"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
My step-father, Mike, was a big man. He stood six five and weighed two hundred and sixty five pounds Earlier in this series of memoir posts, I mentioned the sexual bullshit when I was a teenager and I have not yet told the half of it.
Anyway there I was at 41 back in my mother’s house. Once I was able to let my guard down, all the pent up exhaustion from fifteen years of ugliness came home to roost. I fell apart once it was safe to do so, and took an assessment.
My blood pressure had been out of control for years. When I would mention how I could hear my heart beat in my temples and my head felt full, H would say that i did not have high blood pressure because I did not deserve to. If anyone deserved to have high blood pressure it was him for having to deal with me. My leg had worsened because of both the accident and all the exertion it should not have been pressed into.
When I went to the doctor, they wanted to hospitalize me because I was sitting at such a high level of blood pressure that they thought a stroke was imminent. I argued with them. I had Sovay to consider and did not want to be separated from her for even a day.
I got medicaid and welfare while I was trying to pull myself back together and began seeing a psychologist in an effort to stop the crazy anxiety symptoms that included hyper vigilance.
We lived with Mickey and Mike for a year before I got my health together enough to get my own place.
However, two things happened that forced me to move before I was completely ready.
Mike had always had anger issues. Man Mountain with a bad temper. Sovay was a vegetarian from age seven. I always found ways around it.
One night, Mike decided to force Sovay to eat meat. He lunged across the table at her when she steadfastly refused, grabbed her by the collar and beat her against a wall.
I tried to stop him and got knocked aside. In the end, all I could do was watch him beat my child.
He was just too big for me to handle. Too big. Too powerful. I had seen him many times lift a car engine.
Sovay has a fixation with germs and would get physically sick if asked to wash dishes because of her phobia. Nevertheless, Mike decided to get her over it by fist.
One night, Sovay had gone to bed, and I had been too busy to remember the dinner dishes needed washing. Mike came in from working in his garden late (he was putting in a sprinkler system) and saw the dishes. He went and began washing them, screaming about what he intended to do about my daughter. I pushed in and took them from his hands and started doing them myself.
Mike flew into an even worse rage. He grabbed me and repeated what he had done to Sovay. But this time the one on the receiving end was me. He threw me across the kitchen into a wall and pounced upon me (sound familiar? It’s what Don did to me went we were young. He learned it from Mike).
My step-father kept pounded me against the wall, screaming and raging, and my head kept thunking into the wood paneling until my ears rang and I was in no shape to fight back. Meanwhile my mother sat in her recliner, watching this and telling him to hit me again.
Within two days I had gotten enough help to move into my own place, but not before my mother tried to bash me up with a broom. While I was out scouring for help, they told Sovay that I was not coming back. That i had abandoned her.
However, Sovay was a lot stronger than they suspected and she defied them.
Fast forward a few weeks — it might have been two months — and Sovay had gone to a miniature golf course with her close friends, April and Aaron. Their mother did not own a car, so we always used mine. Dianna and I drove over to pick up our kids. As we walked out onto the my leg buckled and seized up into painful spasms so severe that it felt like it was trying to break all the sockets loose from my hip down. I could not stand. The ‘spasms’ lasted for a painful five days with only short breaks of ten to twenty minutes before the next seizure.
Six months later I started applying to colleges as I had finished my general ed requirements in Anthropology at the local junior college. I had a 3.65 grade point average. (it dropped to a 3.5 when I started to Mt. Holyoke). The painful spasms had moved up to my left arm. It was mis-diagnosed as carpel tunnel. The doctor refused to connect what was happening with my arm and hand to what was going on with my leg.
Two years later I moved to Fitchburg and had a new doctor who sent me to a neurologist. A battery of tests was ordered and a complete MRI. So far, the tumor appears to be benign. I have lived with that for five years now with regular checks on it. High doses of Gabapentin remove most of the symptoms, but I still have days when my left hand won’t work right and my leg does the crazy dance on my footstool.
In making comments on posts i usually leave the capitals off because I can’t get my little finger to hold the shift key down firmly enough. I am looking into getting a more sensitive keyboard that will take less pressure to hold it down.
With my writing, spellcheck compensates for that. I run the grammar checker and catch the missing capital letter and just a click of the mouse with my right hand fixes it.