Initial Interview July 23, 2005: Female b.d. 05.22.61 While the initial interview was done in person, she lives in a different province, so subsequent interviews except for the last mentioned here were done over the phone or by e-mail.
There are two things that bother me: one is things with vinegar in them and the other is about communication. At work, home or whatever, it’s hard to say what I need to say. I’m afraid to stick up for what I think. It was a little better after Argentum nitricum. I watch people saying what they need to say. I’m afraid of what people will think of me. I can’t trust my inner sense that it’s a valid opinion, even though I think I’m a strong, educated, loving, knowing, caring being. It’s important in the speech therapy that I do and in teaching special education. It’s all about communication issues.
The food sensitivities are also a big thing. And my ovaries are not right. There’s been pain during sex unless I jam my fist into my right ovary. There’s also been pain in my ovaries at ovulation and before my period. The pH balance is another issue, as my naturopath says I’m too alkaline.
I tend to work in extremes, either full out or nothing.
I find it hard to make decisions. When I make lists I either do it all or nothing.
My body is out of balance. All my problems are on the right side: ovary, knee, ankle, eye (astigmatism). Imbalance is not knowing how to say when, what is good enough. Feeling out of control. I like to be in control. I can’t let other people do what needs to be done.
[She wipes the corners of her mouth.] I’ve done it all my life. It’s a clearing thing, clearing excess stuff, not letting stuff get stuck in the corners. I don’t like slimy things or textures. I don’t like eggs not cooked.I have a hard time staying warm. I don’t like being cold or wet. I can’t stand cream on my feet. It’s slimy! Goobs are slimy. Goobs are the bain of my existence! [This is her term since childhood for foods containing vinegar.]
I spend so much energy avoiding goobs, it’s not worth it. The smell is so offensive, it makes me gag. The smell is overpowering and that’s all I can smell or taste. It’s fermented, not fresh and shouldn’t be associated with food. It should be associated with rotting things, slimy, moldy, icky browns and greens, like a big bubbling cesspool, brown, green, slimy and smelly. If I go somewhere I don’t know if there will be food that I can eat. Should I call and tell them I’m allergic? Should I pretend I’m fasting? Should I bring my own food? Who orders a Big Mac without the sauce?
When I’m not saying what I want to say, I feel fear, nervousness in my stomach. It’s like the gut feeling you get when something’s wrong. If I do say something, I soften it, try to be super nice. It feels smarmy. I don’t know how to act, how to be. There are all these people that work under me. I can’t give the impression that I’m second-guessing.
I have a tremendous need to belong. [She cries.] I like to belong; I will do things so I can belong. I’m afraid that I’m going to be alone. I like to be alone only if it’s my choice. I’m afraid that I’m always going to be alone. If I’m riding my bicycle and I can’t see anyone, I get afraid. If I’m alone in the house, I can’t do anything, like being in a depression. I chose teaching in the classroom because I was alone in my speech therapy practice. In this Special Ed. Job, I don’t belong to the larger group. I’m the only one. I’m in the staff room every day to try to connect with people. There’s no one really to share with. I have the respect and admiration from people around me, but I am alone. I was flattered into taking this job when I really wanted a regular grade five classroom.
A recurring dream of a highway like train tracks in the sky. I have to get from one place to the other and the road breaks away. I’m on the wrong bus. I’m afraid of falling into the deep water. I feel dizzy and want to jump in rather than fall in. I’m afraid I’ll lose my balance. Another variation of the dream is in a car and I can’t quite control the car and I just barely make the turn. Everything’s too fast and I can’t control it. Another variation is on a boat with two rickety things and I’m trying not the fall in the water.
I’m not comfortable with heights or with great speed and I don’t like anything slimy. When I was a child I was terrified when the big metal graders passed by our street. It was a new neighborhood under construction, so this happened a lot. I would run in the other direction screaming my head off.
I like Timora Pierce’s books, the ones my daughters read. They’re about a female hero who has some kind of gift or power. She fights with swords and is also adept with other weapons. The characters go through growth and transformation.
Zorro. Some handsome guy with a sword who saves people and a strong willful woman just as tough. I can’t watch scary movies or psychological thrillers; they give me nightmares. I don’t get dry or black humor. Sometimes I don’t get when people are kidding.It bugs me when other people break the rules. I like things to be very organized and I like to be on time.
My period used to be 32-36 days between before the kids and usually light. Some cramping. After the twins and the third child they went back to the same. Now they are 24-26 days and lighter yet, lasting only 3 days. My libido isn’t great after kids, especially if I’m busy or stressed. It feels like one more thing to be done on the list.
I waken between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. The worst thing that happened to me was a moment when I thought that my husband was going to tell me he was leaving me shortly after the twins were born. I went completely blank, like there was nothing after this. I have a hard time feeling like I live up to my own expectations. I should do better. I drive myself hard. I need constant reassurance that I’m doing well, that I look good. I have a hard time feeling good, based on my own sense and judgment. I’m very competitive. I’m concerned with how others view me. I don’t look outward at what’s going on with others.
The main complaints are problems with communicating and the aversion to vinegar. The metal themes of performance and defense run through the case and also show up in the recurring dreams involving train tracks, buses, cars and boats; the books involving sword-wielding warriors; Zorro; the fear of metal road graders. Although I found myself looking at Calcarea carbonica with the feelings of inadequacy and the aversion to slimy things, I sought her remedy from the row of metals in the silver series and the following rubrics:
Mind; FLATTERY; Desires**
Mind; OBSTINATE, headstrong; Amiable, tries to appear**
FEMALE; PAIN; General; ovaries; right**
Speech & Voice; SPEECH; Awkward*
Mind; DELUSIONS, imaginations; Deserted, forsaken*
Mind; DREAMS; Swords*
MIND; DICTATORIAL, domineering, dogmatic, despotic*
While my version of MacRepertory only lists one remedy for aversion to vinegar, ReferenceWorks brought out a few more possibilities with Palladium scoring high.
Prior to taking her case, I had prescribed Lycopodium and Argentum nitricum for acute bladder/ovarian pain issues with minimal success. This ruled out these remedies.
I felt it significant that she had been flattered into taking the Special Education position. I also found it significant that her specialty as a speech therapist had been stuttering, particularly as her main complaint was difficulty in communication.
I found that her concerns are around her position in society, her roles, and her performance and defending her position. This led me to the periodic table, specifically the metals. Her hobbies and favorite books confirm the silver series: karate, cycling (in which she’s very competitive), tap-dancing, piano and singing, and later rowing show a competitive spirit and an affinity for metal things.
In discussion with this woman’s sister, I found that she had been plagued with measuring up to her older sister, always trying to be the centre of attention. She also told me that her aversion to vinegar is ‘legendary,’ often causing her to be ridiculed by other family members when she couldn’t eat something with mayonnaise or pickles in it. The aversion manifests as disgust, gagging and even vomiting if she accidentally ingests some.
Plan: Palladium 1M (She took the remedy on August 10, 2005)
I chose this potency because her vitality was strong enough to handle it and because of the delusion level of the swords and the intensity of the vinegar aversion.
First follow-up September 7, 2005: [The following was relayed in an e-mail.] I just have to tell you that I had some most interesting “vinegar incidents” while at my conference the weekend of August 21st. While I was driving down, my colleague and I stopped at the Safeway to pick up something to eat. We both got a few snacky type things and then carried on driving and chatting. I began to tell her about my vinegar thing, and how you were trying to help me with it. One of the things that K. was eating was a vegetable medley in a plastic container, and she had it sitting open in the car between us. When I told her about my vinegar revulsion, she said, “Oh my god, I had better put this away then”. I said “Why”. She said – because it’s got Italian dressing on it! I couldn’t smell anything, so I picked it up and sniffed, but I couldn’t really smell much of anything at all. I told her that maybe it didn’t have vinegar in it. Then later on, I twigged that perhaps I just wasn’t reacting as much to the vinegar, so I picked it up and sniffed it really deeply. I could tell that it was dressing, but I wasn’t gagging, and it just didn’t seem to bother me. We were both quite astounded. At lunch the next day, there was caesar salad served, and I was trying to see if it had vinegar in it. I couldn’t smell anything, so I took some and put it on my plate. When I tasted it, I could tell that it did have vinegar in it, but I just couldn’t smell it very much. I didn’t want to eat it, but it didn’t seem to be all that bad. The next day at lunch they were serving sandwiches. I picked up a couple and looked in them to see if there was mayonnaise in them. I couldn’t really tell with the first one. There was something on it that was either mayonnaise or whipped butter. I couldn’t smell anything, so I ate the first one, which was a ham sandwich. The second one that I picked up was a turkey and cranberry sandwich. When I took a bite, it seemed to have a very gooey texture, so I pulled it apart, and it did have white goobs in it beneath the cranberry sauce. I didn’t eat it because the texture bothered me, and the taste seemed a bit different… but I could not smell any vinegar! K. looked at the sandwich and verified that it was indeed mayonnaise, and I was astounded once again. I took the sandwich apart and tried and tried to smell the vinegar in the mayonnaise. K. finally made me stop because she said I was beginning to look like I had Asperger’s syndrome, and that nobody else was taking their sandwiches apart and smelling them over and over! On the way back home, we stopped on the side of the road to buy peaches, and I also got a bag of chips. K. purposely bought a bag of salt and vinegar chips so she could test me on the vinegar. She opened them and I took a whiff and I couldn’t smell anything. So I stuck my nose deep into the bag and took a really big sniff and I still couldn’t smell anything. We laughed and laughed as I launched into Aspergerish compulsive smelling behaviors again. When I moved the bag of chips away, I all of a sudden got a big whiff of vinegar, but every time I put my nose up close, I just couldn’t really smell it. On the ferry, they put a pickle on my hamburger so I picked it off and laid it down on the tray. I ate the whole burger without tasting any pickle residue on the bun. Later, I noticed a funny smell on my fingers and I couldn’t identify it. K. suggested that perhaps I had pickle juice on my fingers. I did, but it just didn’t smell the same. I fully verify that I was not drunk these last three days, or on drugs, and I don’t think there is anything physically wrong with my nose!