Posts Tagged ‘mental illnes’

ALS – Arrival

Posted: September 5, 2015 in ALS, Lou Gherig, Support, Uncategorized
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What a great day. We sat in the yard, drank our morning drinks, fed the dogs, watched the birds at the feeders and enjoyed each other’s company. Fast forward a few hours and you will find my husband, home after a visit with his doctor. My mate and best friend of thirty-two years telling me the doctor said he thinks his has ALS.

Not a shock mind you, as this is what took his mother, and we sort of waited, and feared this day for the past twenty years. But a shock non the less. The signs were there. He choked when he drank or ate. His throat refused liquid or food from time to time. He went for tests, they told him he had too much stomach acid and that was eroding his throat. We took that diagnosis, clung to it and gave him a pill to help.

A month or so later a co-worker took him to the ER because he was slurring his words so bad they feared he was having a stroke. Cue the endless rounds of medical tests and doctor bills. He still works, he feels great. But he is no longer willing to eat in public because it is embarrassed when his throat won’t accept liquid and it rolls down his chin, or he chokes when trying to swallow solid food.

His upper arms twitch and tremble and he can’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time.

The vital man, who spoils me, pumps my gas, pays the bills, wakes me with a drink and tells me how smart I am daily is struggling. It is wrong. He is a good man who works any hours needed, covers for co-workers, drives the kids to appointments and practices and refuses to let me carry groceries is failing. I read a study once where most married couple only communicate, personally and face to face fifteen minutes a day. We shattered that study! We spend hours together with our animals, talking or just sitting together listening to music. We make plans, design new gardens, gifts for the kids or talk about politics. Now he struggles to speak clearly and I must make him repeat himself often. It sucks.

This is a man who backs me all the way. He is there for all my kids in any way possible. He loses sleep to drive them places, attends marching band events, takes our boy to air shows and funds them in any way that will secure their future. He has given the kids gifts of time, money and caring that they may never appreciate. But he did it.

Now, I am faced with losing this man, our whole family is faced with losing him. What will we do? Why are human trials for ALS treatments taking so long to pass the FDA? I am angry, scared, stressed, sad. I am all over the place emotionally. I find myself worrying about how to pay for the house. What will I do when I lose health insurance. Then I am mad at myself for worrying about finances when he can no longer work.

This is living with ALS. It is ugly, it is relentless, it strangles whole families. It forces you to think about living wills, DNR documents and property wills. All things you do NOT want to think about when dealing with a sick spouse. My soul mate it fifty-six years old. One neurologist sent him for more tests, he tossed us a small kernel of hope, saying he was looking for something else.I grabbed that kernel and held on to it like it was life itself. Deep down inside, I feel that is just that, hope. Waiting for the good doc to have time in his busy schedule to tell us results. God forbid he tells us ASAP or via telephone. We have to wait two weeks. Do they know what this wait does to families?

I am just writing this all down as a way to cope with it, get it out. How do you prepare for the possibility of living without your soul mate for thirty or more years?

 

 

 

The stress gripping her heart pulsated and swelled, leaving her lips numb, her vision blurred and her hands shaking. One more problem could very well explode her brain. She remembered her grandpa’s saying, “some days you are the dog, and others, you are the fire hydrant,” but he never told her what to do when you were being pissed on for an entire month!

What else could go wrong? Her computer died, her truck had no brakes, her stereo speakers quit working, her kid needed sixty dollars for a school fee, the electric company threatened to turn off the power if they didn’t get money, her doctor left the country, leaving her without medication and her car insurance  had been canceled. Hell, even her can opener had fallen apart. On top of that she was slated to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her family.Not a problem unless your oven stopped working and you can’t afford to fix it!

There was nowhere left to turn. Money wasn’t going to fall in her lap. She couldn’t fix appliances or vehicles with magic. Her kids couldn’t get what they needed as long as she was running the show. She was deep in thought, on various ways to check out and end it when the phone rang. The schools message stiffened her spine and forced her out the door. The school had been evacuated, there was an active threat in the building. Insurance be damned, she drove to the school and paced around the building, mingling with tear-stained parents hoping for a glimpse of their child. Hours passed as she  held her stomach and made small talk.

When her kids finally walked out of the building, she realized that all she needed was them, and they her. They rest would take care of itself.

 

Crawling into bed, she pulled the covers tight and gazed out at the full moon that hung in the sky like a piece of frozen blue ice. The trees lining the walk were bare, but their icy branches sparkled and danced in the light as if they had been draped in diamonds. Tucking the blankets under her feet she poured a glass of wine, opened her book and sighed in comfort as the wind gently rattled the windows. She was in the middle of chapter four when the noise came. Soft at first, than loud and insistent. From a gentle knock on the door to a ruckus that threatened to tear door from frame! Then a moment of silence before it began again.

Rolling to her side she opened her night stand, secured her gun and sprung to her feet. She shivered from the cold, hesitating at the bedroom door as she struggled over the urge to hide or confront, especially after last time.  Her mind returned to the past, the knocks, the screams, the gun going off in her hand. She had felt she was in danger, surely anyone could see that. Anyone finding someone yelling and beating in their door at one o’clock in the morning would feel threatened. She had opened the door, he made a move into the hall, his face shrouded by a hood and her hand reacted, the gun went off. The police came, the coroner removed the body, reporters plastered grainy pictures of her terrified face.

She was acquitted, how was she to know he hadn’t come to harm her? How was she to know he was a seventeen year old boy who’s car would die, leaving him on the streets and late for curfew? How was she to know a gang of thugs had chased him for his new shoes? How was she to know he saw her outside light and ran to her for help?

How was she to know he would return night after night to haunt her? How was she to know she would never find peace or redemption from her prejudice? Opening the door, she descended the stairs to face the hell she was to endure for eternity.

Flickering orange light and the roar of a train pulled her from her slumber. Sitting up, she gaped at the eerie glow dancing over her walls and sprung to her feet. She stared, watching in horror as flames engulfed the neighbor’s house. Flames crept through windows to crawl up the siding as Tim’s terrified face appeared in an upstairs window.

Grabbing the phone, she pushed 9 and 1, her fingers freezing before pressing the second 1. Her stomach turned as she remembered stumbling upon young Tim in the woods, years earlier. He hadn’t heard her approach and she hid behind a tree meaning to scare him. Instead, she watched in horror as he doused a puppy with lighter fluid and set him ablaze. The next summer he cornered her in the park, asking if she had “ever seen a match burn twice.” He ignited a match, blew it out held the hot tip on her arm. He did it twice more before she wiggled free and ran home. Her parents passed it off as kids being kids and warned her not to play with him again.

Over the years she had seen him hurt school mates and pets. His parents offered explanations for the untimely deaths of his pets and life went on. In the spring of 1998 his prom date ended up in the hospital. She claimed she was beaten, raped and left for dead on the tennis court. When questioned, by the police, Tim passed with flying colors. His date either didn’t remember, or was too afraid to name him. She moved away after graduation and never returned. He went out late at night, she had seen him, always dressed in black. The next day he could be found in his drive, detailing his car.

As she watched the house burn, her mind returned to 2001. It was a warm spring night when she saw Tim and a date arrive at his house. When  the girl hesitated he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into the garage, where her screaming stopped. She called 911, but a quick search of the house didn’t turn up a girl or anything else out-of-place. The police treated her like a nosy neighbor. She realized Tim had abandoned humanity, feelings. love, right and wrong years ago.

He was an animal, a predator who found joy in inflicting pain. How many died? How many more would die?  Turning her back to the flames, she returned the phone to the charger, letting the flames make the final judgement.

Picture it & write it is a fun, flash fiction group that meets weekly. Read the stories or submit your own HERE.

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2021 in the U.S.A. wasn’t pleasant. Special interest groups and big money had legislated the country into an unbearable stew pot of chaos.

Slang words, racially descriptive words, such as Caucasian or Latino were illegal. It was also illegal to possess soda, beer or liquor. A strict dress code was enforced and anyone caught frying food was jailed and subjected to rigorous dietary training. Persons caught smoking or using narcotics were put to death in public displays designed to set an example. Anyone caught in a relationship with a same-sex partner was castrated or mutilated in some way and sent to live in a desolate penal camp.

“Normal” couples wishing to have children underwent rigorous testing. Those  found lacking were denied. If they committed a crime, had arthritis, asthma or were otherwise deemed unsuitable, they were denied. If they couldn’t  maintain state health insurance they were denied. Abortion was illegal unless ordered by the state. If you were pregnant and didn’t pass state mandates, your pregnancy was terminated. Any child born with undetected illness was put down.

The obese were locked away until they reached normal levels. Once released they were re-checked,  if they regained weight they were terminated. Senior citizens were put down at the first sign of illness.

A new revolution formed, no muskets,  just the same desire for freedom. The first to fall were the insurance carriers who guided laws in the name of public health, while making millions. Next came the corrupt government. The movement could succeed, or they could die, but they had to try.

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For almost ten years, I have come face to face with the image of Gina DeJesus, her face, and that of Amanda Berry peered at me in grocery stores, post offices, drug stores and on telephone poles. My heart broke over her families pain. I never foresaw the Michelle Knight aspect, she was written off as an adult who ran away to start a new life.

I teared up watching interviews with the mothers, holding out hope that their daughters were alive,  fearing they would experience an awful truth down the road. We invested in these girls, their names, and faces were indelibly etched in our minds. Each lead held us on the edge of our seat, years later, hoping for an answer, or at the worst, some closure for the families. One of the mothers died before ever learning her daughter’s fate, with  a broken heart, we mourned as a community.

Shock, disbelief, joy,  horror and more joy filled our minds today when the three girls, now women, were found alive in a house, mere miles from their childhood homes. Thanks to Amanda’s phone call and the bravery of  at least two men and caring neighbors with a phone, the girls were freed.

We don’t know why they didn’t reach out sooner, or maybe we do. They were beat down, brainwashed and fearing for not only their own life, but that of their family, and a six year old child. But this embodiment of evil, this man named Ariel didn’t win! Amanda took action, others responded with help and they are all safe tonight. Facing a long road of healing and reintegration into society.

I will no longer see Gina and Amanda in my grocery store, for they are where they belong, in the arms of their family. My heart goes out to Michele who was an unknown, watching tv and wondering if anyone would look for her again. A lesson learned here, a run away may not always be a run away. All three girls need to be shielded. They need to stay off the TV, out of the papers and out of view of public eyes. Their despair, terror, pain and details of the ordeal belongs to them. They will only grow past it with time, understanding and support.

They don’t owe us an interview, a tv blurb, photos or a quote in the newspaper. Details are nice, we all want answers, a way to make a change, but not at the expense of victims, or in this case, brave survivors. They don’t owe us anything, we owe them privacy and a shot at a normal life.

It is up to us to convict the degenerative slime that stole their life. It is up to us to give the girls, or young women the room to learn how to live in society and bond with family. They don’t owe us a darn thing! Our reward is knowing they are safe and home. The reward is the cheers of neighbors and friends gathered to watch them return to their home. The reward is the face of their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends. We can’t return their stolen years, but we can make sure their time left is theirs, and theirs alone. They need to learn how to feel comfortable without shackles, locked doors and boarded up windows.  Life for them now is foreign and far from what they were initially taught. It will take time, patience and guidance. They need to relearn how to choose the food they eat and not just eat what was handed to them. They need to learn when to take a shower, sleep, go outside or make a call. All things taken from them. This man didn’t steal just their bodies, he stole their minds. Let’s back away and let them relearn how to live and connect with family. This is the one small thing we can do to make a difference!

 

 

The first snow of winter had fallen, transforming the landscape into a blank canvas that reflected light in exciting new ways. Her fingers, once desperate to meet her editors deadline, lazed on the keyboard as she gazed out the window.  The glistening blanket absorbed the sound as random lights danced over the hedge. It was a comforting rhythm she was unable to ignore.

Forcing herself to her feet, she stoked the wood burner and grabbed a drink before returning to her chair. Tucking her feet under her thighs, she snuggled into her blanket and stared at the blinking cursor. Suddenly, working seemed wrong. A sense of peace washed over her soul as she turned off the computer and opened a book. Wake up calls came in many forms and if you were smart enough to recognize them, you were a lucky person.