Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sickened #1

1) Sickened: The true story of a lost childhood by Julie Gregory. Munchausen By Proxy (MBP) may be the most complex and deadly from of maltreatment known today. It's the physical and/or emotional illness by a caretaker of a dependent person. The most common case is the perpetrator is the mother and the victim is her child. This is a type of abuse not visible to the human eye. It is not a form of beating, but the caretakers making the children sick in hidden ways. Then they may go to the doctor and who do the doctors listen to? The mother or the child? In most cases they will listen to the mother who knows the child's "sickness". They will make the doctors believe the child is sick and the doctor will proscribe the child medicine not needed. In the end, the medicine makes the child even more sick. Most people do not survive this for of abuse. Julie Gregory is lucky to be alive.
The part she hated most was when they had to shave her chest. She couldn't imagine why they needed to shave a 12 year old girl's chest repetitiously, I mean how much hair could be there? But they had to so they could stick the little white pads on her chest around her heart to record her beats. When she was in the hospital she'd study the white ceiling tiles, imagine she was hovering above her families trailer, away from the hospital and just floating in pure, white peace. She was made to believe she was this sick little girl. Her mother would starve her and tell her how sick she really was. Her mom would get mad at her and ask why she couldn't act sick while they were at the hospital. Julie's mom would tell the doctors she felt they should just resort to open-heart surgery. Her mother would get so upset with the doctors if they couldn't find what was wrong with her daughter. She would say,"Look, dammit, this kid is sick, all right? Just look at her. And so help me God, if she dies on me because you can't find anything wrong with her, I'll sue you for every cent you got." So as you can imagine, that made the doctors do everything possible to find this "sickness" and in reality just make Julie worse.
Julie's mother, Sandy Sue Smith, was married at the age of ninteen to a man in his forties named Smokey. He had a carnival on the edge of the town in Ohio. Smokey taught Julie's mother how to ride and do tricks on the backs of horses. He also would use her mother for the knife act. Smokey became sick and died leaving this young poor wife behind. But her mother soon found her next husband Dan. Her father would always call her Sissy instead of Julie. Dan had been in a psych ward. He has the papers and everything to show he was, but then there's her mother who had nothing to prove she's crazy. When in reality, her mother is actually the crazier person-only without the paperwork to back it up.
(Flash back) Julie's first memory of medical mayhem started when they moved to Arizona to be closer to Grandma Madge, her mother's mom. She was three then, with long hair the color of banana taffy. She loved her life then; rollerblades strapped to her shoes and a pillow belted to her butt, frying eggs on the sidewalk in the Phoenix heat, learning cuss words in Spanish from the Mexican boy next door, and visiting Grandma, who lived just up the street. Grandma Madge was a born-again Christian. She was a devout basement Sunday school teacher. She would wear a fishing cap with a smiley face on it to match her cheerful self. She would take her fishing for sunfish. Grandma Madge was not a terribly good driver. A head-on here, a rear-ending there, always at a slow speed with old people like herself. Obviously, she lost her liscens and couldn't take Julie out as much. But Grandma Madge would come over and babysit Julie when her mom and dad would go out on dates. They would play games and have a good time. But then Grandma Madge would say that Julie looked like she was burning up and would ask to feel her head for her temp. When her mother would get home her grandma would say how sick she thought Julie was and they'd bring her to a hospital right away. Julie's parents then felt Grandma Madge was a battleac. So they moved back to Ohio.
Julie's mom would tell her not to smile when the doctor came in, because who would believe how "sick" she really was if she's smiling? Julie just followed whatever her mother told her. If her mother told her she had a headache, she'd make Julie put a white pill under her tounge. But Julie knew the headaches got worse when she took the pills. And when her mom would say she doesn't have a headache, she'd let her ride her bike down the street. Everytime she was alone on the street she'd sing, "I can't smile without you, can't laugh without you. If you only knew what I'm going through..." Julie's mom then decided to have her long beautiful blonde hair cut really short under her ears and dye it brown. Julie looked like a boy, and her mother just laughed. She looked ugly. Her mom was doing even more stuff to her than normal and was growing even angrier with her. Her father explained to her that mommy was just upset right now because a baby was growing in her stomach. So her father would say, "Come on Sissy, lets get out of your mom's hair." People on the streets were laughing at her one day when she was with her dad and her father said, "Don't worry honey stick with me and I'll protect you. I love you Sissy." And Julie would respond, "I love you, too, Dad." But this man would, in a way, just hurt this young girl even more mentally.

2)"Life is not a problem to be solved but a work to be made, and that work my well utilize much raw material we would prefer to do without." This was written by Philip Yancey. She used it in her book to represent her life. I feel it does that and more. This book makes me pretty sad and keeps my attention unlike most other books. When I think of the song she would sing while riding her bike it makes me wonder if she was singing because it reminded her of her life or if she was singing it to someone. And if she was singing it to someone, who? God? The part that hurts me the most is the fact that it's the hardest kind of abuse for people to figure out. I know someone that has been abused so maybe that's another reason this story gets me so much. Read this story makes me want to find a way to stop these crazy, sick people like Julie Gregory's mother. And it makes me pray that if someone else is going through this, they would tell someone so that they could get help and stop this from ever going to the extent of what Julie's going through.

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