Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 140. Sleeeep!

Yes, a decision to change my medical specialization was not an easy one for me. I had graduate surgical education under supervision of great surgeons Yakov Davydovitch Vitebskiy and Gavril Abramovitch Illizarov –





two luminaries in surgery of Kurgan. I was pretty good at what I was doing. At that time I was still single, so for several days in a row I did not leave my department, where I was performing surgeries, slept in my office for two-three hours and again had appointments at a polyclinic and surgeries in a hospital. I was the only one surgeon in the hospital except for a chief physician of the very village of Chashi, who worked part-time as a surgeon; and the area we served was enormous; they were laying a gas pipeline at that time there. And hard people worked at the pipeline. Every week there were knife and gunshot wounds. To cut it short, I had the most significant practical experience there. Nevertheless I changed my specialization, and quite abruptly, for psychiatry.
In my essay “Fainzilberg’s Mistake” I described the events which lead to my transition to psychiatry.
And now I can openly say that a psychiatrist Viktor Markovitch Loytsker and a chief psychiatrist of Kurgan region at that time Boris Zakharovitch Khaikin gave right arguments at the right time and found the right chords of adventurism and inquisitiveness, which they played.
I never regretted even for a second my change of the specialization in the future. Two smartest psychiatrists Loytsker and Khaikin made a not bad pro of me. They entrusted very interesting cases to me, and in a couple of years I was already a member of a commission in lunacy of Kurgan regional mental institution. However I did not have a certificate of my specialization in psychiatrics at that time, so there could be a problem with resolutions I issued as a member of the commission in lunacy. So I was urgently directed to a famous city of Kazan to major in psychiatrics.

Kazan mental hospital

Kazan mental

In those days primary specialization in psychiatry lasted for six months. So nobody came there by accident to relax and have fun while studying. Though I was going to tell not about a curriculum of the primary specialization, but how I took an optional course in psychotherapy. Somewhere in the middle of the academic course, Maya Alexandrovna Shmakova, who was supervising our group of cadets, as doctors were called at the institution, announced that there was an optional course in psychotherapy conducted by Valeriy Alexandrovitch Ivanov.

Hypnotic Seance, 1887, by Richard Bergh

Hypnotic Seance, 1887, by Richard Bergh

She persistently recommended everybody to take the optional course. However the course classes were in the evening and on weekends. Ivanov was such a devotee that he often spent nights in his office when reading the course. At the beginning all of us together came to have a class. Though in a week there were two of us left: me and Mikhail from Kalmykia, do not remember his last name. I liked the classes very much, and Valeriy Alexandrovitch was very good at explaining things and he illustrated everything with examples right away. I will say honestly, that I was showing pretty good progress, and I was already in charge of five patients with different pathologies. However I still did not like and could not accept sessions of group psychotherapy. As for individual sessions, which were considered to be more complicated, I mastered them quite well.

The first open séance of psychotherapy (hypnosis) I conducted right at Kazan State Institute of Advanced Training for Doctors. And that was not just at the institute, but at the Psychotherapy Department, with all my colleagues-cadets and all the staff members of the department present. The adventurer Ivanov had praised me at department gatherings. And he provoked me by saying: “Can you do a thing like that?”. That was an absolutely risky venture. Even though for the session we brought my patient with the best hypnoability, who almost without any preparation on the count three went into the third stage. With all my colleagues, all the members of the department and the department’s head Derd Galeyevitch Yenikeyev present I could not make my patient sleep. I did and tried everything and anything. Valeriy Alexandrovitch was sitting next to Yenikeyev pail, like a bed sheet. Because of hopelessness and despair I literally shouted to the patient: “Sleeep!”, and she fell asleep. Yeah, that was something. After that I brought myself together and demonstrated all the moments Ivanov and I had planned for the cadets, such as hindered breathing, stimulated cough, singing, and as a special thrill I commanded her complete anesthesia of both hands and pricked her skin with an injection needle in the anatomical snuff box area. I left the needle in the skin and woke the patient up for several seconds. Yenikeyev asked her whether she felt any pain. The patient loudly said: “No” and fell asleep again. That was later when I learned that in order to produce hypnosis in the patient I had happened to apply rational and imperative methods, though I had not had the slightest idea about them. Because of self-respect I studied both methods and they never failed me in my medical practice later.

1 July, 2012

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
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Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content