Simple or Complicated
Part 1 - 2013
When my son Bobby was 3 or 4 years old, he likes to ran out of the shower, running around the house, naked. I have to chase him to get him dressed. He told me that “ Mama, I am a simple boy, I do not want to be complicated.”
Part 2 - 2022
Our cat Coco stopped eating and drinking for 24 hours, so I rushed to make appointments to get Coco checked by a Vet. .
Because of Covid regulation, I cannot go inside the Clinic with Coco, 45 minutes later, the vet came out and gave me her treatment proposal:
She said your cat has an upset stomach, fever and I do not know what is going on. “I will
Getting her sedated, so I can get a sample for blood test, get X-ray and Ultrasound, I will also need a feces sample for parasite testing, … I may need to send her to another urgent care facility for overnight observation to make sure that she can make it tonight, … the estimated cost will be around $2000.”
Overwhelmed, I am not losing my mind yet.
I remembered Bobby’s simple boy story, after a really deep breath, I said:
“ Let’s keep it simple. How about let’s focus on her symptoms. Can you do anything to reduce fever, and can you hydrate ? “
“Yes, I can. I still want to X-Ray or ultrasound her, in case she swallowed some small object, and test or parasit, etc”
“Understood. I know my cat. Let’s focus on symptom first, will you Dr.? “ I am firm and polite, and I am not fearful, Coco has never been sick before, and she is a young and playful cat.
“ I hope she does not get worse, hopefully she can make it tonight. It could be better if you send her to the overnight urgent care.”
“Let’s focus on the fever and hydrate her.” I said.
The Dr. did what I insisted. About one hour later, Coco was out of the clinic. They gave her an injection for fever and hydrate her with fluid. Three hours later when we got home, Coco was almost normal, she was eating and purring again.
This is a simple solution focused on cat therapy, I am glad I did not do analysis therapy.
Michele Ritterman – Red Carpet Moment
I had dedicated every free minute and then some for four years to get Rolando out of the maximum security prison in Santiago, Chile. I met with every human rights group there and here, people treating torture survivors there (Dr. Paz Rojas being the most courageous )any congressman in D.C. who would meet with me, (the Lantos's being the unrelenting supporters) representatives across Germany (with Jurgen), Petitioned and reached Pope John Paul the second before his visit there-- with a magnificent hand made book of letters compiled from lawyers, doctors, therapists, the prisoners’ wives and children, (kept one copy of these little masterpieces I can show you one day). Helped get Rolando out! And when he was in the air, after years of the worst imaginable abuse and then abominable and inhumane living conditions, his sister in Chile, Gloria, and Patty in England called me. And we all wept with relief. Off we went to create a life with his companera and son, Judah’s age.
In 1990 (after the 1973 coup on Sept. 11), Pinochet had delivered what he’d promised, a YES/NO vote for his continued rule. The streets resounded with NO. That year the first therapy conference in almost two decades was convened. Sal was invited, and Maturana. And at the 11th hour, I was included, almost as an afterthought, and during the lunch hour.
I had prepared a masterpiece on family systems and was prepared to use the Spanish translation from my book to deliver my speech in Spanish, with my good accent.
But because I was stuck in at lunch hour and not much validated as a philosopher/clinican/therapist, despite having dedicated much of my life to the Democracy that enabled the conference, low self-esteem got triggered.
A story Erickson had put in my brain file for just such a moment, came bubbling to the foreground. I received no introduction to an audience who knew perhaps nothing of me. My name was called. It was lunch hour or break time at the same time as I was called to the mic in front of hundreds of therapists gathered there.
Erickson told me of the unconfident virtuoso pianist he’d worked with. Using Milton's farmer’s understandings of leading chickens to the coop with bread crumbs, he suggested the man imagine that as he walked, a red carpet was laid out in front of him leading all the way to the piano and the microphone on the stage.
I laid out my own mental red carpet from mid-audience to the stage.. I walked with the pride and dignity of someone who had just fought for the freedoms of all those gathered there.
By the time I reached the podium, the audience sensed something special was about to happen. And I was able to deliver the speech that included mention of this new return to what had been the longest held democracy in all of central and South America, as well as details on systemic thinking and specific relevant cases.
I nearly got a standing ovation. Certainly the entire body that had remained through the speech were uplifted and the applause resounded and was heartfelt.
When Sal returned from lunch he asked:’What did you do to them?” He had heard nothing but rave reviews of my passionate and brilliant talk. Needless to say, he beamed with a fatherly pride.
Chicken to the coop. That’s all….
I imagine you’ll outlive me.
And perhaps the story will too.