Carol

I see the journey, the path I have taken like the wake of a great ship.

I have glaucoma along with all of the retina issues. It is not a typical glaucoma that is heredity or just something that I got as I grew older. Nope, my glaucoma is caused by the Silicon oil bubbles in my eye. The bubble in my left eye is actually the second one. Unlike gas bubbles which the body absorbs oil has to be removed only its impossible to get it all. It hides in every nook and cranny. Then it congeals and thickens and does what oil does blocking the normal passages the eye uses to process fluids. You have to have fluid to wash the eye and keep it moist,  Eye drops control it but in my case the oil blocked everything and despite being on every drop and a pill called acetacolazine which made my extremities feel like they were vibrating my pressure built to dangerous levels. I was referred to Southwest Medical Center where they performed a cool laser procedure I had to be put under for that kills the tissue that creates the fluid. It is a dicey procedure because they can’t kill it all.  In my case it worked and the pressure in my eye has been much more manageable.  It is the only procedure I have had that actually was painful though.

In boxing they like to create lists of who the best pound for pound boxer is so you can measure a heavyweight against a welterweight. You also see it in football where analysts like to say the best pound for pound hitter in football is blah blah blah.  Carol was the strongest person pound for pound that I have ever met. She was small for her age of nine years old, wiry, athletic, reckless and strong fueled by a burning rage that seemed to never really quench.  She was a better athlete than most of the boys. I had very few interactions with her at first and then for some reason we just connected . Most of my interactions with her were outside where all the kids mixed and she always wanted to do what my bigger boys were doing so she was with my group a lot. She reminded me of a childhood friend I ha in that she was better at sports than most boys.

Carol was full of personality. She could be charming in her own way, not taking crap from anyone. It got her in a lot of trouble. Once she felt wronged she went off in a rage that could include violence against another child or a group leader or Diane the supervisor and you ever really knew what might set her off. It was the mission of the staff and administration to get better control of her. When I first started she was being restrained multiple times during the week and sometimes as many as three or four times in a day. Carol had a lot of bad days. Sometimes what we did was not magic or rocket science. It did not take a genius to figure out what was the source of all the rage.  By the time she was eight Carol had most of the bones in her body broken some of them twice by a mother who was unequipped to being a parent and took corporal punishment  to extremes. The fractures included multiple facial fractures. Her orbital sockets had been fractured and her nose fractured at least twice.  Both of her arms had been broken and she had spiral fractures of both legs. All Carol wanted was her mother to love her and the fact that her mother couldn’t really love her and abused her horribly created a rage fueled hellion. I started to be called to the girls unit more and more to help restrain her. The fact that Carol really liked me distressed her to no end and we used this connection to get her to start working on her rage issues in other ways. Se certainly improved.

Carol wanted to go back with her mother. She wanted her mother to love her so much that she was willing to endure any amount of abuse. It was tragic and sad and getting her to understand that that door was closed forever was a challenge for Carol’s therapist.  Carol was willing to be adopted though and she got it in her head that she was going to be adopted by me. This became a big fantasy for her so much so that the therapist, administrator and Diane all met with me to discuss it. It sort of surprised me when they asked if it was something I might consider, a slow plan of home visits, lots of joint counseling and then foster placement. I wanted the best for Carol and we connected. I was shocked that they asked me and I gave it some thought. Ultimately though I was twenty three years old and unequipped to be the kind of parental support she needed. I was also engaged and my fiancé had worked on the girls unit previously so the decision included Andrea. I give Andrea credit she and I talked about it for a long time but we decided that it would be way too stressful on everyone to attempt it.

Carol and I met with her therapist and it was discussed at length until she understood. Seeing those big eyes well up with tears was heartbreaking and from that point I began looking for  a way to leave because I was becoming too close to too many and working there was taking an enormous toll on me.  I have never regretted making that decision. Andrea and I had a lot of problems and we were doomed before we could really get started. She is the most beautiful woman I was ever with and adding a child full of rage would have made everyone miserable. It was also the right decision for Carol because she needed someone who would be there, who could be there.  I am guessing her life if she still lives is still one of rage and loss and longing. One thing I have learned is that the amount of damage one person can do to another is endless.

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