A tale from a survivor:

Tuesday, June 5, 2001
Had kind of a rough time with my shrink today. He was actually at the point of asking me about termination. I wasn't quite ready for that, and asked if we could just switch to every three weeks. We agreed on this, then I ended up talking about my mom and school and a bunch of shit. I started thinking about this stuff in ways I've never thought of it.

It wasn't until I was writing in my journal about the horrors of school that I thought about the fact that my mom never stood up for me for anything. I was never allowed to get mad, and nobody in her family was either. She could get pissed at me and scream and yell, but I'd catch hell if I even seemed a little pissed off. So she did a fairly good job of training out any of my ability to express anger in any way. I never saw my mom get mad at anyone, except me.

So today I started thinking about the fact that I'm pretty pissed off at her about a lot of things. Namely, the fact that she didn't really take care of me. She didn't stand up for me with things at school, just told me it wouldn't last forever and I just needed to take it. The only way I knew how to get attention was to be sick, and she loved it when I was. I had more tests and procedures and things done to me at an early age than most people have had in their lives. I talk about it sometimes but always in kind of a peripheral way, sort of detached and joking about it.

The truth is that a lot of this shit was pretty close to torture. I mean, real honest physical torture. I was talking to David, my shrink, about school and getting beat up all the time and medical procedures, and I joked that "at least it gave me a very high tolerance for pain." He told me that was really sad, and that people aren't supposed to have high pain tolerances. Then he started talking about torture victims and how the stuff that hurts a lot at first doesn't hurt so much after a while, and that after a long period of increasing pain being inflicted, the things that hurt like hell at first are barely even felt.

This got me real sad. I've had giant tubes shoved up my ass, cameras rammed down my throat multiple times. Giant machines pointed at me and sticky stuff with wires covering my head. I've been given tests for people with bad hearts and had to wear electrodes attached to my body, connected to little walkman things for days at a time.

I've had more needles rammed in my veins drawing blood than I can even remember. Shots beyond number. I've had needles shoved deep in my wrists, probing around for arteries that are hard to find. I've had needles jabbed in the muscles of my thighs and then been told to lift my legs while the doctor moves the needle back and forth.

I spent one Thanksgiving in the hospital on such high does of corticosteroids that I was having psychotic episodes. I didn't sleep for four days, and cried constantly. The reason for me being in the hospital is because the level of steroid they were giving me was dangerously high, and they wanted me someplace where they could resuscitate me if my heart stopped. My nose bled constantly the entire time.

I was in the hospital for Christmas once when I wasn't even sick, and didn't even feel sick. They wanted me as an inpatient because the wanted to make sure I didn't have cancer. Tests all day long every day. Waiting rooms and gurneys and IVs and needles and tubes. This guy sticks shit in your eyes to dilate your pupils and then shines bright lights in them in a dark room. Then go to the next guy who strips you naked while you still can't see yet and starts examining your testicles, saying, "hmm they seem a little small."

And drugs, so many drugs and side effects and drugs to counter side effects from other drugs. At the age of 10 I could swallow 32 pills with a Dixie cup of water. That's sick. What's sicker still is I was proud of it. That was a pretty normal morning dose for me through most of my childhood and teenage years.

I once OD’d on theophyline, which is sold on the street as speed. My doctor gave me another drug that blocks the liver's ability to process theophyline. So, each dose increases the blood level in steps, until you eventually OD. They call it, "becoming toxic." I OD'd when I was in a hospital for some kind of appointment or test or needle probing thing. I started shaking and shivering and throwing up a lot in the waiting room. I was sweating like crazy and my stomach hurt like hell. I hadn't felt well earlier and hadn't eaten breakfast, so it was dry heaves after the first few times. They would have pumped my stomach, but it wouldn't have done any good since it was all in my blood. They gave me lots of charcoal pills to try to suck the stuff out of my blood faster through the intestine. I had to stay overnight for observation while I detoxed, heaving for about 12 hours. I think that most parents would have sued over this, but not my mom. For her, it was just another cool medical story she could put in her scrapbook. Plus, if she had sued, she would have had to find another doctor that would give her scripts for pain killers and muscle relaxants and tranquilizers over and over without asking questions.

If I was sad or upset my mom would give me Vallium or codiene to make me feel better.

I lost three pints of blood once because my IV backed up and it was just siphoning blood out of my body onto the floor. Three pints later a nurse noticed, took it out, and then rammed a new needle into my other arm, which was still bruised from the previous IV that collapsed my vein. This was the last time I screamed because something hurt. I was 11 at the time, and have since had much more painful tests.

Oxygen tents, masks, tubes, breathing machines, and needles, needles, needles. Sitting inside all summer because I'm too sick or drugged out of my gourd to do anything but watch TV or read. Big machines, small machines, wires and sticky stuff and noise...they all make noise and they're all very loud.


Why would someone do this? If I wasn't being carted to a doctor or hospital I was alone at home or listening to my mom on the phone. She'd come home at 7, and then talk to parents of her students until 10 or 11. I put my brother and myself to bed almost every night for a good five years. And the House. The House was a nightmare of broken things, dog hair, dog piss, dog shit, trash, dirt, mice, mouse shit, and noises. The sound of mice squeaking everywhere at night and no way to escape it except blast a fan as loud as it will go. Carpet that isn't even carpet anymore. No way to bring friends over because I'm too embarrassed. My mom guilting me because the house is a mess. My grandfather telling me at the age of 11 that the reason my mom is a mess is because of me.

Why would she do this? My dad didn't want me and my mom took me from one torture chamber to another, all while stuffing chemicals down my throat. Nobody took care of me, nobody looked out for me, and nobody seemed to care. Why wouldn't anyone take care of me? I didn't do anything wrong, I wasn't bad, I was never in trouble. I didn't ask for anything, I didn't want expensive clothes, I didn't want expensive shoes, I didn't demand anything.