"Three most romantic sounds in the world: A plane’s engine, a ship’s whistle, and a locomotive’s horn". Unknown
I had my hysterectomy and complications set in. Here it was almost Christmas and I was the last patient in the “outpatient” venue. And it looked like I was going to be there for a while.
A nurse Ms. Sullivan was the last nurse left. She held my head as I vomited. She argued with Dr. Birken, but he insisted.
She finally told him “It’s over, this woman is getting shots of Demerol until she stabilizes because I will be damned if she and I are spending Christmas here.
And that was that. Within 4 hours of this fateful decision I was feeling better and it was Christmas Eve. Ms. Sullivan had stayed by herself with me until early Christmas Eve. I then returned home. I am so blessed by my friends. John Wright, who I first met at the Renaissance Fair, and then later, I trained him in AutoCAD, helping him with resume’s mailing out 300 letters for him. He went from being a substitute teacher that he was miserable with to being a structural designer. His confidence was raised, he met a man from Australia and was forever on a new and successful plateau. He was always grateful to me for this opportunity.
When I returned that evening from the hospital, he was there.
He doted on me, dressing me, helping me bath. Only a gay man can do that for a gay woman.
After he left, Cindy Harrelson,(Woody Harrelson cousin) came to stay with me for the night.
This woman is an amazing friend. It was the holidays, her schedule was filled and then some. Cindy is a singing artist. Her forte’ is Barbara Streisand. I know, most Barb impersonators are mediocre at best. This woman was so amazing, people actually thought she was Barbara. She even traveled to Berlin for a tour for many months. People in Germany would faint when they met her!
Yet she came over and spent the night with me while Willie worked.
We stayed up talking…and that woman can talk…until 3 am. We finally fell asleep only to be awoken the next morning by Devon and Brooke on either side of the bed
“Does Willie know about this?” They both looked very stern…and a bit upset.
Of course Cindy found it hilarious. She is a man loving straight woman. But she was a little flattered. And so was I! I mean, Barbara Streisand in bed with me? Well Close…and even without makeup, she looked like Ms. Streisand. And had the body to go with it. I often wonder, if I had tried anything…. hmmmm
But these are the kind of friend’s I have.
I tried to return to work a week later. It was difficult, but it happened. Of course Willie, when she had her operation took advantage of all 4 to 6 weeks the doctor was determined she would need.
Not me, I needed the money and besides what the hell was I gonna do for 4 weeks?
Willie was back at home for another couple of months because she could not stay on her feet. It was a given she was going to lose the job at the dentist’s office and it was all the better. She broke her leg almost as soon as she got the job. The job was in the private sector and Willie finally realized what I was against working directly for the person that pays you instead of an organization of thousands where there is a full board of people you would never even meet unless you were a rich donor.
OK a couple of months is an understatement. It was a year and a half of supporting a teenager, her friends and of course Willie, who is not cheap. Not only financially, but physically. Willie likes attention and I was more than happy to provide it, but at times it was quite cumbersome. I had to work especially long hours and then I had to bring my work home.
I did all the shopping, cleaning, chauffeuring and I had to be pretty while doing it because Willie requires nothing less. But I never minded. I should have, but I didn’t. I just loved her that much. And as for the children, that love comes blindly. But I needed a BREAK…desperately.
So we went to Kenosha. Like that was a break. We took a train.
Because of Willie’s incapacity it still had bunk beds, but we had our own lavatory, and it was quite romantic. Willie even wanted to make love…which is quite interesting with a cast and the fact SHE didn’t want me to do anything but lie there and enjoy it. Which I did. Over and Over. It’s amazing, she couldn’t work, or wasn’t allowed to work, but she still had that in her, thank goodness.
I would recommend a train to anyone out there wanting to travel and that has a few extra days to do so.
We left Houston and railed to Wisconsin. It was late fall, so the trees slowly changed as we traveled. It was like watching four seasons in three days. We actually ate in the restaurant car, which is a task since the corridors are no larger than two feet wide, and you have to climb spiral stairs. But when Willie wants something, she can maneuver anything.
The food was quite good. But the history of the waiter was the real treat. He had been a waiter on Amtrak all his life and he must have been 70 old. He of course was now the HEAD waiter and he ran a meticulous faire. The tables were set formally with all the silverware in place including desert and spoon at the head. He had the dapper linen cloth folded over his arm. He was a black man so his story was especially intriguing.
When he started with the train he was a boy. Around 13 years of age. He did everything and anything he was told. He did it quietly and politely. I cannot imagine a child dreaming of being a waiter on a train for a living, but if one did, this was him. Of course he washed dishes. He said he washed so many dishes he stopped counting at 10,000! And he only broke ONE. He said he was scared out of his wits when that happened, but all that came of it was they took a dollar out of his wages. Doesn’t seem like much, but when you only make $5 a month, it’s a lot.
He told of the many politicians, performers, even the Ballet Russes, folks that could speak very little English with mothers who made unrealistic demands for their children. He said it was confusing to feed the mothers so opulently when the children were only allowed mere scraps (to keep their physiques). One mother told him that she was entitled to seconds since her child ate very little. And this was during the depression.
He so enjoyed the performers, youngsters barely high school age, but always happy and grateful. Many he knew by name because he saw them through the many tours they performed. He told of those who were generous and some who were cheap and vile. He saw the very sick being transported to better medicine. But his favorites were the newlyweds – he missed them the most.
He worried when air travel became popular, but in his heart he knew, trains would always be necessary, and not just for transport of goods, but like himself, many people are fearful of planes. And he knew the romance.
I spent a lot of time in the last car which had a panoramic view. I was crocheting at the time, and I made friends with a gay man who was doing the same. The gentleman showed me some techniques I still use today.
But the train had to reach its station and we finally made it to Kenosha.
My Nephews had not left this earth at that time, this was the first time Willie would be meeting my family on their turf. It was loud and rambunctious everyone hugging and trying to out talk each other. Quite an assault on Willie’s senses.
Willie is a materialistic person, coming to the family home was an eye opener for her. She knew somewhat of where I came, but she had no idea of the actuality of it all. And she settled in quite nicely.
And my mother actually put us in a room TOGETHER. I was certain she would banish Willie to the apartment in the basement, but no, she accepted us as we were. As much as I treasured that moment, I would eventually come to dread it. Birds of a feather – and all that.
The problem with Willie finally resolved, after eighteen months emptying the pee pan, waiting on her hand and foot, working the hours to make up for her not getting paid, doing all the housework and toting her back and forth to various doctors.
She readied herself for the workplace. We made out resumes and letters once again, but this time she had her sights on The VA hospital and this time she realized her dream.
She was hired to work again as an Anesthesia tech. She had so many months of uncertainty, this was her blessing. But my life had taken a turn..
Mel had found me in March. of 1996. My first unconditional love. All my life I searched for it, sadly I never found it until then.
First from my mother. I had performed some unknown unforgivable sin before I was even 4 years old. I spent my life just trying to get hers or anyone’s love in my family. She would build me up and knock me down again and again.
Move the road, lock me up in her emotionless mothering then threw away the key. My family… they all knew it. I would only hear from them when they needed something, a place to stay, money or to run interference in a family squabble where I would end up being the one on the periphery waiting for forgiveness from whomever decided I sinned against them. You would think I would finally just leave the stage.
The first time Mel and I were alone, intimate with each other, she promised me, I would never be hurt again. Love did not have to hurt. And I believed her. Why not? What did I have to lose?
Sometime in late 1997 I had started getting sick. Vomiting. I would throw up and then be fine. It was weird. I never missed work because of it, but it was concerning. Mel never seemed to think anything of it. It was almost daily. In late 1997 I had been having these daily vomiting fits for a good 8 months!
I also was having acute pain in my shoulder and neck exacerbated by my tenuous hours on the computer. These aches and pains would deliver some horrendous migraine headaches and finally Mel decided I needed to see a pain doctor.
I was not versed in the various medications used for pain so I deferred to Mel whose job it was to know these things. She took me to Doctor Monk.
Doctor Marinella Monk was a wonderful doctor, on the periphery of retirement unfortunately. She played the Harp. Do you know anyone that plays the Harp? She gave me a VHS of her playing :
I feel it important to mention that since it seems to envelope her personality.
It was convenient, really, having Mel as my proxy as doctors instantly trusted her. She was an Anesthesia Tech and worked for one of the most preeminent Heart Surgeons in the world, Dr. DeBakey. I virtually said nothing. She would tell the doctors all the technical terms as to what discs in my neck were affected. She would use medical verbiage I couldn’t begin to understand and when she was through, she was telling the doctor what to prescribe.
Doctor Monk listened to Mel, she actually really got on well with her and I started on Vicodin and Soma. Then that no longer worked well and Soma was like Quaaludes. I couldn’t work on them. I took Clonopin for restless leg syndrome. A painless nuisance of a malady. It was like shocks running through my legs and I couldn’t keep them still. I would have to sleep in the bathtub. But the Clonopin remedied all that. Soon I was on Morphine. MSIR and MsContin. 30 mgs of morphine 3 times a day and one 60 mg MsContin (morphine continuous release) plus .05 mg to .10 mg of Clonopin and Soma as needed. And I worked cranked up on all that shit.
I was also an insomniac. Mel kept getting my Clonopin raised until she was content I would pass out by 9pm.
And still I worked. Sometimes 60 to 80 hours a week. NO SHIT. I KNOW…Honest…I know exactly what you are thinking.
I was apprehensive about our trip to Kenosha since the last time I had been there was to take care of my sister. She had fallen down a flight of stairs after taking a noxious amount of drugs for her back problems. Which were real and crippling. But she took too much, fell down the stairs and broke her arm. I went there a week to help her out, but that turned into a disaster. I could not do enough for her well enough for her and by the end of the week she and my mother lauded over me screaming some tirades that to this day I have no idea what they said.
So as a result, I had taken to carrying a recording device with me any time I was around them. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it. My first intention was to just play it back to them so they could hear themselves.
But soon, when it became apparent Mel was drawn in by their charms, I had the ammunition to prove that they were stark raving nuts. Mel had been dragging me around from doctor to doctor. I had to work, and I did with both pain and narcotics.
You see, my sister and mother are really quite funny and entertaining. I would warn people. They would reply “Oh No, not me…no one can beguile me” and then “Dianne…how do they do that?”
Yes the Schuch women are quite funny, clever and endearing as are the men. One must always remember when in their company, cleverness is not wisdom. There’s an awful lot of limelight wired in that house and there are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion (Holly GoLightly) Some of us are authentic, some not. You can draw the conclusions. History changed every time I visited. I never knew what the new history was. My sister and mom will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe. I just wish people I KNOW are reading this from Kenosha would actually reply. I mean for God sakes, no one will know who you are unless you tell them. Come one, be brave!!!! There are victims.
Prior to finding yourself in their clutches you are just flattered they actually give you the time of day. Like they are the social Epileft of Kenosha and if they didn’t include you in their social soirée’s you may as well move to Racine (That should get someone’s back up…)
This trip to K-town (as we fondly call Kenosha) was going to be the first after my last gaffe. I was more than apprehensive and equipped with recorder and extra tapes. And God must have been guiding me.
A terror of all terrors occurred that to this day has no explanation.
I lost 8 hours of my life.
Beginning of Book
Yes, this is absolutely positively true. If you lived this wouldn't you write about it? Some of the names of characters in this blog are fictitious. This is an account of actual events. Some of the events have been compiled together for the flow of the story. Even when I read my own work, I wonder how it could be so. But if you study your own life and compartmentalize it into less than 200 pages, you would be surprised how interesting it really is!
TRUTH HAS WITNESSES (Dianne Lindsey) This material is the copyright Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author. All rights reserved ©