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Chapter Thirty-nine: Flying Black Boomerangs Redux

At this point, again, health issues moved to the forefront.  All my life, it seemed when I recovered by sheer force of will from one assault, another would arrive seemingly out of nowhere.

I was most definitely looking at this as a symbol of my inner state, and constantly made adjustments in my relationships with others.  I struggled to discover what lurked in my subconscious attitudes or beliefs.  I was sure, at some level, that we do, indeed, create our own reality or, at the very least, interact with it in a dynamic way.  It was becoming rather clear that our preoccupations didn’t manifest as reality in any consistent way.  More often, the things we denied or sought to  “shove under the rug” grew larger and confronted us.

My ability to keep going was rapidly falling short of the challenges presented.  I was able to walk limited distances no longer than five minutes.  Standing soon became excruciatingly painful.  Meanwhile, the numbness, tingling, and bone-deep aching in my left arm nearly drove me crazy.  The doctor diagnosed it as angina, related to my damaged heart, and suggested that I lose weight and get exercise.

Well, how do you get exercise when you can neither stand nor walk for more than a few minutes?  Thyroid medication I had taken for years seemed to have no effect on my weight and only exacerbated the heart problem.  I truly could eat almost nothing and still gain weight.  I joked that I could just look at a glass of water and get fat.

But it wasn’t a joke.

I looked in the mirror one day and realized that the pattern of weight distribution had changed over the past few years.  I appeared very much like a person who had adrenal problems.  I figured, it’s no wonder.  I worry day and night how we are going to pay our bills and provide for our children, and whether we are going to be on the verge of losing everything the next time Larry takes us through months of depression and not working.

I needed to be able to work for the sake of the children.  At this point, I was seeing three or four hypnotherapy clients a week.  This was so draining that the entire day following a session was employed in recovery.  Each day I had to make a choice on how to engage my limited ability to function.  Each choice meant a whole list of other things I couldn’t do.

If I agreed to see a client, and asked Larry to cook dinner so I could conserve my strength,  he loudly proclaimed to the children that I clearly didn’t want to be a wife and mother anymore.  So, I cut back on the schedule to satisfy him.  When I did, he simply left to go fishing!    After trying various adjustments, it became clear that he did not really want to spend time with me and the children but merely resented that I spent time with anyone else.  He wanted me to be available to do what he wanted, when he wanted, because he wanted it.

I don’t think it ever occurred to him that I detested my inability to accomplish all the things I wanted to do.  Here was this interesting puzzle to be solved, and I didn’t have the stamina to do the research I needed, much less to perform the basic functions of a wife and mother.

I remember lying on the bed one day in so much pain that I had to clench my teeth to endure it.  I knew the house was a mess, I knew that laundry was waiting to be done, I knew that it would be nice if I could just tear into all the chores and get them done.  I asked the children to help so I would have the energy to cook dinner.

However, Larry had decided at that moment to hold me up as an example of a really bad mother.  He did it, of course, in a “Christian” context, but that didn’t erase the cruelty of his comments on my inadequacies and physical problems.  The children should not be asked to do anything.

“They’re just kids!    It’s your job to do those things!    You seem to be able spend your time reading or sitting at that table entertaining your friends.  Why don’t you spend some time taking care of your family!”  As he said these things, I felt the pain in my arm mount to the point that I thought I would scream.  I quickly swallowed three or four aspirin and fled to the privacy of the bedroom to cry alone.

Now, I could hear them gaily making popcorn and settling down to watch a video with Larry, the “good guy”.  They had driven the wicked witch out of the room.

***

Pain is an abstract concept to anybody who is not experiencing it.  Larry was athletic and active and always had been, even after the surgery on his back.  While he was in pain, he was a complete baby, but he got over it so quickly that it was soon forgotten.  He attributed his health to his active lifestyle.  He told me that if I would just get out and walk and do things, I would be healthy too!    Problem was, after my fourth child, when my pelvis had been damaged, I couldn’t walk at all for months, and what mobility I had recovered was accompanied by constant pain.

So, there I was, lying in a bedroom that was never allowed to be “mine”.  It was full of Larry’s stuff, including the constant smell of oils and chemicals he used to keep his gun collection clean and in working order.  There they were, racked high on the walls: instruments of death and destruction.

I thought how easy it would be to just end all the pain.

Instantly, I was overwhelmed with shame at the thought.  The very image of my children hearing a loud noise in the bedroom and rushing to see what it was, and discovering my body with blood and brains splattered everywhere, was enough to horrify me at the total selfishness and destruction to others involved in such an act.  The little one was only four years old.  I was instantly “in” her mind and emotions, realizing how such acts destroy others far more thoroughly than they ever destroy those who commit them.

No, that wasn’t the answer.  For my children, I would endure the pain and keep going no matter what.

The doctor had suggested that mild aquatic exercise would strengthen my heart without further stressing it.  The only place to go for such therapy was a stressful 30 minute drive away, and my legs swelled terribly after just ten or fifteen minutes of riding in the car.

The obvious solution was a swimming pool.

I began to think about how I might get one, and even spent some time visualizing a pool and myself in a healthy condition splashing in the water.  I realized that there was just simply no way that we could manage such a project.  It was a hopeless fantasy in terms of our present situation.  I would have to think of another way.  Perhaps the beach or the public pool.  But, just to make my point, I said out loud to the empty room:  “God, a swimming pool would help!”

As I have already said, I am not a gambler.  But Larry seemed to have a definite tendency in that direction, never forgetting to buy his weekly lottery tickets.  Since I saw nothing wrong in spending a couple of dollars a week on such entertainment, I didn’t object to his habit.

One night, my number two daughter asked her father if she could pick the numbers as he was going out the door to buy his lottery tickets.  He laughed and said “sure!”

She picked them, and we won.  Fifteen grand.  We had the pool.

Of course, having learned very conservative habits where spending money is concerned, I was not able to just order a fancy in-ground pool.  An above-ground pool would serve my needs just as well, leaving plenty of money left over for a new computer, things for the children and the house, and a decent used truck for Larry.

The pool wasn’t ready until August.  I thought it was appropriate that the children and I could “baptize” the pool by floating on our rubber rafts and watching the Perseid meteor shower.

***

Laura Knight Jadczyk family album

The back of our house showing the side of the pool from which the UFOs were sighted.

August 16, 1993:  In the subtropics, it gets dark about nine o’clock in the evening, so it would not be until a couple of hours later that viewing conditions would be optimal.  The children were excited to stay up late and watch a meteor shower in the pool.  They had rushed out at about 10, while I stayed in and struggled to clean up the kitchen before going out to join them at eleven.  Three of the five children were out there with me.  My eldest daughter was on a date, and the baby was in bed.

I slid into pool for the very first time, and was so happy and grateful to have it!    I walked to the far side to lean my head against the ledge and float, looking in the direction the meteors were supposed to be found.  The viewing conditions were favorable:  no moon, clear sky with only a slight upper level haze from the humidity, and the ambient light was minimal.

Suddenly, my twelve-year-old daughter cried out, “Look!  Up there!”

This was no meteor.  It was a 300 foot wide black boomerang, emanating a faint reddish glow, moving so slow and low that I knew if I had been standing on the roof of my two-story house, I could have reached up and touched it!  We had plenty of time to observe it and note the “brushed matte black metal” appearance of its underside.

We watched as it moved ever so slowly overhead, utterly silent, seeming to float more than anything else.  It continued south, seeming to skim the treetops.

We were looking at each other and all saying at once: “What was that?!  ” When my son shouted: “Another one!” and, sure enough, just to the west of the path of the first one, there was another.  Every detail was identical: altitude, speed, reddish glow, and utter silence!    I was, at this point, in sufficient possession of my senses to try to hear something!  Dead silence.  And that struck me as odd, since there are normally all kinds of night sounds: crickets, night birds, frogs and so forth.  But there was no sound, no vibration, no hum.  Nothing.

We stood there in amazement for a few frozen moments and then the kids began to shout for their dad to come out.  He came to the door.

“What’s all the excitement about?”

The kids were saying, all at once, “We saw a UFO!”

“That’s nonsense,” he said.

I will never be able to explain why I said this.  But what came out of my mouth was: “Oh, it was just a flock of geese!  I guess we are going to have bad weather because the geese are flying South early this year!”

And I laughed as I shoved it under the rug.

He looked at me like I was an idiot.  “Geese,” he said sarcastically, “do not fly South in August.  And anyway, we are South!”

Hearing a logical refutation had a strange effect on me: I became very upset and confused all out of proportion to the event.  The only thing I could think of to do was to go inside and call Frank.

Frank was absolutely ecstatic, crowing with delight.

“Finally you’ll believe me!  You saw a real UFO!”

“Now look, Frank!  Just because something is a UFO doesn’t mean it’s an ALIEN UFO!”

Frank’s enthusiasm was not to be dampened.  He had an ace to play.  He had just gotten home a short time before I called and there was a message on his answering machine that he wanted me to hear.  He rewound it and played it for me over the phone.  Dane’s son had called him to describe having seen the exact same thing an hour earlier!  He had been out in his driveway at 10 o’clock to see a few meteors.  He’d been overflown by the big black boomerang, with his neighbor as a witness.  If it was a secret government aircraft, why was it cruising our neighborhood so repetitiously, and why was it that he happened to know two of the very people to whom it had “shown” itself?

Well, that didn’t seem like a great mystery to me.  No doubt many people had seen it.

Nevertheless, logic was crumbling inside me no matter how I tried to reason.  At this point, I became so upset that I had to go in my bedroom and sit and consider the matter.  It was clear to me that if I could not find a rational explanation for this thing, there was only one thing to think: either they were real, or I had contracted the “Millennial Disease” and was losing my mind.

This was certainly not a stealth bomber.  The newspaper article had described them pretty thoroughly when the previous flap had occurred.  The writer had assumed that when people say they are seeing a “boomerang” shaped object, that they are really saying a “triangular” object.  The description of the stealth bombers included a fuselage that the object we had seen simply did not have.  It had been a boomerang shape.  Not a triangle, not a diamond, a boomerang without any sort of “body”.  But how could I know this for sure?  Maybe there were stealth bombers that were newer or different models?

Did anybody ELSE see it besides Frank’s friend and his neighbor and the kids and me?  I wanted to get a consensus of descriptions.  I wanted to know that I was not crazy.  And I wanted an explanation.  That meant, of course, that with the weight of evidence from others, I would be able to consult with authorities and confirm that it was, indeed, a secret government craft.  Problem solved, case closed.

So, the next day, trying to act very casual in spite of my embarrassment at even asking such a question, I called a couple of the local television stations to inquire if there had been any reports of “strange objects” in the sky.  One woman was very nasty and informed me that, of course there had been strange objects in the sky, it was called a meteor shower!    Well, I was not talking about lights flashing across the sky, and I certainly knew a meteor from a 300 foot wide black boomerang, but damned if I was going to even utter those words!    All I wanted to know was if there had been any reports of anything from all the meteor watchers that could not be explained.

The results were less than helpful.  I was treated like a lunatic for even asking the question.  That only served to heighten my dismay.  But I wasn’t ready to give up yet.

I received similar treatment from various other media sources I contacted in my effort to get some information.  I was not comfortable enough to make a report of my own, so I was really trying to talk about the subject without even using the term “UFO”.  In retrospect, my reluctance to even say it is comical!

There didn’t seem to be any information to be obtained until Frank called and told me that the weatherman on one of the television stations had mentioned that one of the community weather observers had reported several “flocks of geese” the previous night.  Since I had tried to explain it to myself in these same terms, I thought that this might be a “hit”.  But that was all I was going to get from the standard sources.

I was frustrated at being blown off and treated like an idiot.  This frustration only added fuel to the fire burning in me, driving the need to discover what it was I had seen.  As I considered my options, I remembered an organization that collected reports of such things: MUFON.  Maybe they would know.  Even if they were somewhat to the left of rational in their belief that some sightings of strange craft were “alien,” they were said to be trying to sort the real ones from the false reports.  Perhaps they could help me confirm that I had seen an aircraft that was known, or conjectured to be, part of a secret government project?

I looked in the back of one of Frank’s books and found the phone number for the national headquarters of MUFON.  The person who answered gave me the number for the local chapter.  An answering machine picked up.  The director was going to be on vacation for the next two weeks.  I hesitated, but finally left my name and number and the fact that I wanted some information about a “possible UFO sighting”.  I was using “UFO” in the literal sense of the word: it was unidentified, and I was seeking identification in a rational sense, not a confirmation of alien visitations and more mumbo jumbo.

It was well into September before anyone from MUFON called me back, with an apology for taking so long.  Since the monthly meeting was the next day, perhaps I would come and give the report in person.  Well, that was pushing me just a bit too far, too fast.  I was not ready to hang out with geeks who believed in little green men and who probably wore plastic pocket protectors, coke-bottle glasses, and kept Mad Magazine rolled up in their back pockets!

I mean, get real!

The day of the MUFON meeting, I was definitely not going to go.  I was going to drop the whole subject.  But, as the clock rolled around, the kids disappeared to various activities, the baby went off with Larry, and I was left at home alone.  The need to know had not lessened one bit, and I tried to come up with any rational excuse not to go.  Surprisingly, my usual state of exhaustion was at a minimum and, with no other apparent reason to hinder me, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I would go and check this MUFON bunch out.  If it was creepy, or if I became too tired, I could always come right home.  It was only a ten minute drive away.

I was surprised.  There were no geeks.  Not a single pocket protector.  And these folks were certainly too old for Mad Magazine!

I entered quietly, took a seat at the back of the room and listened to a discussion in progress.  I was amazed at how extremely intelligent and rational these folks were!  More so than average, in my opinion.  And certainly brighter than the run-of-the-mill New Age Groupie.  No one was ranting a spittle flecked monologue about being visited by Venusians, taken aboard their craft, and transported to LooneyLand.  Nobody was talking about aliens-as-God, here to “serve mankind”.  In fact, it was a rather technical discussion of possible propulsion systems of UFOs, based on observed behavior by creditable witnesses whose stories were cited, along with some impressive documentation and credentials.

At the break, I was asked to sign a guest sheet.  The director recognized my name and asked me to talk about my sighting.

After the break I stood in front of the group and, with extreme embarrassment,  began to tell my little story about the Black Boomerang.  As I was getting warmed up, the door opened (this was a public meeting room in a local library), and a big, burly, bearded man came in.  I stopped talking while he got seated and the director introduced him to me.  I was surprised at his name, which is an unusual Welsh one that happened to be a family name.  As I finished, all sorts of questions were asked.  I made a drawing on a blackboard and that was that.  I had said my piece and I sat down.

A discussion followed.  The earliest sighting of the Black Boomerang type object, as I had drawn it on the chalkboard, was in Albuquerque in 1951.  They were also seen in Lubbock, Texas, and became famous as the “Lubbock Lights”.  It was noted, as a point of interest, that these early sightings also occurred in the month of August, which I thought was peculiar.  What was most interesting to me was the fact that the same design was seen over 40 years previously.  That sort of cancelled out my idea of a new design.  No change in model in 40 years?  Those boys in Black Ops are really slipping!  No imagination at all!

There were also extensive reports of these types of craft being sighted repeatedly in the Hudson Valley of New York in a famous series of events that included all kinds of anomalous phenomena among the hundreds of witnesses.  A scientist had been involved in that situation, a Dr.  Hynek.  I had never heard the name before, but I was soon to hear it quite a lot.  I would also come to respect his work and opinions.

Long after these events and discussions,  I did  more research on the “Black Boomerang” matter and discovered some very disturbing connections in an article in the book series “Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time,” written by Hamish Howard and Toyne Newton, edited by Peter Brookesmith, UK:

Clapham Wood is a small densely-treed area nestling in the shelter of the South Downs in West Sussex, England.  …this is an area of mystery and intrigue and UFO sightings…..  Stunted trees, a large crater where nothing grows, and mysterious little clearings containing ruins of old cottages [are found there.]

“Several hundred years ago, an aged resident of Clapham reported that she had seen a “bright round shape like the full Moon” float down into the woods and disappear into the bushes.  The woods were “filled with fumes that stinketh of burning matter” and the people of the town were afraid to go there afterwards.  Since that time, there have been many more UFO sightings in this small area.

“In October 1972, a telephone engineer saw a large saucer shaped object in the sky above the woods.  It hovered for some time before making a circle of the area, then veered off.  At the same time, a couple were walking near the main road and thought they saw Jupiter or Venus low in the western sky – until it started to move very quickly due north, keeping in line with a ridge as it came toward them.  Suddenly, when the object was over Clapham Wood, a beam of light descended vertically from it, and then rapidly withdrew, and the object shot away north-eastward at great speed.

“Paul Glover of the British Phenomenon Research Group was walking along the downs toward Clapham Wood one clear starlit night in the summer of 1967.  At about 10 p.m., both men suddenly became aware of a huge black mass low in the sky blotting out the stars as it moved very quickly toward them.  The object was boomerang shaped and made no sound.  As it passed overhead the displacement of air was so great they ducked into the bushes for safety.  They vehemently denied it could have been a cloud, for it retained its shape, was on a definite course, and there was no wind to drive it.  Minutes later, they saw two bright objects high in the sky, which they watched for several minutes.  One of the UFOs released a smaller object that traveled across to the second object, seemed to enter it, and then re-emerged and veered off, disappearing from sight.  An hour later, on their return in the opposite direction of their walk, [apparently] two yellow lights descended in the region of the woods, followed just a few seconds later by two more, and then a final pair, making a total of three groups of two.  Then at the point where they seemed to have dipped down into the woods, two white beams of light shot out horizontally – quite unimpeded by the contours of the downlands – followed by the next two beams and then the final two, all traveling very fast, before disappearing into the night sky.  No craft of any kind could be seen behind the lights.

“During that same year, in the village of Rustington a few miles westwards along the coast, two schoolboys, Toyne Newton and John Arnold, who had never even heard of Clapham Wood, had a strange story spelled out to them ON A OUIJA BOARD: that Clapham Wood was a base for spacecraft, and that one had landed recently to fetch supplies of sulphur and other chemicals.

“No one believed the boys, of course, but nearly 10 years later an investigation was carried out when soil samples were taken from the woods.  From the report given in BBC-TV’s Nationwide program at the time, it seems there was more than a grain of truth to the sulphur story.  The investigation had been triggered by reports of dogs disappearing in the woods in 1975.

“According to a local paper, the “Worthing Herald,” Wallace, a 3 yr.  old chow belonging to Mr.  and Mrs.  Peter Love of Clapham, disappeared, as did a 2 yr old collie belonging to Mr.  John Cornford.  Apparently the collie, although normally obedient, suddenly rushed off into a small copse between two trees in an area known locally as the Chestnuts, and was never seen again.  The mystified owner searched thoroughly!

“Mrs.  H.T.  Wells, who lives at nearby Durrington, said that when her collie gets near the woods, it becomes “desperate,” and a golden retriever belonging to Mr.  E.F.  Rawlins of Worthing ran into the woods one day and returned “very distressed”.  Shortly afterwards it became paralyzed and had to be destroyed.”

“Another dog owner, who wished to remain anonymous, reported that when she took her dog to this area it ran around in circles, foaming at the mouth, with its eyes bulging as if in great pain.”

The account goes on to say that a horseman (who also wished to remain anonymous, but his report was verified) tied his horse to a tree and stepped back a ways to have a pit stop.  When he stepped back out of the bushes, he was amazed to find his horse missing.  Although he searched the area extensively and made exhaustive enquiries, the horse was never found!

Several people have reported the feeling of being “pushed over by invisible forces” in this area and other have had spells of faintness.

“Two men walking through the wood reported that both were afflicted at the same moment: one doubling over in internal agony and the other clutching his head and screaming that his eardrums were “being pulled out of his head”.  They both staggered about 50 yards further and the effects ceased.

“The body of a missing man was found two weeks after he went missing, but in an extremely advanced state of decomposition.  Forensic evidence showed that the rate of decomposition had been greatly accelerated due to “unknown factors”.  

“A skeptical investigator, Dave Stringer of the Southern Paranormal Investigation Group, visited the area with a Geiger counter in August [there is that month again] 1977.  The woods were silent and the air still.  Everything appeared normal, but, as he pushed through heavy undergrowth, he had to lift the machine above his head.  When he did so, it began to register an alarming high level.  Mr.  Stringer stopped and looked back at the area he had just passed through.  He saw a dark shape about 12 feet in height; while not being distinctive in outline, it was very definitely not smoke and he could only describe it as a “black mass”.  Seconds later a large white disk shot out from behind nearby trees at a 45 degree angle and disappeared into the sky.  Simultaneously, the dark mass disappeared.  Stinger retraced his steps [braver than I!] and found at the spot where the form had appeared, an imprint of a four toed footprint similar to one found at a place called Devils’ Dyke near Brighton, where there was known to be a black magic “coven”.  

“Stringer made a quick sketch of the footprint.  It was unknown to him at the time, that it matches a footprint reproduced in Collin de Plancy’s “Dictionaire infernal” published in 1863, and that this footprint is supposed to be that of the “Demon Amduscias”.  

“UFO sightings continued at Clapham into 1978 and 1979.  The spate of strange reports at that time concluded with the disappearance of the Reverend Neil Snelling, vicar of Clapham church.  One morning after shopping at Worthing, he decided to walk back to his Steyning home through Clapham Wood.  He has not been heard of since and an exhaustive search of the area revealed nothing.

“Paul Glover and Dave Stringer and another man went to Clapham to see if they could spot any UFOs.  There was no activity.  They decided to go home and as they were walking out of the woods, all three of them simultaneously had a feeling of intense cold.  They hurried on and the feeling ceased.  They decided to go back and check it out again.  They did this three times, and each time experienced the sensation of a sudden and unnatural drop in temperature.  Glover pointed his camera at the area of the cold, even though nothing was apparently visible.  When the film was developed, it showed an uncanny white mass in the unmistakable image of a goat’s head.”  [Newton, et al.]

All in all, I was coming to an awareness that this phenomenon was not only strange, it was possibly dangerous.  Just how strange and dangerous I would discover soon enough.

But, back to the account of the MUFON meeting.  It seems that synchronicity was rapidly becoming my middle name.

The gentleman who had arrived late was, apparently, well known by the group as an expert on the theories of Zecharia Sitchin.  I was intrigued by the historical connections to UFO sightings, though I discounted the precise interpretation put on the Sumerian writings by Dr.  Sitchin.

At the end of the meeting, I asked this gentleman where he came from and told him that his name was also in my family.  He turned out to be my second cousin once removed!  The only reason I had never known of him or met him was, according to him, there had been a “religious” schism in the family. (Somebody who was Methodist converted to Baptist!)

Nevertheless, here I was, talking to a “long lost cousin” because I had seen a purported UFO!

We decided to have lunch.  We exchanged phone numbers and he promised to call and visit and continue our discussion.  It was completely strange to meet this man who was had so strong a family resemblance to me, and who was wonderfully intelligent, articulate, informed.  Let’s call him Sam.

I told Sam about our channeling experiment and joked about the “lotto number test” that clearly wasn’t working, though we had won a decent prize without a prediction from the board.  This item seemed to interest Sam a great deal, and I ended up inviting him to join Frank and me for our next session.

***

Meanwhile, two most disturbing things were taking place.

Laura Knight Jadczyk family album

Dannyboy with his favorite person: my youngest daughter.

My dog went into a decline that nothing I could do seemed to help.  The vet was completely baffled, and everything we tried, failed.  In the end, he could only suggest a congenital heart defect leading to cardiac insufficiency.  Within three months of the Black Boomerang, he died with his head in my lap on the kitchen floor.  Dannyboy was a gorgeous Tri-color collie, the most gentle and affectionate dog I have ever had, and he was only 3 years old.  I was heartbroken.  (Yes, it was quite startling when I discovered the article quoted above some years after this event and noted the effects on animals described therein.  But, at this point in time, I was making absolutely no connection between the Black Boomerang and Dannyboy’s death.)

At the same time, my own physical condition, instead of getting better, had gotten worse from that first night in the pool.  I was constantly sick.  I had a terrible rashes, hives and welts.  All the mucous membranes of my body kept swelling to the point that my throat and nose would almost shut completely.  The undersides of my eyelids were so irritated they oozed yellowish, sticky fluids constantly.  My ears itched deep inside which nearly drove me crazy.

These symptoms were always the precursor to a sort of  “attack”.  This began with severe nausea.  I felt as though a fence post had been driven through my chest.  My breathing was labored and painful.  I broke out in a cold sweat.  My doctor sent me to an allergist.  This doctor was equally baffled, but finally suggested that I was suffering allergies which exacerbated my already compromised cardio-pulmonary system.  It was decided that I must have reached a sort of “critical mass” of allergen exposure at some recent time.  I had some relief from benadryl, but that was not a long-term solution.  My body simply did not seem to be able to handle the toxins anymore.  The doctor wanted to run extensive allergy tests and begin a course of treatment designed to more or less desensitize me to whatever was affecting my system.  But again, we could not afford such treatment.

The symptoms were worse at night, starting at about 11:00 p.m.  I reasoned this must be the time of “critical mass” of the day’s exposure to whatever allergen was active at the moment.

One night, around this time, Sandra had come by to visit.  We were just chatting when my eyes started burning and I felt the slight tingling sensation in my lower lip which presaged the whole syndrome.  I had told Sandra about the problem, trying to figure out what it might be I was allergic to, and I don’t think she really understood how it worked.  As she sat there watching, before her eyes, my lips slowly swelled until they were almost inside out; my eyes became slits, oozing fluid that I had to constantly wipe away with tissues.

Sandra was completely shocked.  “We need to get you to an emergency room right now!”

I laughed it off, went to the kitchen to get some benadryl, and told her that there wasn’t much the doctors could do.  They’d observed the swelling, the hives, and the inflammation of my eyes.  The “fence post” in the chest part just simply did not cooperate with being put under a microscope.  And if they couldn’t catch it in the middle of manifesting, they couldn’t know what it was.  Tests done when there were no symptoms told nothing.

I explained to Sandra that, on two occasions when the symptoms began to manifest, Larry had driven me to the hospital, and by the time we arrived, the heart symptoms had gone away entirely, leaving only the surface manifestations.  This was puzzling in the extreme, and Larry took it as proof that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me except in my mind.

I, on the other hand, was thoroughly frightened at what was happening to me.  Larry’s attitude was not only hurtful, it left me feeling entirely alone and unable to talk about anything at all to him.  If the person you are married to doesn’t believe you, who will?

I was living on aspirin and benadryl, but I was not getting relief.  I reduced my schedule to a bare minimum.  I would rest all day when Frank and I “sat for the contact,” and often he and Sam would come to visit and talk while I was unable to sit upright at all.  I was so weak sometimes that I could barely lift my head.  But, I could think and talk, and these visits gave me something to look forward to.

One night with the two of them, discussing ancient cultures and the possibility of “otherworldly” interactions in those distant times, there seemed to be a flash of light that startled me.  I had been resting my eyes under a cool compress.  This flash of light came so fast that I couldn’t be certain it was not some random neuron firing in my brain, lighting up my optic nerves.  However, this was immediately followed by the strangest thing.

Suddenly Sam was speaking to Frank in a very hostile tone, saying, “If you light that cigarette, this discussion is over!”

“What in the world is going on?”  I thought.

I jokingly told Frank that yes, we ought to open the door and turn on the central fan in the house to air things out since we both did smoke a lot and poor Sam was a non-smoker.  I emphasized the “both” as a subtle reminder to Sam that it was my house and I was a smoker too.  He knew it before he came through the door.  I always tried to make guests who were non-smokers moderately comfortable, but just as I deferred to the wishes of non-smokers in their homes, so did I expect the same deference to me in my home.

The uncomfortable moment passed, but Sam soon left.

Frank asked me if I had experienced anything “strange” just before Sam’s change in demeanor.

“Like what?” I asked cautiously.

“Like a flash of light,” Frank replied.

We had no idea what it was.

The next day Sam called me on the phone and informed me that I had better “watch out” where Frank was concerned.  It was Sam’s considered opinion that Frank was manipulating me in some way, “playing you like a Stradivarius”.

What a puzzling situation.

***

I continued to force myself to function by sheer will.  I knew I would die, because the will that kept me going was gradually being eroded away by constant pain.  I still needed assistance in and out of chairs, in and out of bed, in the bathroom, in and out of the tub and so on.  If I was in another room and couldn’t do something on my own, I would call Larry to please come and help me.  He would say “In a minute,” and those minutes became longer and longer.  Sometimes, I would sit half an hour until he decided to come and give me assistance.

However, as long as I was sitting still and didn’t try to move, the pain was tolerable.  And my brain hadn’t died, so I continued to read and study to divert my mind.  And I kept a schedule of hypnosis sessions.  Larry pointed to this as proof that I could do what I “liked to do,” but I wasn’t doing anything for him to attend to his physical needs.  I was stung and deeply hurt.  Without reading and my work, I would have felt completely useless.  I would have had no life at all.

The pain in my left arm was so constant a condition that I actually had fantasies of a madman with an axe breaking into the house and chopping my arm off, thereby giving me some relief.  Sandra suggested that I should go to a different doctor, even going so far as to walk me through the process of getting the State to pay for a rehabilitative procedure.

The new doctor decided that I didn’t have angina after all, or if I did, it was not the primary cause of the pain I was suffering in my left arm.  He did a series of neurological tests and determined that nerve signals just simply were not being transmitted in my arms in a normal way.  I had nerve damage and needed carpal tunnel surgery.  Naturally, he didn’t really explain why the pain was in the upper arm and chest area, and only on the left side, but go figure.  I was desperate for relief.  If it could be done as day surgery, and I didn’t have to check into the hospital for an overnight stay, and as long as the State was paying for it, I didn’t see that I had any other real option.  I could swallow my dislike of hospitals and do it.

I asked the doctor very seriously if I would be able to play the violin after this surgery.

He looked at me with a startled expression.  “Of course!”

“That’s marvelous!”  I exclaimed with a straight face.  “I never played one before!”

He didn’t have a sense of humor.

When I woke up after surgery that was supposed to have been on my left wrist, both hands were bandaged up like huge boxing gloves with little vials taped to the outside which were connected to rubber tubes that were still inserted into my wrists to drain any fluids.  I was completely horrified!  How was I going to do anything with both hands like that?  And the pain was close to the worst I have ever experienced.  It was worse than having a baby.  This pain was in the same category as the headaches and ear infections.  I was not prepared for that.  And it didn’t go away as the doctor said it would.  The surgery also hadn’t done anything to relieve the arm pain.  So I was worse than before, almost completely helpless.

Larry was waiting when they released me from the recovery room to go home.  I was still partially asleep, but I could feel every bump and bounce as we drove the 15 miles home, like bombs exploding in my hands.

I didn’t fully realize the complications I was going to face.  Think about it a minute.  I was as effectively without hands as if they had been amputated.  How would I go to the bathroom?  There were no fingers emerging from the bandages that I could even hook onto my panties!    How was I going to get a drink of water?  How could I open a door?  How could I pick up the phone?

I thought I had just better go to bed.  The doctor had given a prescription for pain pills, and Larry went off to get it filled.  I stood there trying to figure out how I was going to move the pillows on the bed so I could pull the covers down and get in.  Finally, I just laid down on top of everything and kicked my shoes off.

Larry brought the prescription back and announced that, since I was going to be sleeping, and since the kids were at my mother’s, it was an ideal time for him to go fishing.  I didn’t have the strength to argue.  I asked him to just help me get into a nightgown, pull the bedclothes down, put a glass of water with a straw by the bed, and leave the pills close at hand.

I got into bed and he started to walk out of the room.  I stopped him and asked if he would please pull the covers up for me.  This time, he didn’t even try to mask his impatience.  What was more, he deliberately jerked them sideways and chuckled that now, I would not be able to fix the bed!   (This was a reference to the fact that I have always been particular about sleeping in a bed that is “straight”.  If the covers slip sideways during the night, I will get up and straighten them.  Yes, I know that’s compulsive, but it was one of the few things in my life I could control.  I felt that I had a right to sleep the way I liked.)

So, with that last dig, Larry went fishing.

I dozed off but soon woke up with the throbbing pain in my hands reaching a new level of agony.  Where were those pain pills?  Oh, there they are…  on the night table…  all secure in that nice childproof container which I could not open, and there was no one there to help me.

Well, we can draw the veil over that episode.

After it was all over and the tubes and stitches had been removed, I was worse than before the surgery.  For a year I didn’t have strength in my hands to turn a doorknob or take the lid off a jar or hold a potato to peel it.  I couldn’t lift a pot from the stove.  I still can’t hold a pen or pencil for longer than a minute or two without being gripped by an agonizing spasm which ends with my hand turning into a quivering, spastic claw right out of a horror movie.  Forget playing the piano.  (Never mind the violin!)

That was pretty depressing.  What was worse, Larry took some sort of perverse pleasure in torturing me with the situation.  I was constantly reminded that if I wanted anything done, I’d just have to figure out how to do it myself.

Okay, I will.

Continue to Chapter 40: Aliens, Demons, and Vampires

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