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That Was What Hurt Me the Most Page 9

Updated on January 11, 2019

Page 9

My mother had began dating Larry when I was well into my pregnancy. He seemed fun, nice and very eager to please. He had three children from his first marriage who wanted absolutely nothing to do with us. Larry had no problem with tossing them aside to become a part of our family. He tried to bring us all together a few times but his children and my mother could not get along. In the end Larry wanted to be with my mother, and nothing else mattered to him. I felt sorry for his former family, I knew what it felt like to not be wanted.
Larry proposed to my mother on the day her divorce became final. I knew she didn’t love him but after the latest news about my fathers engagement to the secretary he had been cheating with, my mother had to say yes to Larry. I knew she didn’t love him because I still lived with her and she drank, -a lot. She would come home late at night, stagger in the door with her eyes half-open, smelling of alcohol and slurring her words. She would cry dramatically and go on and on about how much she loved my father and how she desperately wanted him back. I would help her up the stairs and into her bed. She would always end up yelling at me for helping her - she didn’t need help, she wasn’t drunk, I was stupid, etc. I ignored her comments because all I wanted to do was quietly get her into bed so she could pass out and not wake the baby.
My son was a very light sleeper. When Allen was awaken he would cry, for hours. He rarely slept, he hardly ate, and he cried -a lot. I told his doctor several times that I believed he was having seizures because for no reason at all he would suddenly become startled then his eyes would roll back. The doctor assured me that he wasn’t having seizures. I was told different reasons for his behavior each time I questioned it. Finally the doctor decided that he had a hearing problem and told me that unexpected noises were the reasons he was being startled. She proved this to me by making a loud noise which scared him and made him cry. I tried to disagree with her diagnoses but she told me that I was wrong. She seemed quite annoyed that I was wasting her time with that discussion, -how could I, a seventeen year old high school drop out with a baby, question her, a highly intelligent general practitioner.
When Allen was four months old and still not holding his head up I began to seriously worry. The doctor kept telling me that he was just a little bit of a slow learner and that he would catch up. At six months old he still wasn’t holding his head up. The doctor seemed concerned but still did nothing. It seemed as if she did not want to admit that I had been right all along. When Allen was nine months old, at the very least, he should have been sitting up on his own but he still could not even hold his head up. Finally my doctor referred me to a specialist.

It was my first appointment with this particular specialist. I had seen others who all examined Allen. They always asked a lot of questions, but never gave me answers. I knew it was because I was so young, and the fact that I was extremely shy at that point in my life made it easy for them to give me short, uninformative answers which I did not question. As I was sitting quietly waiting for the new specialist to begin she was reading Allen’s file out loud to herself when I heard her say, “…the diagnoses….Cerebral Palsy…” I asked her what that meant.
She looked at me confused when she said, “What does what mean dear?”
I told her that I didn’t understand the diagnoses ’Cerebral Palsy’. I explained that I believed he was having seizures but I didn't know why.
She looked astonished, “Surely someone has told you, it was written in Allen’s file months ago!”
“I’ve never even heard that term before. What is… what is it called?” I said, feeling very embarrassed that I couldn’t remember the words.
The doctor explained that he was in fact having epileptic seizures but also there had been damage to his brain which impairs the control he has over his own body. She couldn’t tell me how this happened to him or how severe this particular case was. We sat in an awkward silence for quite a while. There I was, a ninety pound, eighteen year old, high school drop out, single mother, holding my one year old, disabled son. I looked at him and cried.
I never saw that specialist again. I was sent to a neurologist who was very unkind to me. I looked younger than my actual age, I was quiet, unsure, and very scared. I sat in the neurologist’s office, feeling even smaller than I was, as I listened to him go on for several minutes about my son’s case. He was using technical medical terms and I had absolutely no clue what he was talking about. I finally got up the nerve to speak and I told him I didn’t understand what he was saying. He smirked as he leaned back in his chair and stared at me for a few seconds before he spoke again. He then proceeded to tell me that the best thing I could do for myself was to give up my son and live a normal life. He said that my son would never walk, never speak, never even hold his head up without support. He told me that my son was ‘severely retarded’ and there was nothing I could do about it. He said that he would only ever have the functionality of a new-born and not live past seventeen years old. He said that keeping him would ruin my life and the lives of everyone who was going to have to help me. He told me to give my son away and never think about him again, and one day I would be grateful that I did. I left that doctor’s office and never went back.
I told my mother, word for word, what that doctor had said to me. I didn’t think I would get the whole story out before I broke down crying, -but I did, and then I cried. My mother, who had been silent throughout my entire story, got up from where she was sitting and looked down at me as she said, “Well he’s right and I’m not taking care of Allen. I don’t know how you think you’re going to do it but you can‘t stay here much longer.” Then she walked away. That was what hurt me the most.


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