"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it." Stephen Wright
After Dana and Ro left, I found myself having sleep issues. I believe it was a combination of what had just occurred, and what had just occurred before that...and before that.
I started to grind my teeth while I was sleeping. I would wake up with my jaw clenched in pain, and this would lead to headaches. Then one night I cracked a tooth.
Mel took me to the dentist. Not her dentist. Mel had a lot of dental work done. Some of it was necessary, lately it was mostly cosmetic. Her dentist was in a half million dollar renovated historical home. On Mel's dollar. Nope, she took me to a storefront dentist, Alpine Dental. You see I don't have insurance, but then who does? And those that do say it's crap. Isn’t it any wonder that the highest suicide rate in the medical industry is Dentists? And that's in the U.S. Can you imagine how bad it is in England? Or all of Europe for that matter? Now the Chinese...and Japanese, they have nice teeth. I know it's their diet. But some of it has to be the accessibility.
The dentist said the tooth would have to be capped, and I needed the rest done immediately or things would be more costly in the end (as if capping all my teeth would be a bargain).
After that wonderful visit, Mel suggested we go to a restaurant. Mel always looked for a good excuse to eat out. We did so at least 10 times a month. I cooked, but often she would call and say "you know what I'm in the mood for..." Let's say we were able to do this for $20 (which wasn't often since her favorite thing to eat out was prime rib). That would be $200 a month. I always thought of going to a restaurant as a treat. My family would go with my grandparents once a month to Kroks in Kenosha, it is so exciting to plan, and then the day comes and you dress up and are at you very cleanest. I just love that. But it got tedious after so much of it.
We went to Chili's. After the meal came, I broached the subject.
"So what do you think?" I was referring to the dentist.
She dropped her fork, sighed and put her hands to her head, eyes covered, "I don't know. It is gonna be a lot of money."
"How much?" I asked.
She showed me the estimate. Over $1500 when all was said and done. That was a lot, but it seems not only was he going to cap them but he had to do a lot of work on them. Mel went back to enjoying her meal, and even though I had only a couple of bites, I couldn't stomach any more.
"I can get a job..."
She gave a cynical laugh "Yeah and who's gonna hire you?"
I had never heard her so ugly about something regarding my health or my feelings. When I met her I made almost three times what she did and I worked! I worked my ass off, 60 hour weeks. I had children. Expensive children. And Mel was no cheap treat. God knows how many times I bailed her out with her truck. I was floored more than hurt. And she knew she screwed up because she softened.
"I mean, you've been out of the work force and we are so far out, to find work in your industry, with gas, and your drycleaning which was never less than $50 a month, it just doesn't seem worth it."
I told her I could get contract work. I could do that at home. I had a laptop with AutoCAD. But again, and on this she was right, I would need to get a faster computer and update the very expensive software. She'd have to share or maybe give up her office. In other words, no way.
"Then how can we even begin to afford this?" I relented. "I mean, I might as well just have him pull them all, that would save us a bundle."
I couldn't believe what came out of her mouth; "You would do that? I mean, if that's what you want..."
I said nothing and we went home. In the next couple of days we said little about it until we went to Chris and Murph's house. Chris asked if I could come stay with the kids while she went to visit her sister. Murph would be at Dartmouth having tests.
"Dianne has to go and have some work done at the dentist tomorrow" Mel explained.
"Oh, I won't need her until the weekend" Chris offered.
"I don't think she'll feel like it" Mel continued "She is having all her teeth pulled."
I dropped my fork and choked my food into a napkin. I immediately got sick as Chris gave me a hard stare and said “WHAT?”
Chris knew Mel. She knew it was Mel’s idea. But she still looked to me for answers. I had none. I was shocked. And of course, always afraid of what people would think of Mel.
I ALWAYS took Mel’s side. No matter who it was, and really even more so with some people, I defended Mel to the death. I wanted everyone to love her, I wanted her to be excepted.
On one occasion Chris and Mel had a huge fight, because Mel took too much time off. And she did. I had no idea why she got away with it. It was a government job. But folks, MEL TOOK A LOT OF TIME OFF. Sometimes she would just wake up and say I'm not going in today. And every night it was:
"Di, I thin I have a fever, feel me, I'm sure I have a fever." She never did.
And when she was at work she whined and complained about Chris incessantly. As well as the messy doctors and the recovery room nurses.
Mel was an Anesthesia Tech. A glorified maid. Her job was to make certain the carts were packed with all the items the doctors and nurses needed. Chris was a Surgical Nurse. She worked hard to get her degrees and her job required a lot of her intense attention. She didn’t have time for the small stuff.
And I always told Mel, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’ll kill you and you get paid the same thing whether you load the carts with ten less or ten more things.”
But it was always “out of principle” that she didn’t want to do things and with Chris, it had to do with a few extra items on the cart. Chris needed/wanted them; Mel felt she should not feel so high and mighty that she needed special things doctors didn’t ask for. She said Chris was taking advantage of their friendship and in a way, maybe she was. Now isn’t it the nurse who handles most of the surgical equipment? But don't friends do extra for you than they would do for others? And after all, you would think because Mel was her friend, Mel would love to do special things for her. But no. Every. Frickin’. Night. She came home and it was Chris is this and that and blah blah blah. It was so very tiring. Sometimes she would even cry that Chris was tormenting her on purpose.
So the situation with my teeth, as upset as I was, I didn’t want Chris to know. I truly wanted her to care about Mel as much as I did and after all, nothing was going to happen until I say it happens….
Mel had decided and reluctantly I agreed, my teeth would be pulled. But in the back of my mind I had every intention of changing my mind e got to the dentist and she stood by my chair as they were prepping me. I was so scared, I wanted her to leave so I could tell the dentist my decision. And finally, as the nurse was putting on the gas, Mel was shooed out of the room. I lifted up the mask and waved the nurse over, who immediately put the mask back. I guess they frown on nitrous free streaming in the air like that. But I pulled it off again...
“What “ The nurse whispered.
“I changed my mind, I only want the tooth capped, and we will do the rest at a later date.” I hissed, and immediately put back on the mask lest I lose one breath of that delicious air.
The nurse took my chart, wrote something in it and left. And I was asleep in that perfect fog. When I came to, guess what?
My teeth were gone. My perfectly healthy, maybe a little cracked, teeth were gone. Mel said she loved me so much I shouldn’t care. All I thought was you betcha, now you’re stuck with me.
Yes, they were all gone.
Mel had my power of attorney – which she carried in her briefcase all the time. Apparently someone thought I was speaking delusional, and ignored what I had to say. Now how does one ignore that?
Convalescence sucked. I bled like a pig and hated Mel for the first time…ever. But it was done and I did agree to it in the beginning…and in front of witnesses. So I turned my thoughts to the time at hand and used my strength to heal. It was a difficult time, only fixin’ to get worse.
Things started to settle down until we heard again from Dana. She had indeed visited with Bootsie and we she had troubling news.
Bootsie was a robust individual. She was maybe 5’3” and about 200 pounds. But it looked good on her. She had the same Matt Damon butch cut donned by many lesbians. You can then imagine Dana’s shock when she saw her. Bootsie was less than 100 pounds and her hair had grown back from chemo therapy quite curly. Dana and I talked about the fact that in our lives we had never seen Bootsie cry, but Dana said she broke down quite seriously. But only once.
I was completely lost with this news. I felt so many things, guilt being the prevalent one. I never spoke to Bootsie again. Why?
I made a commitment to Mel and I was determined to honor that. A couple of times over the last 6 years I had gone to Houston to visit Jerry take care of his computers and go to my doctors. One evening I was at Ovations for one of Jerry’s shows and she showed up. She looked so good, it was difficult to hold myself back. She wanted to leave the venue and spend time alone, so we went to Jerry’s house to talk. Bootsie wanted more and I half thought if I did anything I am certain she would have some recording device ready to disarm my relationship with Mel. And I was committed to Mel, remember?
Bootsie had been in remission and had several irons in the fire. She was starting a dog walking business as well as a Doggie Bakery, which actually came to fruition. She was so full of life and looked so good!!!! And she always looked at me as if I were the most beautiful interesting person in the room…on this earth for that matter.
Dana’s phone call sent me to bed in a drugged fog.
I admit, I liked the drugs Mel had me on and if I could get more, I did.
I had gotten so bad that when I was at my mother’s I would scrub the cabinets looking for more.
I was drug free when I met her, and in the beginning the narcotics made me sick and I didn’t want them. We all know what happens in these cases and I was not any different. I used them as a warm blanket when the frigid air of reality was too much to take. The worst problem was they did not make me sleepy or drugged. In fact, they made me hyper. People thought I was on amphetamines. I would pray every night “Dear God, please make something happen so I am no longer on this shit.”
I was no longer painting, or writing. I would just watch TV until I was assigned a new task by Mel of taxi-ing the lady down the street or tending to Chris’s household. I did as I was expected at home cooking meals, cleaning house, washing clothes. But my artistic life was all but gone. I tried by buying various arts and crafts to see what if anything I could do. But those things came in the house and then went in a drawer.
I wasn’t depressed. I really wasn’t anything.
And then on August 13, 2007 Dana called;
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 ©