SOMETIMES, MEDICAL PROCEDURES CREATE MORE PROBLEMS THAN THEY SOLVE.
In 1959, my brother, Jerry, married a 17 year old girl who’d been raised by strict, overly-religious grandparents. Kay Brassell had never been allowed to dance, play cards, attend Teen Town, or drive a car. As soon as she became Jerry’s wife, she went “hog-wild.”
Despite Jerry’s best efforts, Kay never grew up; never found her “footing.” She learned to drive but had one wreck after another. After their first year of marriage, my brother and Kay had a baby, a little girl, but…soon afterward, Kay left the child with others while she “played around” with drinking, boyfriends, and shopping. No one could spend money better than Kay and still have nothing to show for it.
After my brother was forced into bankruptcy on two different occasions….simply because of his wife’s love of spending…he had finally had enough. Her drinking now included drugs and, regardless of Jerry’s actions to stifle Kay’s wild spending habits and reckless behavior…he couldn’t control her actions so…he moved out of their house and filed for divorce.
In less than six days, Kay called me, begging me to help her get Jerry back, promising me she’d do anything if he’d just come home and try again. But Jerry was determined to move forward without her.
About one week later, I received a phone call from Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, saying my sister-in-law, Kay Miller, had been admitted as a patient to the Psychiatric Ward and listed me as her next of kin. She was to undergo Electric Shock Therapy the next morning at 7am and, as her next of kin, the staff was requesting my presence at the procedure.
I immediately called my brother. Jerry was a compassionate, caring person but he had been pushed beyond his limits. He couldn’t believe Kay was taking such extreme measures. It was the first he’d heard about her seeing a Psychiatrist and was in disbelieve that she’d agreed to Shock Treatments!
The next morning, I arrived at the hospital early, determined to question Kay’s doctors. I received very few answers to my questions but when I heard the details surrounding Kay’s first Shock Treatment, I felt sick.
During an eight week hospital stay, Kay received a series of 12 Electroshock Treatments and, after each session, looked and spoke deadlier than the previous session. Each time I looked her way she screamed violent obscenities, threatened to slit my throat, and kept screaming as she yanked and pulled her hair.
By the time she was ready to be released…Jerry had agreed to pick her up and take her home. He had no choice but move home; no reason not to take care of her. Jerry’s lawyer advised him to drop the divorce proceedings. His research showed that no Judge in Arkansas would grant him a divorce knowing Kay’s mental condition. She was now considered an invalid--a mentally-fragile woman who continued to demonstrate erratic behavior and who would spend the rest of her life..."on the edge."
Over time, Kay lost her pitifully-needy persona. In fact, she became overly-confident, overly-defiant. Whatever happened during those multiple shock treatments turned Kay into a Supreme Bitch; a heartless and cruel Monster with scary obsessions. I stayed far away from her, remembering how she’d threatened to “cut my throat.”
Kay developed violent tendencies. She fought with her daughter and, on more than a few occasions, Kay slapped, hit, and attacked Jerry with lethal weapons like--- a shovel, a hammer, even a steak knife. Thankfully, because of the many drugs Kay took during the day, she was almost comatose by nighttime. Otherwise, Jerry would never have felt safe—falling asleep or simply closing his eyes.
When my brother died, still married to Kay, I understood why Jerry looked at peace” as he lay in his casket. I've learned that Life sometimes offers many worst fates… than Death.