How this autistic woman grieves

So Michael and his mom and I all went to the visitation together and that was all right. There were lots of people there of course, and lots of floral arrangements.

I told the boys that I had no words for them except how sorry I was. I talked to Brendan’s wife a bit and suggested there were probably online support groups for young widows with children and maybe she should check some of those out.

The accident was not as bad as I had feared. I mean, it sounds dumb to say that because Brendan is still dead, but I had been afraid he was in bits or something and he wasn’t. Turns out the auger grabbed him by the arm and pulled so hard that his head slammed into the side of the machine and his neck snapped. He died more or less instantly. Open casket.

Then after we left, we met up with Michael’s dad, David, and we went to Pizza Hut and then everything somehow went very wrong.

David started teasing me about something or other and then the gears in my head got kind of stuck and I couldn’t think and I got very upset and couldn’t talk right and I started rocking back and forth holding onto myself, trying to keep myself from melting down, but it was already happening.

I had this urge to start knocking over plates and glasses and stand up and upend the table. I wasn’t angry, I just had to get the tension out somehow. I didn’t want to make a scene so I went to the bathroom to try to calm down and wound up making a scene in there instead. Screaming and moaning and throwing myself around the room and slamming my head into the tile wall over and over. Full-on meltdown.

I never want these things to happen. I don’t want to do those things and the whole time I was hitting my head I was crying out “stop” and “no” because it hurt and I didn’t want to do it.

After a bit, my waitress came into the bathroom — I don’t think it was to investigate the noise, I think she just had to go.

She already knew someone had died, because she had asked us earlier why were we dressed up, had we been at a party, and we explained we’d just come from a funeral visitation and she’d been like “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Our specials…”

She asked me if there was anything she could do to help and I said no and to please leave me alone, and she went out and told Michael that his wife was in the bathroom freaking out, and Jane came in and got me and said we were leaving. It was the middle of the meal. Pizza shoveled into boxes and everyone getting their coats and leaving and me feeling miserable and embarrassed and guilty for inconveniencing them and ruining what was supposed to be a nice dinner.

Everyone was very nice about it. It would have felt better if they’d been mad at me.

I still can’t really understand what happened. What happened in the bathroom feels like it happened to someone else altogether, not me.

I felt really awful over the next few days, didn’t even want to get out of bed. I hadn’t had a meltdown like that in ages and I had started to think that maybe they wouldn’t happen at all anymore.

Then suddenly it happens and I’m reminded once again that I’m broken in a way no one can fix. And I ruined Michael’s family’s dinner and scared the pizza lady and acted like a two-year-old in the bathroom and I am still really embarrassed. I feel like I can never go back to that restaurant ever again.

My head STILL hurts horribly and aspirin etc. isn’t touching it and I’m afraid to seek medical attention cause I don’t want to have to explain what happened. They might lock me up or something. It sounds really weird and scary and I’d have a bit of a time convincing everyone I’m not actually a danger to myself. The pain will stop eventually. God knows I’ve had worse headaches than this.

Ima just go and resume my normal existence, work on the website some more — I’m on the home stretch, down the last 1,000 cases, woo!

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Another ET entry, and stuff

I had another Executed Today entry posted, this time out of Botswana: Kedisaletse Tsobane, who was hanged on September 19, 2008. He had killed his ten-year-old illegitimate daughter, supposedly to get out of paying child support. But the judges aren’t sure that’s the real reason he did it, because

a) Tsobane had not paid any child support at all since the girl’s birth, and no one seemed to be pressing him particularly hard to start doing so.
b) Even if he was under pressure to start making payments, he was only obligated to pay the equivalent of $4 a month, and I calculated that his total debt was only $480. Tsobane could afford to pay this. Botswana is one of the most prosperous nations in Africa and has a per capita income of nearly $18,000 annually.

So, although Tsobane’s actions were clear enough, and he confessed, the case is still a bit of a head-scratcher.

Anyway.

I did not get picked to serve on the jury. I have not had the world’s greatest week; my bipolar disorder has been kicking my butt and I’ve been having suicidal thoughts and stuff, to the extent that the people at my psychiatric clinic thought it might be best if I went to spend some time with Dad. He can stay with me and keep me safe, he’s a calming influence, and Mom got all the sharp knives in the divorce settlement.

I saw my psychiatrist, Dr. Bruno, yesterday. He’s taken me off that medication that’s making me fat and put me on another drug that doesn’t make you fat, and which might improve my mental state as well. We’ll see.

I returned to Michael that same day. We had missed each other a lot and it was so good to see him. I have been doing some behind-the-scenes Charley Project work today. Updates will resume tomorrow.

It’s been awhile

It’s been awhile since I talked about myself on here. I know some of you don’t like it when I do, but some of you do, and the others can skip this entry if they like.

I’m up for jury duty this week. They’re selecting a jury for a criminal trial and I’m in the pool; selection starts tomorrow. This will be the first time I’ve ever been considered for jury duty. Until it’s over for me, I’m staying at my mom’s, which cuts my courthouse commute time to 20 minutes, down from like 50 minutes if I was with Michael. I’m writing this on my cell phone. While I’m at my mom’s there is of course no Orville and therefore there will be no Charley Project updates, alas.

Michael has a new job that he likes so far. He’s working long hours but making more money. We hope to be able to return to Poland, perhaps as soon as next summer, or maybe the summer after that.

I was rereading some of my old blog entries and the comments, from the time when I was raped. It’s striking to me how many if not most people would rather never speak to someone again than apologize to them.

The very first person to accuse me of making up the story of my attack was someone whom I thought of as a friend. We’d emailed each other many times and she was a regular blog commenter. Just two or three days after I blogged about the rape she wrote me to say she knew I was lying. I was extremely upset. I offered to show her a copy of the police report (weeks before I made the same offer to any interested parties on my blog). In fact I was unwilling to wait for a copy of the report to be mailed to me and paid something like $60 to take a taxi across town to pick one up on-site before I left Virginia. She refused to look at it. Then she accused me openly on my blog, telling me she respected my Charley Project work but I should be ashamed of myself for making up the story.

In the eight years since, there’s a good chance this woman has come to realize that I wasn’t lying. I think the strongest evidence in my favor is the article I found about Rollo’s arrest for raping another woman four months after me, a crime that corresponded to my own in almost every particular: he was homeless, he was black and a foreign national, met her on the bus (dunno if it was the same bus as me but it stopped at the same park-and-ride), offered to walk with her through that same patch of woods, and jumped her just like he’d jumped me. All of this was reported in the article about his arrest, months after I shared the details about my own victimization on my blog.

The only real difference between the two attacks was the choice of victim. I was a stranger. But in the October attack, he was stupid enough to go after someone he knew slightly, and so he was identified immediately and arrested. Thank goodness.

Yet my former friend — and for that matter all of my other accusers — never apologized for misjudging me and asked for forgiveness. It’s kind of sad because I had liked being friends with her. I don’t know why a person would decide it’s better to just avoid me for the rest of our lives than admit they made a mistake.

Although I think about Rollo every day still, the attack doesn’t usually affect me emotionally anymore. Sometimes it does — seeing the movie The Accused (an excellent film btw, I highly recommend it) had me sobbing and hyperventilating — but only rarely. I used to have intense violent fantasies about what I wanted to do to Rollo. Now I’m no longer even angry with him; in fact I basically don’t feel any more emotion towards him than I would towards a rapist whom I read about in the news, who had nothing to do with me. Is that forgiveness? I don’t know.

It used to be that every June, for pretty much the entire month, my head would be filled with blood-soaked thoughts, those aforementioned violent fantasies. It bothered me intensely. But those thoughts are no more. This past June 16, the eighth anniversary of the rape, I nearly forgot entirely. It wasn’t until like 8:30 p.m. that I had a sudden moment: “Hey, today’s the anniversary. I was with him right now, this very moment, eight years ago. Huh.” Then I just went back to what I was doing.

For me, that’s recovery.

In other news: the article they interviewed me for in June is still stuck in editorial limbo. Nothing to do but wait. I am sure the two reporters are just as anxious as I am for it to come out, cause I think they’re freelancers and won’t get paid till then.

I’m glad they interviewed me in June and not July. By July I had gained 15 pounds very quickly, for no. hecking. reason. The shirt I wore on the day I was filmed no longer fits; in fact half or more of my wardrobe no longer fits. I can’t figure out what happened; I’m neither eating more nor exercising less than before. Most of it is in my stomach and Michael’s dad momentarily suspected I was pregnant. (I know I am not.) I’m not fat, I’m not overweight or even close, but now I weigh more than I ever have in my life.

There’s another reason I’m glad the interview happened in June: in late July, two tiny scratches, one on my cheek and one on my chin, got infected with horrendous results. This was even after I had put Betadine on them — the very first time Betadine has failed me!

The chin scratch turned into a crater an inch across, weeping pus, and the cheek one became a rock-hard abscess the size of an egg. Like an idiot I broke open the abscess myself to try to drain it, and at first nothing came out at all, but a few hours later yellowish goop started leaking out of the hole I made and the non-abscessed part of my cheek turned bright pink and started swelling up really bad.

I called my doctor’s office and explained the situation and the receptionist was like, “She can see you August 9.” Which was like twelve or thirteen days out.

“Um, this is a really bad infection,” I said. “I can’t wait that long. I really need to see her sooner.”

“Well, do you want the August 9 appointment or not?”

“No.”

I called a dermatologist and, by some miracle, got a next-morning appointment. I think there must have been a cancellation or something. He looked at my face, winced, had the nurse take samples from both wounds with Q-tips and diagnosed a probable staph infection.

I walked away with antibiotic pills, an antibiotic gel, and advice to not mess with breaks in the skin anymore, particularly if they’re infected. Oh, and a bill for $70. My insurance doesn’t cover dermatologist visits.

Fortunately everything healed up just fine and without even any scars, but for like a week and a half I didn’t want to go out cause I looked so gross. Thank goodness for modern medicine — in another era, or in part of the world, the infection might have eaten my face away.

Speaking of my skin, I’m trying a new cream for my melasma now. It’s called Meladerm. You apply it twice a day, preferably in conjunction with an exfoliating lotion and a strong sunscreen. Meladerm is cheap ($50; many melasma treatments cost hundreds) and very highly rated. It is supposed to start making a difference within weeks, with full results within a few months.

It also comes with a money-back guarantee if you don’t see any difference within 30 days of purchase, but I can’t take advantage of that. I bought the Meladerm just before the nightmare skin infection, see, and I couldn’t start to use it till the sores had fully healed. I started the treatment I think 13 days ago. It makes my face feel a little numb right after I put it on but that’s the only side effect.

Thank goodness for modern medicine. Without those antibiotics that infection might have eaten my face away or something. Or at least left highly visible scarring.

Can’t think of much else to say here. I’m reading a book called The Day Will Pass Away: The Diary of a Gulag Prison Guard: 1935-1936. The introduction says it’s a very important historical document, as there’s basically nothing else like it that has survived. We don’t even know how this diary survived; the author, one Ivan Chistyakov, was killed while serving in the Red Army in 1941, after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, and the only info we have on his life comes from the diary itself. It was anonymously donated to a Moscow historical archive in the eighties.

Missing Person of the Week: Uma Sewpersaud

Yeah, I was going to do a Make-a-List Monday yesterday of people who disappeared on the fourth of July, but life intervened: I got more and more manic over the weekend and as a result I was awake for two and a half days in spite of lying quietly in bed most of the time. I developed an ear infection and due to the holiday weekend, no outpatient clinics were open, so I had to go to the hospital for treatment. I was bouncing off the walls by this point and they outright asked if I was on drugs. (I was not. Except the ones I’m supposed to be taking.) Then on Monday I finally crashed and slept. all. day.

Anyway. Today’s missing person of the week is Uma Davi Sewpersaud, a thirteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Orlando, Florida on January 28, 2002. Uma is either from Guyana or at least of Guyanese parentage. Guyana is in South America but culturally, it’s Caribbean, and almost half the population is of Indian (that is, Asian) descent, including Uma.

Anyway, the cops think Uma ran away. I hope she really did and hasn’t met with foul play. I mean, it’s been 15 years now. But if she went to Guyana, as the police believe she might have, maybe that’s why she’s fallen off the map.

Oh, and I would like to note (for people who want to identify bodies) that she was tiny, even for her age, when she disappeared. Less than four and a half feet tall and just 70 pounds. (At the same age I was 5’1 or 5’2 and around 90 or 100 pounds.) Maybe if she died shortly after her disappearance and her body was found, they might have thought it was of a younger girl.

Executed Today entry from a few days ago

On the tenth I had another Executed Today entry run: Elifasi Msomi, a sangoma who killed fifteen people in South Africa in the mid-1950s. His was a literal devil-made-me-do-it defense: he claimed a tokoloshe, an evil spirit in Zulu folklore, offered to help his career if he obtained the blood of fifteen victims.

Of course to us nowadays (and to the Apartheid authorities back then) it’s stuff-and-nonsense, but in Msomi’s culture the tokoloshe was very real.

In other news, the headache medicine the pain management doctor prescribed is actually working. His idea was one that literally no other medical professional had thought to try in the storied six-year history of his headache, and I’m delighted by the results: it gets rid of the pain and, after the first few times, it didn’t make me feel the least bit different.

ET yesterday: three alleged rioters

I had another Executed Today entry run yesterday: three men who were alleged to have participated in a riot and machine-breaking in Nottingham. I think this entry is a good example of how well Jason (owner of the blog, aka the Headsman) and I work together. I submitted an entry about the hangings, and then he added the information about the motivations for the riot and how dubious the evidence was against the three condemned, which made the entry much better.

Some other things: after two postponements, I finally saw the pain management doctor about my headaches. I was impressed with him, actually. He told me he had “no idea” what was causing my headaches and then he was like “because of your symptoms, I get the idea that Treatment X might work. Or it might not. We don’t know until we try. So I’ll write the prescription, and next time you get a headache try Treatment X.” I’m supposed to call the office to report the results. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, they’ll try something else. Frankly, it’s nice to hear a doctor admit he doesn’t know what the answers are.

Yesterday and today I spent some time in purging cases from Charley — notably from New Jersey. I went over the entire state and removed a bunch of outdated cases. I also got some additional information on some of them. Stephen Davaris, for example, was declared dead last May, a presumed suicide. His family has actually kept in touch with the people who found his bag washed up on a beach in Ireland. I was struck by this because I’ve actually been to the Cliffs of Moher, in January 2003, about two and a half years before Davaris is presumed to have leaped to his death.

I was going to update yesterday but in the evening the internet unexpectedly kicked it and didn’t come back on for ages. I should get something up today.

It’s 11:20 and I’ve squeaked some updates in

There isn’t much today, I’m afraid. I hope to do more tomorrow.

I’ve been had a horrible grinding pain in my head for about forty hours now. This morning I called in a refill request for my headache meds to the doctor’s office and heard a new message on the prescription refill line: “please allow five business days.” I was desperately hoping this was just as CYA statement, but it seems they meant it. At any rate I hung around waiting all day and the prescription never got called in to the pharmacy.

The pharmacy recommended I go to the hospital. This I would have done, were it not for a dinner I was obligated to attend, on pain of domestic disharmony. I gave up, went home, got cleaned up, went to the dinner and managed to be pleasant and sociable. Michael told me I could go home early on account of the headache, but I still didn’t get home till after ten. Squeaked five updates in. He’s still not home. I’m not sure where he’s at; surely the restaurant will have closed by now.

Christ, my head hurts. And no sign of relief till tomorrow morning at least. And maybe not for another four business days, who knows? But hey, I suffered like this for A YEAR AND A HALF STRAIGHT at one time. I can handle this.

(A funny thing: my computer says it’s over an hour later than it actually is. Orville’s only problem — and this has been happening since I first got him in 2014 — is that his clock runs fast. I will occasionally reset it for the correct time, and within days I’ll be noticing it’s faster than it should be. I’ve never had a computer with that problem. I consulted Jamie The Computer Guru, who sold me Orville, and he says it’s probably a hardware problem and not worth the expense of fixing.)