to pay deductibles so I went for a hearing evaluation. Everything tested normal and there was no explanation for the random sound effects.
I moved on to Durango, CO and ran a small PT clinic in Aztec, NM. Over time the episodes became more frequent, lasted longer and perhaps unrelated, I thought I noticed occasional moments of incoordination. I had another evaluation that was normal for hearing but showed a deficit in my right vestibular mechanism. Those results didn’t explain anything that was happening inside my head.
I was moving to Flagstaff, trying to catch up on my paperwork (the curse of my existence) in Aztec and driving to Flagstaff on weekends trying to find a place to live. Sometime in there I ran the Imogene Pass run. One day I was sitting at my desk eating lunch and finishing the morning’s patient notes. My first afternoon patient had come in early and was exercising on his own before his session started. No pressure. The day was going fine.
I began to get a strange feeling, not pain, not ill, more a sense of dread. I never remembered that feeling before. For some reason it seemed like a good idea to splash some cold water on my face. While in the bathroom, splashing the water on my face it became difficult to use my right arm and the right side of my face began to droop. Oh fecal matter! I was having a stroke. Managing to get the door open before things got worse, I got to my secretary’s desk and tried to say that I needed help. I couldn’t speak but she got the message. Getting up from her chair and she put it behind me so I could sit down. I didn’t quite sit, sliding from the chair to the floor.
The lights went out.
Over an hour later they came on again in the Farmington, NM emergency room. Very groggy and confused. That apparently was a grand mal seizure, shorted out, gone. My fiancé, Debbie also a PT, came and got me back to Durango. She was pretty concerned, scared even. I don’t have much of a memory of the couple of days after that. An EEG and MRI were normal. The assessment was that maybe I was just exhausted and that could cause a seizure. I was put on Dilantin temporarily but if there was no relapse it was up to me if I wanted to continue it. I declined. Dilantin clashed with my coffee.
The irregular auditory sideshow continued, back to normal and I moved to Flagstaff.
The outpatient PT clinic in Flagstaff had good exercise equipment which we used before or after seeing patients. There was also a shower. I worked out before seeing patients one day then took a shower. In the shower I began to notice music, that was nice, but there was no speaker in the shower room. Oops! Things started to go downhill. I quickly pulled my shorts on, got out of the shower room while I still could and right in front was the office manager’s desk. I couldn’t talk but she could tell that something wasn’t right (more than usual) with me. Somehow I was brought back to one of the treatment rooms. I knew what was going on this time and seemed as if I was able to fight to stay conscious.
Another MRI, an extensive evaluation at an epilepsy center and no evidence of anything unusual. The brainstorms happen when they will regardless of mental meteorologists. This time the Dilantin was not debatable. My coffee consumption increased to meet the challenge.

Tomorrow I’m off to another Hypnotherapy conference. Not sure what I’ll write about next time but there will be words.

Feel free to contact me with any comments and of course if you know someone who might be interested in these posts please send them on.
Thanks,
Don Berlyn