An Abhorrent Province…………#134 (the 70’s)

Welcome to the Province of Hypnosis

Welcome to the Province of Hypnosis

1972 found Gary experiencing his fourth year of tenure at the keyboard in the Pirates Cove Club having to accept the  third enlargement of the club,  the ambient  piano-bar embodiment of the past just a remembrance.  The seating capacity now exceeding 160 patrons and  exhibiting the addition of in-house restrooms,  no longer did one have to exit to the lobby to address the facility.  The pianist concluding the club expansion was a sign of the time and with the advent of quality entertainment at the recently constructed facilities on Meridian Ave and with the access to the I-40 Crosstown Expressway it assured a larger provisional  local audience.  The Coves expansion provided for a much larger bandstand  in the southwest corner away from the proximity of the entrance and to customer sitting at the tables near the  bar.   The platform resembled a stage rather than a bandstand, more than adequate for a four piece band and vocalist Debbie (Swisher) Ferguson.  It wasn’t unusual during the  summer months for the weekend club attendance to drop off with locals finding other activities, the Ramada Inn having found a remedy by booking national name entertainment  Cove owner Herb Carpenter after returning from Vegas having a project in mind.  Herbie having watched a casino  act with a hypnotist who hypnotize volunteers from the audience having them perform humorous antics to the delight of the onlookers during his two 45 minute shows.

Radio Shack strobe light

Gary receiving a call at home asking him to meet with Bob Valenti the hypnotist who was open his act at the club that night.  Gary arriving finding  his stage setting would require the placement of ten arm-less straight back  chairs on the bandstand,  a microphone with an extended long cord.  Satisfied, the hypnotist initiated a special request, inquiring if the pianist could procure him a strobe light,  its use  would enable him to enhance the expediency of  hypnotizing  his subjects.   Gary having no idea where to purchase a strobe light but the Radio Shack came to mind and behold they had one.

The band playing their first set,  breaking,  the stage made ready, the act began with a request for audience participation, the volunteers to be seated on stage.   The Great Valenti as his poster read,  his first show beginning at 10:00 each night but discovering a lack of participation from those in audience, a difficulty in securing ten volunteers to seat themselves on the improvise stage,  Gary concluding,  their response or lack of it to the first show was probably due to the consumption of the number of drinks or lack of them.  To accomplish a full complement of audience participation,  Gary would prod some of the club regulars and himself volunteering to access the subjection on stage.  The Hypnotist was very capacious in his ability, the Inn dining room requesting him to lower the volume of his microphone when inducing his inaugural hypnotic suggestions as on one occasion a waitress’ in the adjoining restaurant could hear his commands, subject to his hypnotic voice,  finding themselves going into a deep sleep.  With great success he would proceed to induce hypnosis on the inductees,  having them perform antics of   ‘feet on fire, or an inability to move and other habitation of mental and physical dexterity.

Subjects seated for an entertaining Hyptonsis demonstration

Subjects seated for an entertaining hypnosis demonstration

 It was at the start of a 12:15  show, Gary having finished setting-up the chairs and microphone deciding to visit with a couple at their table, the three vigilant to the Great Valenti’s performance.   Having been a subject more than once on stage, Gary was unaware that subconsciously, Bobs suggestive voice had been indelibly ensconced  him.  Bob’s reigning voice commands  for those on stage to enter into a relaxed hypnotic state, inadvertently was a conduit to the pianist seated with the couple and soon  joining those on stage in a relaxing hypnotic state.  An awakening from the experience, Gary sensing a numbness from his elbow to the tips of his finger and was unable to move his fingers,  lift or straighten the wrist of his right hand.  His first reaction was one expectation that the numbness would reside and the feeling of normalcy would return, but the affliction continued.  The pianist beginning to realize the seriousness of what had happened,  a brief conference with Bob finding the hypnotist having no explanation.  The band deciding to call it a night, Gary again questioning the hypnotist if this had ever happened, the answer was no,   but asking Gary to accompany him,  the possibility of  another hypnotic session might reconcile the physical  situation, Gary following Bob to his room, but the attempt was to no avail.

EMG - Electromyography Test

EMG – Electromyography Test

Returning home, his right extremity still without feeling or mobility, not able to move his finger or lift his hand, hoping the morning would acknowledge a return to normalcy.   The affliction and Gary’s  concern continued, the musician addressing  his family physician Dr. McDaniel that morning about the adversity,  relating  the unusual circumstances of events, the doctor without a definitive conclusion but referring the pianist to a neurologist.  Gary awaiting his neurologist appointment deciding out of curiosity to visit a chiropractor, desiring a non medical doctor’s opinion.  The chiropractor submitting Gary to electro stimuli treatment to verifying the muscles were intact,  the generated wave of electricity able to move fingers and  rise the wrist,  the chiropractor was  in concurrence with his family practitioner,  an examination by a neurosurgeon was advanced.   Gary again the subject of test by a specialist, this time a NCS and an EMG, basically a Nerve Conductive  and a electromyography.  The neurologist inserting a test lead fastened to a needle probe to the areas of the  right forearm and a receptor probe further down,  the nerve conductive and electromyography test a somewhat painful procedure.  The NCS and EMG test would  determine the  detrimental damage to the nerves that processed the muscles of the fingers, hand and wrist.   The test completed, the pianist having three questions, the first was simple why couldn’t he lift his wrist or move his fingers, the doctor answer was brief, “you damaged the radial nerve that controls the wrist and fingers”.  His second being the cause of the damage, the Doctor providing  an explanation.   The relaxation of the muscles under hypnosis is paramount,  a forearm resting on the arm of the chair is dead weight,  the muscle and tissue surrounding the radial nerve under these conditions would be totally relaxed and non supportive,  the pressure of the arm weight, the sharpness of  the arm of the chair could cause  damage the radial nerve that controls the extremity.  The third question was the important one,  what was the amount of time to heal and regain the use of his hand.   The Doctors was hesitant in answering,  “not having thoroughly examined the graphs, but as for a prognosis of regaining it use,   weeks , months, years, maybe never”.

The suddenness of the occurrence,  the realization  finally setting in, his ambition and livelihood coming to an abrupt halt,  but still not willing  to accept a disability of circumstance.  Herb Carpenter, the club owner offering to help,  relating that the club has insurance if Gary wished  to file a claim.  Gary declining Herbs offer accepting responsibility for his actions,  mentioning it was the result of sitting in the wrong type of chair, acknowledging why Valenti used armless straight back chairs.  Gary recognized the  loss of a wrist and hand appendage is an abhorrent province to acknowledge, an acceptable moria,  but not a final consummation.

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