Thursday, April 19, 2007

You know I need someone

“Mother, help me!” she called, but there was no response. Where was Mother, now, when she was needed so desperately? Maggie suddenly remembered that Mother had gone away a long time ago and wouldn’t be coming back. It had been very hard at the time, but as the years passed she had become independent and the terrible loss eased to a dull ache, until she was so used to it she rarely noticed it.

She’d managed very well, she thought. She’d found herself a lovely man, and their marriage had been long and very successful, with children and grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. At the time it had been a wrench to leave all she knew and come here with him, but there had been letters and visits, and Hank had done so well, working his way up the company until he'd bought it, that she’d always known that she only had to pick up the phone and she could get a flight whenever she wanted.

The trouble had started gradually. At first the pain was merely niggling, soothed by gentle exercise, but it steadily got stronger, and the painkillers needed to keep it at bay did likewise. Eventually she agreed that all the insurance money they’d paid should be put to good use and she signed the consent forms for the surgery that should fix the problem for good. What a shame it didn’t work but actually made things worse. The painkillers got even stronger, and the operations (because they could do them, not because they should, she thought) more frequent and more involved. She'd felt rather like a guineapig at the time, but they assured her it'd all be worth it in the end. Now she realised they meant it'd be worth it for them because of all the money they'd make, not worth it for her. She still needed the drugs, more and more, and the weakness extended. The diapers were just another humiliation, and she realised what she'd lost and could never regain.

This was when the fear started. She was no longer the master of the drugs, and had become their servant, and she couldn’t do without them. And now she was unable to just pick up the phone to arrange a flight to the past because no airline would take her. She badly wanted to go ‘home’ just once more, to hear the old familiar accents and smell the air, and see the small houses and the cars on the left, but she couldn’t even leave the hospital to go to the home where she’d raised her family. She was trapped here forever, and she panicked. But they don’t like you to lose control, and they shut you away.

“Help me Mother, please help me!” she screamed, as they locked the door.