Michael Joseph - My Journey Into Insanity Continues
He paid for his night out with a copy of True Romance and a Snicker’s. Propped in bed with three pillows, she devoured both trying to ignore the gnawing pains in her back.
Saying this sixteen year-old was naive, was a large understatement. Married across the state line only because her Mother lied about her age, Lynn was more than encouraged to hit the highway and that’s exactly what she and Mike had done. Four states away and now in a two room apartment she was reasonably content with her life. It wasn’t something she often contemplated … whether or not she was happy or content. Life was what it was. She had ceased to rage against it very early on learning that resistance only brought more pain or, even worse, indifference.
They had lived in the car the first two months and even that wasn’t so bad. Because she was pregnant and always having to go to the bathroom Mike took the risk of a nosy cop rapping the window and warning them to move on and tried to park near a gas station. Those days when she awoke with her bladder ready to explode, she was easily able to relieve the pressure and do her morning hygiene routine. She brushed her teeth then washed her face, hair, and feet in the sink - her under arms and “private area” last. Depending on whether or not Mike had found work in the days before they would either have some day old doughnuts and milk for her, coffee for Mike, or indulge in eggs and toast in a local truck stop or café. Where ever they stopped Mike always inquired about work either for the eatery or a word that someone was looking to hire. That’s how they had come by their apartment. Mike was a hard worker who never refused a job but at a very early age a contractor had taken him under his wing and taught him how to paint. He could paint a four bedroom farmhouse quicker than most could paint an efficiency apartment. And he was good – very good. So good, that when he met up with the owner of this place and nearly half of all of the other rental property in the area the man offered up this place plus wages.
Mike was nineteen and like most young men he needed space. Lynn knew he had to have some nights out to shoot some pool and have a few beers with the guys. She didn’t really mind spending time alone and if she had something to read, all the better. Mike said they’d be getting a television any payday now and a crib and some clothes for this baby. Her sister back in her hometown was sending a package too with clothes her baby had outgrown so on this night all was well in her world … except for this lousy pain in her back.
At first she wished he’d come home and go buy some sleeping pills so she could fall asleep and escape this pain that seemed to be getting more and more intense. But long hours passed and she found her self knocking on the doors of the other apartments in the building. She had gone to the bathroom and there was blood. That couldn’t be right. She could hear a tv behind one door but no one answered even when she banged with the side of her fist. She met his car in the driveway and got in, insisting he take her to a doctor. He told her she was crazy that there were no doctors open at 2:30 in the morning! She answered with a demand to be taken to the hospital then and told him about the blood.
She was examined and put in a wheel chair which a nurse was pushing away from the area where Mike stood filing out papers. “Am I being kept overnight for observation?’ she asked the nurse. This had happened to her cousin when he fell off his bike and hit his head – there was blood all over then – tons of it. Kind eyes and a sympathetic smile informed her, “Honey, you’re going to have your baby.” Nice or not, this nurse wasn’t too bright. Even at her age and having only seen a doctor to confirm the pregnancy, she knew it took nine months to make a baby, not seven.
After delivery, she watched in awe as different nurses brought her roommate’s baby to be fed, held and cherished. Flowers and chocolates in hand, the new father arrived to hold his family. Lynn's husband came with a wheel chair and took her to the nursery to see their son. “He’s a fighter”, Mike declared, as much to assure himself as her. “They took his diaper off and he peed a stream so strong it almost hit the nurse in the eye,” he looked at her, hoping for at least a smile. Lynn’s arms ached from emptiness and watched with her face scrunched up against this cruel wall of glass that separated her from her baby. His precious tiny hand rested on the preemie oxygen mask as if to draw closer life giving air to his underdeveloped lungs.
Her roommate’s husband wanted her to take the chocolates, the nurse wanted her to get back in the wheel chair to be moved to a private room and the doctor was intent on injecting her with a sleep aid. Well, she would sleep when they brought her baby she’d told the doctor who looked at her husband in a quizzical way. Mike had just looked at the floor. Sleep came to this woman-child holding a Bible, safe in the knowledge that God would make sure everything was all right.
No words were necessary nor could they have been heard by her husband or the minister who stood at the side of her bed as she woke. The screams of one betrayed and the sound of the Bible hitting the wall were what echoed through the maternity ward.
Author’s note – This took place in June of 1967 before medical technology had reached the levels of today when many babies, much more premature than Michael Joseph, have survived and thrived. With time too, Lynn came to realize that God, had indeed, made sure everything was all right and took this child to live with Him, sparing him from sharing the journey through insanity this young woman would travel for some thirty years after and where she will one day come to know him.