Sandy, What's Wrong?
Sandy What's Wrong?
I was happily married with a wife, Sandy, and Terri, my five-year-old daughter. I was happy until I hit a bridge coming home from a game one night. The accident changed my life. I woke up in the hospital with no feeling at all. I was paralyzed from the waist down, and I would never coach again.
Sandy and I, my name is Barry, had been sweethearts forever. She had always lived next door. Our parents were good friends. My dad was the dentist in our small town, and Sandy's father was the medical doctor. All our lives, our folks thought we would marry.
After high school, I went to college not really knowing what I wanted to do, only knowing I didn't want to do teeth like dad. After a year of college, I finally decided I wanted to teach physical education and I wanted to coach more than anything. Sandy went to a different college. She also wanted to be a teacher, but she wanted to teach German.
We were apart for the four years of college. We each dated others, so when we got married we would know it was right for us. I never once thought about marrying anyone but Sandy. We saw each other during the holidays when we were both at home. In our last year of college at Christmas time, I gave Sandy a diamond and asked her to be my wife. She said yes, and we decided to be married the following October.
Sandy got a teaching job before I did. It was in a much larger town, some three hundred miles away from our hometown. I really wasn't looking very hard for a job. I guess you would say I was spoiled and maybe a little lazy. Finally, Sandy got me an interview with a principal, and I went. I guess Sandy thought it was time I found a job if I was going to support a family. I really didn't care whether I got the job or not. Mr. Pupl was a nice guy, and we got along right off. The school needed a boy's PE teacher. This person would also do some coaching of football, for sure and maybe more; they weren't sure yet. I took the job for a year. The school wasn't giving contracts to new teachers for longer than a year.
We both had a job. Our mothers were both busy with the wedding plans. Each wanted to do the same thing. Our fathers wanted to buy us a house in the new town, but we argued that the school might not renew our contracts for the following year.
The wedding was still a week away. The house was full of relatives we hadn't seen in years, and some we didn't even know. Sandy complained to me she couldn't be alone to think. She said it seemed there was always a relative asking if she thought she was ready for marriage, or if she was sure I was right for her
Sandy, like me, was a spoiled, only child who wasn't used to sharing anything. She felt upset because she couldn't make her own wedding plans. Sandy asked cousins to be bridesmaids and maid of honor. Sandy's colors were autumn colors, rust, and orange, and she had to watch the attendants' hair color a little bit. Women sure go through a lot to get married. Sandy's dress was not white as we often think of white, it was off-white, and with her beautiful, black hair and creamy, white skin and brown eyes that looked black, she made a beautiful bride, maybe it was because I was the groom.
I, too, asked cousins to be my groomsmen. I thought I was really was the best man there. Our family wasn't the all-together family like some people have.
The family started in on Dad when he first opened his practice. They thought he should do the dental work for free. He couldn't do that, as supplies cost money
I did ask a couple of fellows that had spent the summers with me, to come. We had a lot of fun together when we were younger. I hope they moved they would come. Both were married now and lived on the farms their fathers left them when they moved into town. My groomsmen both decided on rust tuxedos. Mine was white with a ruffled shirt. Their shirts were also ruffled and all of us wore black ties.
Sandy and I decided on a two-bedroom apartment near the school. We had to buy furniture, and Sandy was really happy getting the apartment ready for us.
Two nights before the wedding, my high school friends had a stag party for me, and it was fun. Sandy's girlfriend's had a party for her too. They had everything.
I never was a big drinker and I guess I drank more than I should have. I don't remember going home that night or anything else that happened that night. I woke up in a hotel room four hundred miles from home. I didn't remember how I got there or for that matter what I was doing there. My head ached and so did my stomach, and I felt awful and there is no other way to describe it.
I had to call Mom to come to get me, and I had to try and explain what happened and what I was doing in that hotel room. Things weren't the best with Sandy either. She wouldn't believe I didn't know how or why I was in that hotel room. I talked and I talked until finally after hours I guess she decided I couldn't lie that long at a time.
The wedding was beautiful and Sandy was the most beautiful bride. I was proud of my little Sandy. We cut the cake and had our drink of champagne in front of our friends and relatives. We took off to the islands for a weekend honeymoon; we had to be back to work on Monday. We would have a real honeymoon someday.
Sandy liked her teaching job, and the kids liked her. I was a little different. The boys didn't know whether they liked me or not, and I had not had much experience with kids. I had to learn about kids and how to act around them.
Football was better. The young fellows gave me credit for knowing what I was doing. When we won our homecoming game, I was finally okay with the guys at school. It was the first homecoming game they had ever won. I had to side-step a couple of crushes from freshman girls after that. All in all, my first year was turning out better than I thought it would.
Sandy was happy with me and teaching. We made a lot of plans like all young newlyweds do. Summer would be here soon. We couldn't decide whether I should look for a summer job or not. We decided to not take the summer jobs, as this would likely be our last summer together alone. We hoped that we would be starting a family soon.
Our contracts were renewed, so we decided to buy a home. Every time Dad had been over, he was on us to buy a home.
All summer long Sandy and I played like kids. We swam, played tennis, went on picnics and generally played away the days and danced away the nights. The first of August Sandy told me she was pregnant; I really wasn't surprised. I was happy, oh so very happy. We would settle down and be a family, something we both wanted.
We bought a lovely, new, three-bedroom house in a new housing development. We both liked the house and started redecorating one room for a nursery. I papered the walls with clowns, bears and strawberry shortcakes. We painted the woodwork yellow, as we weren't sure what we wanted; one of each, one for Sandy maybe. We both had lonely childhoods so we wanted more than one child.
Sandy was doing fine. She was not gaining too much weight and getting her exercise. Our baby would be born in the last part of January or the first part of February. The principal hadn't been too upset with Sandy when she had told him. She explained that she wanted to be able to come back to work next September if it was okay.
My coaching was going exactly where I wanted. I had all the coaching except wrestling, and I didn't care about that. I always had a game to win of one kind or another. It was football in the fall, basketball in the winter and track and softball in the spring. The boys had finally excepted me whether they were in sports or not.
One morning, late in January, Sandy called to say she needed to go to the hospital. By thumbs and four feet, I got her to the hospital. Two hours later, Sandy made me the proud father of a six-pound, baby girl. I was so proud. I could hardly keep from shouting that I was a Daddy. Instead of shouting, I called my mom and dad who were equally excited about being grandparents. I called Sandy's mom and dad too. I waited awhile. Bill was often up with patients at night. I hated to bother them so early. They were like all grandparents as well.
Four days and Sandy and Terri came home. Sandy wanted to name our little girl Terri so badly, I didn't argue at all. Terri sounded pretty to me. We had so much company the weekend that they came home. Sandy was nervous, and the baby cried. I guess it was because she was handled so much. The following Sunday Terri was supposed to be baptized. My Mom wanted to get the dress. We decided to keep the peach in the family and we decided to buy it. That weekend was tough on Sandy and the baby. There were too many relatives handling her. The baby usually slept well and late. After a weekend, it usually took a week to get her back on schedule.
Terri cried all night the Sunday she was baptized. I had to work to do the next day, but I got up with Sandy. Neither of us knew what was wrong with Terri. Terri cried whether we held her or not. She wasn't hungry or wet. At six A.M., I finally called the doctor to find out what we were doing wrong. He told me to tell Sandy tp bring Terri into the office around ten.
I went to school. I had only two classes of P.E. and I told Sandy I would be home as soon as possible. I got home to find Sandy crying. I asked her where or what was the matter with Terri. She told me that Terri was in the hospital and had a bad ear infection. I tried to console Sandy. I got her settled down a little bit. I called the school and asked for the afternoon off. I needed to go to the hospital my little girl was there. I talked Sandy into taking a half-hour nap before we went to the hospital to visit Terri.
Terri was in the hospital for four days before they got the infection under control. Sandy blamed herself for Terri being sick. She said she wasn't a good mother or it wouldn't have happened. I had to talk to the doctor and get him to talk to Sandy or she would have blamed herself right to a mental hospital.
Most of the summer, Sandy was busy trying to make up to Terri. She was still sorry for Terri being in pain when she was so little. By July, Sandy felt better and Terri was growing., I was sure Terri knew her daddy. She always smiled or laughed when I came up beside her bed. Terri looked a lot like her mom, except she had auburn hair. She had light skin and big, brown eyes. She would be a real man-killer someday. I hoped that would be years and years away.
The summer went fast. I did a lot of playing with Terri. Also a lot of mowing the grass. I even spent the time talking to the neighbors. I had even been going to work that summer. Sandy hadn't wanted me too. She was still afraid of being along with Terri. I didn't press her. She still needed time, love and understanding. We ran an ad in the paper for a baby-sitter. We had several people interested in the job, but it was hard whom you could trust with your baby. Who would take good care of her?
Two weeks before school started, Sandy got down to business and found a sitter. I told her if she couldn't find a sitter, she better stay home and take care of Terri herself.
We had never had any trouble with who does what or what is man's work and ladies' work. We helped each other because we both worked. Sandy was spoiled but she always had things she had to do. I was spoiled too but Dad had taught me all woman was important and should have an equal say in what was going on.
Sandy and I were married two years this year. The folks had a dinner party for us with some of our friends. Sandy seemed a little quiet. It was the first time she had been away from Terri since birth.
School was going well for both of us. Sandy had gotten a middle-aged lady to come in and care for Terri while we were at school. When Sandy went back to teaching the principal asked her to teach either another language or English. Sandy took night classes two nights a week to refresh her English she said. She would then teach English too.
I had hoped recently that Sandy would decide to have another baby. She would give up teaching and stay home and take care of the kids. the house and me. She just didn't seem to want to talk about another baby.
The teams shaped up so we won a game now and then. We played other teams farther away. I was gone at least two nights a week to a game. Coaching took more and more of my time. Sandy and I saw less and less of each other. Some days I was able to come home and spend a little time with Terri. As Terri got older we sometimes saw Grandma and Grandpa in the afternoon before I had to be back to school for practice. Sandy didn't complain. I guess if I wasn't there she didn't have to think about sex or another baby. She didn't seem to want either lately. She even began to avoid her folks because her dad asked her when she was going to have him a grandson to carry on the doctor business.
Mom and Dad came over one Sunday to visit. They came to see Terri. We didn't go much of anyplace anymore. Sandy always had something to do. I heard Mom ask Sandy, "Sandy, don't you think it's time to have a little brother for Terri?"
Sandy answered but rather sharply. "I wish everyone would mind their own business! I will or won't have another baby, when or if I want one."
Mom was hurt. She came in and said to Dad, "Dad, let's go home."
Dad and I had heard Sandy's comment so he knew why and so did I. After they were gone, I said to Sandy, " What is the matter with you? Jumping on people who only want to know why you aren't having another baby. I would like to know about that myself."
Sandy really lost her mind. She threw herself on the floor like a spoiled child. She kicked and screamed that everyone was mean to her. Terri cried. I just couldn't calm Sandy down no matter what I said or did. If I touched her she screamed. Finally, I had to call Dr. Archer to the house. Sandy screamed herself hoarse. She threw things, anything it didn't matter what. Nothing seemed to satisfy her.
The doctor came. He looked her over as well as she would let him without screaming. He gave her a shot of something. Very soon he helped her to the couch. She laid down and was soon fast asleep. We talked then. Dr. Archer wanted to know what had started this. I told him about Mom asking about another grandchild. Then how rude Sandy had been. I told Dr. Archer how much Sandy had changed. I told him how she didn't want to be loved or touched at all anymore. I explained that she seemed happiest while I was away from home and that she hadn' wanted to talk about having another baby. I told him that we all thought it was time to start thinking about a little brother for Terri.
Dr. Archer said, "We better call an ambulance and we'll take Sandy to the Green Hills Mental Hospital for a checkup. I know I can't help her Barry and I really think she needs something. I'll call Dr. Bryan to meet us at the hospital. The ambulance came and we followed it to the hospital. When she woke up she only looked around. She didn't ask where she was or anything. She just started to scream and wouldn't stop. Dr. Bryan called a nurse and Sandy was given another hypo. She was sleeping again in a little while. He told me to go home to my little girl. He would be in touch with me in a few days.
Dr. Archer and I walked out together. He said he hadn't sensed anything wrong with Sandy while she was pregnant. He asked if there was any instability in the family on her side. He was sure Dr. Bryan would call Bill Midd, Sandy's father, to inquire about Sandy's life when she was young.
When I got home I called Mom and Dad and told them about Sandy. Then I called Sandy's parents. Bill and Sally didn't seem surprised about the outburst. They said she had some like this when she had started her menstruation. They hadn't lasted that long, so they weren't worried about them.
At first, I thought that Sandy would be gone only a week or so. After six weeks I knew Sandy wouldn't be back for quite a while. Dr. Bryan couldn't find the cause. Sandy would never talk to him.
I poured myself into my work. I was determined to do my job the best I could. I had always been halfway with everything. I wanted the best of me to come out and be seen now. The games were good and we nearly won all of them. We would be in the state finals for the first time. Terri was growing. She walked and talked and was a sweet little girl. Frances took good care of her for me.
Six months after Sandy was checked in I was allowed to see her. She made an awful fuss when she saw me. I wasn't allowed to see her again for another three months. She still had the same problems. Dr. Bryan asked me if I had ever struck Sandy for her to be so afraid of me. She wasn't talking after nine months so the doctor was having a very difficult time treating her.
Three months passed again and I was allowed to see Sandy again. She sat quietly but would not have anything to do with me. I asked her if she wanted to hear about Terri. I showed her a picture of her that her mother had taken. I told her that Terri and I missed her. Sandy hadn't allowed either her parents or mine to visit. She caressed Terri's picture and smiled. It was the first time I had seen a smile on Sandy's face in over a year. I thought to myself, she's making progress.
Dr. Bryan said things were looking good. At least Sandy would talk about Terri, her little baby. She seemed to lose the years she was in the hospital. She wanted to see her mother but not her father. Little by little, we learned that one of the medical salesman had molested her when she was around eight or nine. She never told anyone but she at times thought all men were bad.
Sandy was doing so well that Dr. Bryan had asked her if she would like to go home. Sandy answered with, "I don't want another baby," Sandy was afraid she was going to be pushed into having another baby and she didn't want that.
Finally Sandy and I had our talk at the hospital. I told her she didn't even need to have another baby is she didn't want one. All we really wanted was for her to come home and take care of us. I told Sandy I loved her and need her and so did Terri.
It was nearly spring again. and Terri was five years old when Sandy was finally able to come home. Dr. Bryan told us not to press her. Let her make up her mind is what he said. I asked Frances to stay on with us just in case. Frances agreed. Sandy didn't want the mother role right away. She had been one, sick lady emotionally after all.
I didn't ask for time off from school. I expected Sandy needed time to get get to know Terri again, She still hadn't wanted to see her dad. She saw my folks and told my mother she was very sorry she had been rude.
Sandy didn't seem to mind my not being there overnight. Sandy did get upset when Terri asked if she could go to the game with me on Friday. I let her do it a few times; she really liked the games. She couldn't understand why Mommy wouldn't let her. I took Terri aside and told her. We need to be patient with Mommy. Mommy's been sick so no more games until Mommy's better.
The state games were only one hundred miles away so I drove home every night after the games so that Sandy wouldn't have to be there alone. I first tried to talk Sandy into going to Arena Town for the games with me, "It would be a treat," I said.
Sandy protested so badly I decided to give up.
I was getting pretty tired. I had the boys out on the floor during the days for practice, and we had the games at night. They played so well we stayed until all was over, and we were the champs. It was later than usual the night I started home. I was happy with the team and the win. Two days rest and we would start on the next sport to be state champs.
I must have fallen asleep. I heard a loud crash, felt pain and then all was quiet. I was unconscious when I was found. When I woke again I was in a quiet, white room with a big, white uniform watching over me. My jaw was wired shut. I had broken both legs and one arm. I had broken my spinal cord too so I would be paralyzed for the rest of my life. I was alive but how was Sandy going to take all this. She hadn't been home very long. I was afraid this would drive her over the edge again.
I had the nurse call Dr. Bryan to tell Sandy. We were in the hospital and came right away to see me. I asked him to talk to Sandy for me and make sure she was alright. Sandy's dad came to me, he was troubled; I could tell. I felt he thought I shouldn't have done this until Sandy was well. DID HER father think seriously I would do this on purpose or that even had it planned?
My mother and father looked so old. I felt I hadn't been the kind of son they really should have had.
Dr. Bryan didn't really realize how sick Sandy's mind was. Before anyone had a chance to talk to Sandy she took Terri and the little car and tried to run away. She hadn't driven in years and had forgotten somewhat how. They didn't know how it happened The accident had killed both Sandy and Terri on the spot.