When They Won’t Let You Up (BDSM Nightmares)

Let us discuss one of the worst things that can happen to you when you’re being submissive:

You’re tied up and the guy won’t let you go when you safe out and ask for it.

It’s happened to me twice.  Which, given my significant experience with about two dozen tops, says a lot.

Both times were terrifying.

The first, and by far the worst, was with my restraining-order Ex, John. It was December in Lake Tahoe and there was a foot of new snow on the ground; more coming down every minute. It was the middle of the night. I could not have gotten out of that house without snowshoes.  Even if I called the cops, they would not have been able to come. There was no auto traffic that night.

He started being a rude, abusive jerk, ignoring my limits, during the session. I was dressed in a fishnet body stocking with my arms locked behind me.

I safed out and asked him to let me go. I wasn’t a shrieking basket case, either (not that it would matter if I WAS a shrieking basket case). I called it off and expressed myself in very clear words.

The guy would. not. let me go.

“Why did you agree to do (this thing) and then renege?”

I kept repeating, “Let me up. Let me up.”

I kept thinking, I am going to get raped and I cannot get away from this man, even on foot. This is going to happen.

He kept asking me why I “reneged.”

He tortured me for about an hour.  I was terrified, but holding my composure. Eventually, he did release me.

I ran to one of the spare bedrooms and locked the door behind me.  He proceeded to pound on it, yelling that he never should have let me up until I was “broken.”  Yeah, I’m not making that up.

He broke the door down.

The next morning, I had to endure shoveling the driveway with him in order to get a ride home.  He had snow tires.

I broke up with him once I was in my apartment. We stayed broken up for 5 months.

Eventually, due to his relentless efforts, I took him back.  And I stayed.

I stayed for five more years.

My Horrific Fast Food Experience (Communist Revolution Now)

My Twitter tweet:

“Should I write a blog post about working at Long John Silver’s for a year and a half for $5.15/hour? The worst job I’ve ever had in my life? My gratitude for not working there ever again? #Thanksgiving”

Well, the response from my 8 readers was positive, so I’ll do my best.

I got hired at Long John Silver’s after a 3-month job search. I was 16, and expected to earn my keep. Old enough to work, you’ve got to work.

So, of course, I applied to all the retail places at the mall. Then it was fast food. Fast food is bottom of the labor hierarchy. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Jack in the Box did not hire me. I had no labor experience. Neither did Burger King. A man who had a huge crush on me when I was in High School, who later went on to serve as a tank crewman in Iraq and came home to be an air-conditioner machine repair man, who eventually committed Selvmord, said “I work at Long John Silver’s. I can help you get a job there.”

I went in for the interview. They made me watch multiple videos telling me I would be fired and prosecuted for anything if I stole anything from them.  As if Long John Silver’s had anything to steal, besides, maybe, the purse of money at the end of the night. It really says something when your employer openly says he expects you to be a thief.

It was $5.15/hour.  I considered myself lucky, because at that time it was $4.25/hour.

Let me tell you, good reader, what I had to do: I had to constantly stock ice, clean the dining room, empty garbage that weighs 30 lbs, scrub everything down, clean pubes out of the male toilet, restock the freezer with “key lime pies,” deal with an aggressive Mexican fry-cook who wanted to “date” me, and, again, deal with a person on the drive-thru.

For $40 a day after taxes.

I remember, vividly, coming home and collapsing in bed. My healthy teenaged body would ache. My clothes would reek like oil.  My feet would hurt. My back would hurt.

I will suck dick for money before I go back to that. As long as the guy isn’t a scary piece of shit, it’s not remotely comparable.

Interview to be my boyfriend

I am doing an interview for you, a new potential boyfriend.  Please answer honestly (ha!) and completely:

Do you hate your mother, or just have a very weird relationship with her?

Are you a genius and at the height of your profession?

Do complete strangers call you “a total fucking asshole?”

Do you experience road rage?

Are you capable of breaking into your ex-girlfriend’s apartment when she leaves you? Does home invasion give you a boner?

Are you a sadist? Does saying things like “You’re my property!” turn you on?

Have you published in peer-reviewed journals?

Do you hire sex workers, and then blame the sex worker for doing that work?  Are you a massive hypocrite?

Do you fantasize about murdering your colleagues because you’re so damn competitive?  Do you actively try to hurt their careers?

Are you jealous of my parrot, Abe?

Are you capable of borrowing a cockatoo, or, alternately, abandoning your Amazon parrot at the dog pound when you got tired of him?

Are you emotionally unavailable?

Married?

Will I eventually have to get a restraining order?

Do you have a personality disorder?

Will you go through my purse, my phone, and my drawers?

Are you a notorious womanizer?

Are you a millionaire who is absurdly cheap?  Will I have to grovel to you to help me out with rent once in my life when I’ve fallen on hard times, after we’ve been together for years?

Do you tip 10%?

Are you ostensibly a Democrat, and then give money to Republican candidates “because taxes?”

Do you have strong opinions about black Americans, even though you have none in your social orbit and practically never speak to one?

Do you own Gucci loafers?

Are you old enough to be my father?

Extra credit if you are Jewish.  Sephardic guys to the front of the line.  Extra extra points if you fetishize me because of how white I look, but would never marry me in a million years.

Punching the Collector in His Eye (Part III)

When he finished his work, he considerately asked if I wanted to put on a little makeup, because he knows that I don’t like to leave the house with at least some mascara and cover-up for any skin imperfections.  Without it I feel ugly and exposed.  Contrary to what most men seem to think, makeup is a mask.

“What about the puzzle?” I asked.  It is challenging, but I’d figured out one of the borders.  I’d hate to dump it back into the box.

“Leave it there.  You can work on it tomorrow,” he said.

I went to my bathroom to put on the 5-minute version of my face and asked him what I ought to change into, clothes-wise.

“You look perfect as you are.”

“Collector, it’s cold outside, and anyway I can’t wear this–” I gestured at my blue cotton gingham dress with a bow, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland–“out in public.”

He went to the coat closet and took out his long quilted parka.  Everyone in the Tri-State area has a puffy coat for the hard winter weather.  It’s basically a sleeping bag with arms.

“Put on socks and your boots and wear this.  Nobody will see.”

So I bundled up and put my boots on.  While I was doing it, I noticed that my arrows were gone from underneath my bed, where I store them.  My bow was there, but the arrows were gone.

I didn’t say anything about that.

We took the elevator down and walked through the lobby and out onto the street.  The parka kept me warm, though I’d get a cold draft from underneath up my bare legs.  I still felt exposed, like everyone had Superman’s x-ray vision.

We got a cab and went to the zoo in Central Park, specifically the Tisch Children’s Zoo, which is a petting zoo full of nubian goats and sheep.  It even has an alpaca!

Who wouldn’t want to pet cute goats…?  You can touch their horns and weird feet!  I love goats!  I wish I could have goats!

He knew it would make me happy.  He knows how much I love animals.

He gave me quarters to buy food from the dispensers to feed the animals.  I didn’t have my purse, so I didn’t have any money.  In fact, he told me “don’t worry about your handbag” because he would “take care of everything” before we left the house.

He took a bunch of photos of me with his cell phone.

There were all of these little children running around the petting zoo and it made me happy, but it also hurt my heart.   Because I don’t get that, and the older I get, the more unlikely it is that it will ever happen.  How is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time?

Then we walked to The Strand bookstore, and he told me that I could pick out whatever I wanted.

He’s an avid bookworm (we all love the Kindle, but let’s be frank: nothing compares to a physical book), but he didn’t leave me alone so that he could browse by himself.  He was with me the entire time.  What did he think I would do…?  Run for it?

I feel so much pressure whenever he asks me to pick something for myself because he has such a demanding sense of aesthetics. I feel like I’m being judged on my taste.

I picked out a charming Berlitz “German for Travelers” phrase book from 1954 (when “Mein Herr” was still the default polite way to address a strange man) and a Tim O’Brien fiction book, In The Lake Of The Woods.  O’Brien can turn a phrase.  I also picked a hardbound book about pirates.

Then the Collector took me to the children’s section and said, “Pick out a book for your future daughter.”

And what, o what, am I to make of that…?

Before we went home, we stopped in a Duane Reade close to his place.  He went to the makeup section where all the nail polishes are.

“Are all of these the same?  Or is one brand better superior to the other?” he asked me.

“I dunno.  I guess Essie and OPI are the best,” I said.

He picked out a sky blue one, because it matched my dress.  No man has ever bought a cosmetic for me before.

An hour later, he was painting my toenails.  No man has ever done that for me, either. Not even a client.

“Margo,” he said, bent over my feet while I laid on the sofa with my legs in his lap, “I want you to allow me at least the opportunity to make you happy.  Didn’t we have fun today?”

What could I say to that?

Punching the Collector in His Eye (Part II)

So I fell on the ground and screamed (because I was scared): “You can’t hurt me!  This is not okay!  This is not playtime!  If you touch me, it’s assault!  I’ll call the police! I’m covered in bruises! I’ll show them!

I realize this is hypocritical, given that I just punched the man in the eye (for the record, if he’d called the cops on me, I would have immediately admitted it and taken The Police Cruiser Ride of Shame to the 10th Precinct), but he wasn’t in danger of me fucking killing him.

I was afraid! He could do anything he wanted to me!  I’m naked on the floor!  Without my guns, how could I stop him?

We stared at each other, me on the floor with my arm in front of my face, and him panting.  His eye was tearing and red and his shirt tail had come out of his pants.

I saw the composure drop over his face then, like dropping the blinds.  I did not know whether this meant sanity had been restored, or things had just became even worse.

“The police.”

“Yes!”

He cleared his throat, nodded, and then started to tuck in his shirt.  When he spoke again he was out of breath but his voice was otherwise low and calm, like normal.

“Margo, look at me…and then look at yourself.  You know, Margo…you are a troubled young woman with a documented history of eating disorders and alcoholism.  You have been on medication. Sometimes, when young women are troubled, they do things to themselves.  They mutilate themselves.”

I lay there on the floor, my panic suddenly evaporated.  I could not believe what I was hearing.

He continued: “I’ve seen you do it myself.  I sent you to three therapists in the last year because I am concerned for you, Margo.  I did it because I care, and I am worried.  I sent you to rehab for the same reason.”

Shit is now occurring to me, readers, and it’s not pretty.

All I could do was whisper: “I’m not crazy.”

He shrugged.  “You’re a S&M prostitute.  I don’t hold this against you, of course, but many people might.  They might think you were crazy to do it.  And all I am is a gullible older man with a midlife crisis, who took this unstable, opportunistic girl in off the street into my beautiful home.  I’m a sucker.”

I just lay there, completely gobsmacked.  What blew my mind was that there was nothing factually inaccurate with anything he said (except about him being gullible, hardy har-har, like anyone is going to snooker the Collector…the idea of me taking advantage of him is preposterous.  Nobody takes advantage of his man).  He wasn’t lying.  It was just…the way he would twist it around to make it seem like I am a nutso basket case.  For what, out for what–to get his cash?  Even his own sons don’t worry about that, because, I’m telling you, there is no woman on earth seductive enough to persuade this guy into giving her any money he doesn’t want to!  And I don’t even do that anyway!  I’ve never done it, in my life!  I’ve always supported myself and paid my own bills!  And he knows it!  He knows what sort of person I am!

The dawning realization that this is how he would portray me to other people if we parted on bad terms…and that people would probably believe him!  I felt betrayed.  Like I was sold out, and it hadn’t even happened yet.

And then I thought: This conniving fuck has thought of everything.

He knocked me out.  Knocked…me…out.

I started sobbing, which is extremely rare for me.  I am not a crier.  I don’t even cry in therapy.  It felt like all the strength and fortitude ran out of me like water.

“You don’t care about me!  You’re a liar!”

“I love you, Margo…but do not EVER threaten me.”

He let me cry for a few minutes and then came back with a blanket to cover my nakedness.  He was perfectly calm now.  Why wouldn’t he be?  I’d capitulated and he’d regained control of the situation.

He helped me up and gave me a hug and stroked my hair.  Then he led me to the sink in my bathroom and gently told me to wash my face while he picked out some clothes for me to wear.  While I got dressed, he took out his cell phone.

“I need to call the office.  I’m going to work from home today.  I think we should spend some time together.  We are going to have a good day.”

A good day.  Whatever the hell that could mean in this situation.

“Don’t hurt me,” I sniffled.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Margo.”

Too late for that,  I thought

He called his office.  Then he said that he absolutely had to get some writing done because he was working under a deadline, but it would only take a few hours and then we could spend the rest of the day doing something fun.

He left the room and came back with a bag.

“I bought you something while you were gone!”

It was a puzzle of The Unicorn in Captivity,  (South Netherlandish, ca. 1495–1505)..  He’d bought it for me at the gift shop at The Met.

Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

“You can work on it while I write,” he said, peeling off the plastic shrink wrap.

We went to his office space and he retrieved this rolling body-pillow thing he lets me use when he wants me to be on the hardwood floor instead of using the furniture (unless I’m being disciplined or punished, of course–then I just get the cold, hard floor).

“Can I play with Abe while you write?”  Abe likes to ‘help me’ when I do anything craft-y like puzzles or wrapping gifts.

A shadow crossed his face: “I think we should focus on each other.”

Behold, the Collector: The Man Jealous of a Little Parrot. 

“He comforts me, though,” I said.  “If he poops on the floor, I’ll clean it up right away.”

“All right.  Go get him.”

I went to get Abe, but Abe did not want to come out of his cage.  Abe and seen (or at least heard) the fight and my crying, and he was upset and just wanted to hide in his little cloth hidy-hut.  It made me feel guilty.

I worked on the puzzle for a few hours while he worked at his desk.  He’d take 10-minute breaks to refresh himself and work on the puzzle with me.

“It’s lunchtime.  What would you like to eat?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Just hot chocolate for you, then.”

He sounded cheerful and pert.  His eye had stopped watering.  It was red, though.  There was no swelling.

“I’m sorry I hit you in the eye,” I said, which might or might not be true…I honestly can’t say.

“It’s okay.  It looks very macho.  I can tell the people at work that I got into a bar fight!”

The joke was kinda funny.  The Collector in a bar fight!

(Actually, he’d probably do just fine.)

“I’ll finish up in an hour, and then we can go out!  We’ll have some fun.”

Oh God, I thought.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

Punching the Collector in His Eye

I had a fight with the Collector and punched him in the eye, which resulted in an even bigger confrontation.

I have never in my life hit one of my boyfriends (or anyone else for that matter) unless he specifically wanted me to in the context of an erotic encounter.  I have never hit a partner even when I was with a douchebag who deserved it, which was most of them!  I know this sounds weird coming from a professional domme, but I’m not a violent person!  The last time I hit anyone was probably my little brother when I was twelve!

The Collector has been sending me to a hypnotherapist to help me with my concentration, alcoholism, and memory recall.  He did it for several years himself and swears that it helped him.  Perhaps it did, because his ability to recall information and recite entire conversations verbatim is superlative and it really helps him at his job.  Whenever I write anything academic or professionally it looks like a library bomb exploded around my desk; most of the Collector’s citations are memorized.

My Freudian analyst was also a personal fan and I know someone else who swears it helped them stop smoking.  The Collector pays for the therapy sessions, so told myself I should try it.

“Is it going to be like a 90s daytime talk show, where the hypnotist makes you dance around with a mop thinking it’s Frank Sinatra?”  I asked him.

“No, it’s not like that at all!” he laughed.

I didn’t care for it at first.  Hypnosis is A Real Thing, but some people take to it much more easily than others.  After several sessions I did not perceive that it was doing anything for me (although the meditation aspect was relaxing…I never tried to meditate before.  Sounds too much like prayer, which is pointless to me).

“You have to practice at it.  I’ll help you,” he said.

Well, we worked on it.  We certainly did.

I have multiple concerns, but chief among them is that I do not give a shit if I never remember parts of my childhood that I don’t already remember.   If I could get most of it wiped from my brain, like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I would do so.  Happily.

As we all know, the Collector has what might be euphemistically called boundaries issues when it comes to me.   It’s difficult to talk about because obviously Tops have boundaries issues–it’s what they do.  BDSM is partially about intimacy and (in my BDSM fantasies, at least) doing stuff that would be illegal in any other context.

We did some stuff over Christmas after I got out of rehab that I haven’t posted because I’m too self-conscious and I am pretty sure that he would shit purple twinkies if he knew I was sharing with my 8 readers.

But you know him, he always wants more, more, more!

He wanted me to work on remembering the last meal I shared with my father.

“Tacos with the rest of the family at my favorite Mexican restaurant before I left for Ph.D. school,” I said.

“No.  The last meal you shared together, just the two of you.”

I pulled a blank.

“I don’t particularly want to remember this,” I said.  It was true.  I don’t want to remember this shit.

He kept pressuring me.  A few days later he brought it up again and I was in a bad mood that morning and I snapped.  I raised my voice.

“Look, Collector!  You’re not my shrink, okay?  You don’t get an all-access VIP backstage pass to everything that goes on in my head!  In my life!  I already give you 90% of what you want, sexually!  You’re so invasive!  You’re not my psychologist!”

“I’m not your psychologist…?”  He stood there, completely unruffled by my outburst.

No!  And I don’t care how many years you spent on the couch with your analyst in London!”

“I’m not?  All of this time, you thought we were just having conversations…?”

He cocked his head to the side and then did one of his signature moves that I used to think was sexy but now drives me crazy: The Collector’s smug, condescending smirk. 

WHAT!?!?  I thought, letting the implications sink in.

I walked right over to him and punched him in the eyeball.

He didn’t even step back or raise up his hands to defend himself!  I’m sure he never thought in a million years I’d do something like that!  And I did it!  I just clobbered him upside the face! And I did a pretty good job of it, too, for a girl with scrawny bird arms who never hit anyone with a closed fist and never learned how!

And I didn’t apologize!  I didn’t ask to take him to the hospital or anything!

He yelled and put his hand over his face and bent over at the waist.

I just stood there, waiting.  I was waiting too.  As soon as his hand went down, I was going to punch him again in the same place!!!!  YEAH!!!

He finally looked up at me, but didn’t take his hand off his face.  He was breathing hard.

“You should not have done that,” he said.

“Oh, fuck you!!” I yelled.

“Go to your room RIGHT NOW and stay there until I decide what to do with you,” he said.

“I’m not going to my room!”

He took his hand away, and there were tears coming out of his eye and streaming down his face.  I really got him.   His face was all red.  It was real pain.  He was breathing hard.  The way one does.

“Then go lean over the table,” he said, panting.

Now, I know what that means: it means he’s going to beat me or fuck me or both.  I have received many beatings bent over the table, both for maintenance and for punishment.

“Fuck you!  I’m not leaning over your table!”

“DO IT!”

“NO!”

Then shit got bad.  Shit got really bad, my friends.

Then he ran over to me.  I turned my back in an instinctual move to run away from him, and he put his arms around me and lifted me off the floor. 

“Go to your room or go to the table!” He screamed.  I’ve never heard him scream except for the time he broke the door down a long time ago.

The confrontation has just escalated dramatically in a heartbeat and I’m still furious but I’m also scared because I’m vulnerable.  The Collector isn’t a big man, but he’s my height and very strong.   Besides a few bad “clients” being intimidating scary dickheads, the last time I had a man impose himself on me physically was the Surgeon when he made his final house call, and we all know how that turned out.

I started flailing and kicking around and screaming at him to let me go.  I was telling myself that I needed to go for his balls, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that and I was panicking.  We are struggling, like actual struggling, this is not funny.  I was clawing at his hands.

“See now why it suits me that you’re frail?” he screamed in my ear.

Aaaaannnnddddd….another piece of the puzzle clicks into place.

I let go of his hands and starting batting at his head.  I was doing it from behind me, so there wasn’t much leverage.

He let me go and shoved me at the same time and I fell on the floor.

You might be wondering why I didn’t run for the elevator, but what was I going to do?  I was butt-ass naked.  I didn’t have my purse or my wallet or shoes.  What was I going to do?  Run naked into the street?  Like he wouldn’t have caught me before I got to the elevator anyway?  And what was I going to do, leave Abe?

It gets worse.  This is all the writing I can bring myself to do now, but there it is.

Meet the Boys II

So, the next evening started as a scene of domestic tranquility, until it got weird and sexualized.  It was actually so normal that it struck me as bizarre, because readers will know that normal is not my thing and it was not exactly typical in my childhood homes.

Dad was in the kitchen making dinner–a pork loin–and he’d baked bread, too, so the house already smelled good.  I was in the big room playing chess with the young one. I was losing, as usual, because I’m the world’s worst chess player (I’m not so bad at the logic part, but the game involves spatial reasoning, and I can’t reason my way spatially out of a wet paper bag), but we were enjoying ourselves.

After he mopped me up with ease in about a dozen moves, I asked him if he wanted to play again.

“Yes!” he said.  “It is fun!  When I play with Father, I always lose.  Everyone always loses with him.”

Oh, believe me, I know, I thought, but of course I did not say that.

Then, I suggested that we switch colors because maybe I would get his good luck if I played black.

He said that he always played black, and so I did the next reasonable thing and challenged him to a thumb war.

It was the first time I ever touched the boy, other than when I shook his hand when I met him.  As I said in my last blog post, I’d been trying very hard to avoid even the slightest suggestion of impropriety.

Well, for whatever reason, we both found it hilarious and started laughing.  He was making these kung-fu noises before he smashed my thumb down.  We were both laughing really hard and telling each other not to cheat.

Then I said we should arm wrestle, and that was even funnier because it was even more ridiculous.  He is only 14, but he is still bigger than me and I have skinny little bird arms that have gotten even skinnier because I haven’t been able to lift weights since the grease fire (couldn’t risk opening the wounds), so the “competition” was a joke and we were both laughing our heads off like it was the funniest thing in the world.  You know how sometimes something is so funny that you can’t stop laughing…?  It was like that.  The tears were coming out and I was probably running my makeup.  I don’t know why it was so funny.

Then he suddenly stood up from the table, ran over to me, and picked me up.  He started spinning me around, making helicopter noises, until I had vertigo.  I was screaming and laughing, but I didn’t seriously tell him to put me down, so I guess it’s my fault…?

He ran with me into the kitchen to show his Dad.

“Look!  See what I’ve got!” he said.

Dad looked up from the oven, with a big smile on his face: “I see you take after me!”

The kid started laughing again and reversed himself, making car motor noises, and started to run off down the hallway.

“Hupp!  Don’t run too far with my prize, boy!” His father shouted after us, laughing.

He carried me into the reading room just off the hallway, which is essentially a minor library.  It has windows in it, and the orange sunset light was coming in, but it was a bit dark.  New York doesn’t have the amazing, world-renowned sunsets of my homeland, but sometimes the colors still come through.

Then the elder son came in.  The one who’d looked at me in my bath the night before.

I don’t think that I can convey the change of atmosphere in the room.  We both stopped laughing immediately.  You could have heard a pin drop.  It was as if the temperature dropped 20 degrees.

He strode right up to us and extended his arms…and then said, incredibly:  “It’s my turn.  Give her to me.”

What THE FUCK?!  I thought.

The young one gripped me tighter and started to back away.

“Put me down, please,” I said.  My voice was calm, not breathless or screetchy. I was suddenly scared and I wanted to re-exert control. I also noticed that in all the roughhousing, my skirt had ridden up.  I was wearing bike boyshorts underneath for modesty, so nobody was getting a show, but, when your skirt goes up, well, it’s a thing.

He did not put me down!  WHAT?

I started to try to help myself out of his arms.  I wasn’t making a huge fuss because I didn’t want to be dramatic, but I wasn’t going to just sit there and take it.  The situation had suddenly gotten weird. Also, even though I’m skinnier now, I’m not a small woman–I’m quite tall and I’m not going to let some teenager hold me after I told him to put me down.

THEN it occurred to me that he did not put me down because he was scared of his brother.  I don’t think he was ignoring me; I think he was off in his head.

Something is going on here that I don’t understand, I thought to myself. I felt I was looking at two boys that had a secret together.

The older one approached again, still holding out his arms.  Like I was a book or an inanimate object.

“Put me down NOW!” I repeated, and rolled out of his arms and onto my feet.

Then came the voice from behind us, in the doorway.  It was in his language, so I couldn’t tell what he said, but it sounded a lot like What is this?

It was Dad.  The Calvary had arrived.

He extended his hand to me and I immediately ran over to him.  I know that made me look weak, but I was scared. At the same time, I didn’t want to get the young one in trouble, because he hadn’t done anything wrong.

“(Young one) and I were just horsing around,” I said.

Dad stood there, appraising the situation.  I understood, instinctively, that the boys were afraid of him.  There was a lot of tension in the room.

He told the younger one to keep an eye on the pork loin in the oven, and then took me by the hand and pulled me down the hallway to his bedroom, where he fucked me, quickly and violently, on the carpet.  The competition–if that’s what it was–had apparently excited him.  I tried hard not to make noise, but, you know, it had to have been obvious to the boys what was happening.

Then we all ate dinner at the table.  I guess you can imagine the ambiance for that one. Dad was the only one with any appetite, but we all ate, all right.  The wit here, on the scenic Western slope, is: If he’s treatin, you best be eatin.

Secrets run in families like streams of water, down through generations.

Welcome home.

The Crate

When I came back to his house (I could come in by myself by then; all the security guards and front doormen recognized me), I found him in the living room.  He’d changed out of his suit and into gym shorts and a t-shirt.

There was packing material all over the floor–cardboard, foam–and he had a tool kit out and was…

…assembling something?

I’d seen this man assemble shit a few times before, and beyond replacing lightbulbs it always had something to do with ME, so I froze and took notice.

(The first time, it was removing the door from my bedroom.  The second, drilling a hole through his kitchen table to install an screw-eye so that I could be chained through it during dinnertime, like a prisoner in an institution. “What are you doing?  Are you really drilling a hole in your beautiful tortoiseshell furniture?!” I asked, incredulous.  I mean, this table is probably 100 years old, the material priceless and endangered, and here he is with his shirtsleeves rolled up, drilling away.  Not to mention: “How are you going to explain the hole to dinner guests?”  “Take out the hardware and cover the hole with a vase of flowers,” he said.)

“Hello, Darling,” he said, still working.  He was using manual tools and not the power screwdriver–consulting the manual.

“What is this you’re working on?”

“I bought something for you!  Ordered it online.  It just arrived today!”

I stepped closer and took a closer look at the pieces that were spread out on the floor.

It was wooden and had bars.  It looked like…

…a crib?!  For a baby?!  

For a moment, I didn’t know whether to be elated or completely horrified.  I’m going through some complex emotional issues right now concerning whether or not I’ll ever have a family, as I am rapidly approaching the later part of my child-bearing years, and I know my mother went into early menopause.  I never wanted children before, I was always against it and assumed I’d be happily childfree, but recently I guess there is something to that “biological clock” trope and I’m starting to think that if I decide that I DO want a family, I need to step on the gas.  This is completely new to me, and it’s stressful.  I know several women in their 40s who have happily born healthy babies and I still have time left to decide what I want to do, but it is stressful.

I can’t tell anyone about this anxiety.  I don’t have a shrink right now and I’m isolated.  I can only tell you, my 8 readers.

So, getting back to our narrative: I took a closer look at the packaging and what he was assembling.

It was not a crib.  It was a dog crate.  A fancy wooden dog crate.  Looks a lot like this:

 

dog crate

The first time he put me into it, we were having movie night.  He sat on the couch with the crate close by.  He gave me popcorn and a diet Pepsi I could drink through the bars with a bendy-straw.

It was not comfortable being in the cage because I’m tall and have long legs, so I couldn’t really relax, but, you know, for a few hours it’s tolerable if you don’t have joint problems and aren’t a crybaby. I did have a matress pad and a blanket.

As it ended up, he became too excited knowing that I was in the cage, and he could not focus on the movie.

He stopped it and let me out.

You can guess what happened after that.

 

Alcoholic Psych Ward with the Roommate from Hell

IMG-1462389346946-VSo, in the ICU, they need to get an IV in me.  I’ve always been a “hard prick,” as they say in the profession, because my veins are small and deep.  They usually have to go in through the hand eventually.  My nurse was really nice and trying her best, but she couldn’t get anything.  I’m not afraid of needles and, as you know, I am definitely not a baby about pain, but I had more needles in me than a fucking Christmas tree and three of them collapsed the vein, leaving me with wonderful huge bruises that I am going to somehow explain to clients.

IMG-1462389346946-V

 

They were about to bring in a physician to put the needle IN MY NECK, but another nurse finally got one in–the ulnar artery in the wrist, which is usually a last resort, but who cares, it worked.

They gave me some liquid valium and my body finally relaxed for the first time in days.  It was wonderful.  Then they started draining bags and bags of saline into my dehydrated mummy body.

The doctor on rotation, who was a woman who seemed nice and not an asshole (which is always a relief after knowing the Surgeon) came in and asked me what was going on and about my DTs and how long I’d been drinking and been sober blah blah the usual. I told her I hallucinated.

“Spiders? They almost always see spiders at night. On the ceiling,” she said.

Holy shit, I thought.

“No, there were two apparitions in my room talking to me but I couldn’t understand because they were murmuring.  I was asking them why they were there and what they wanted. I knew I was hallucinating and I would close my eyes and say to myself ‘I am Margo Adler and this is my bedroom and this cannot be happening, and when I open my eyes, they will be gone.’  But when I opened my eyes they were still there.  I knew they would go away when the daylight came.  I wasn’t scared of them because they were not trying to hurt me. I was only scared because I knew I was seeing things that were not there.  I even tried to touch them.”

“That’s a new one,” she said, not sarcastically.

She went away and I relaxed blissfully with the valium. I was extremely thirsty but they wouldn’t give me any water, just the IV.

Doctor came back in with my test results.

“Well, your liver enzymes are slightly elevated, but it’s healthy. Bad news about the pancreas. Your pancreas is really mad at you.  It’s scarred.”

“Pancreas?” I asked, confused.  Pancreas never occurred to me.  I was worried about the liver.

“It’s moderate damage and it can be at least partially healed.  For now, your stomach must remain totally empty.  Not even water.  I’ll give you small amounts of ice chips. In a few days, you can start a liquid diet.”

Well, okay.  Sorry, pancreas, but the bullshit I put you through.

Valium wore off and then shit got gnarly.  They hooked me up to an EKG and periodically my heart rate would shoot up to 170 or 180.  Then my blood pressure would drop to 85 or 90/60.  I was sweating the freezing cold.  A nice nurse wrapped me up in warm blankets. He put socks on my feet.  He was very compassionate and did not make me feel like a scumbag.

Then a psych nurse came in and asked me questions like who was the president, and what year it was, and what was my full name, and did I know where I was?  I was cogent so I knew.

They gave me pills for my heart, liquid potassium that tasted like shit (I didn’t complain), librium, and ativan.  Despite being doped to the gills, I would have attacks of pure anxiety, even terror, that would last for minutes, and I would close my eyes and shake my head and whisper no no no no no no.   I knew it was irrational because I was in a safe space and it just meant my brain was broken.

Then my legs totally cramped up and I could not bend my knees.  Get this: they put a diaper on me just in case because I could not walk to the bathroom (for the record, at least I did not need to pee my diaper, thank God). They also put an alarm under my body so that they would know if I got out of bed, because they were worried I’d fall and break my fucking skull, which is hilarious, because I couldn’t get out of that bed if a ravenous polar bear charged into the room and wanted to eat me.

“Is this normal? and my panic attacks?” I asked the nurse.

“Totally normal,” she said.

Holy shit, I thought.

“I’m not paralyzed forever, right?” I asked.

“It’ll pass,” she said.

After a day, when they were sure they had me under control and I was no longer dying, they moved me to the alcoholic psych ward.  It was small and I had only one roommate, who, blessedly, was quiet and slept all the time.  She was discharged and I had the place to myself for a few hours.  I felt good enough to watch TV, so I watched Judge Judy, which was a really bad idea.  And I sucked greedily on ice chips.

Then the nasty junkie bitch moved in.

I can’t judge addicts because I’m one myself.  But there is no reason to push it onto other people.  The staff at the hospital loved me; I overheard the nurses talking about me at shift rotation and they said I was very pleasant and “totally compliant.”  This woman was not.

She was 60 years old, a dilaudid addict who also used Oxycontin and who knows what else.  She was screaming at the staff–not politely asking or explaining–that she needed her shot RIGHT NOW because she was “in pain.”

Yeah, lady, that pain is called “withdrawal” and you have to get through it if you ever want to get healthy again.  Why are you here if you don’t want to get better?

The nurse calmly explained that she could not give her a shot for another two hours because that was the schedule.

“I’m not going to ask you again!  Give me my shot NOW!” screamed the woman, as if she had anything to threaten this nurse with.  Making demands of the staff, ha…ha…ha.  Let me know how that goes for you.

“I can’t do that for two hours.  I can give you one Oxy.”

Woman proceeded to fake-cry and whine loudly for the next two hours about being “in pain” and how this wasn’t a “real hospital” because “nobody cared about her.”

This continued for the next few days.  When she got her shot, she passed out for a few hours and blessed silence reigned once again.  I finally got to start eating pudding and chicken broth and water.  My tremors stopped.  I started to think clearly again (well, clearer).  Otherwise, I slept as much as possible, when it was quiet.

The staff would come four times a night to take my blood pressure or draw a little blood out of my hand.  It only took 5 minutes because it was just taking blood and not an IV (I was still taking saline, by the way).   I didn’t mind.  I always said thank you for your help.

The nasty junkie next door woke me up at least 4 times a night ringing madly for the nurse and demanding her dilaudid. When they explained they couldn’t give it to her yet, she’d fight with them over it, as if she was the only human being in the room and I didn’t need to sleep at 3 AM.  She started wetting the bed on purpose and saying “HA! There, YOU clean it up, since I’m sick and you won’t give me my medicine!”

The long-suffering young nurse’s assistant would sigh and say, “I’m not certified to give you any medication at all, even if a doctor said you should have it.  I can’t give any prescription meds, only things like Tylenol.”

The junkie accused her of being a liar while the poor girl dutifully cleaned the bed, changed the sheet, and got the woman a new robe.

When she wasn’t howling at the staff or complaining about her “pain,” she tried to talk to me.  Constantly.

“Aren’t these people awful?”

“Actually, everyone I’ve met has been very professional and compassionate.  I’ve been very impressed, actually.  I expected to be mostly ignored, especially because I don’t have insurance.”

“HA! I send all my medical bills to Michelle Obama!  She can pay for them, with that goddamned Obamacare!”

I bet your creditors and collections agencies are really going to respect that decision, I thought.

This woman hates the Obamas.  Especially Michelle, for some reason. Here she is, in the hospital, complaining to a complete stranger (and whoever she was talking to periodically on her cell phone) about how much she hates President Obama and Obamacare.  She even called him the N-word once. (I feel childish saying “N-word” but I also feel uncomfortable saying the word nigger, so it’s a dilemma).

“Did you know that for two years I sent so many phone calls, letters, and emails to Obama that I got notification from the government that I was forbidden to contact him anymore?  That’s why I write to Michelle instead,” she said.

Jesus fucking Christ. I interned for a US Senator.  Like all major politicians, he got a shit-ton of nasty, complaining, demanding, petulant, critical communications every single day (one of my duties was to answer some of the simpler, more common communications, but I read a lot of the others.  The most memorable was a guy who wrote his Senator a very angry email because there was a dead raccoon on the street by house, hit by a car, and it had been lying there for a week and nobody had done anything about it! I’ll never forget that one.  If it bothers you that much, jackass, get a shovel and throw it in a bag in the trash!).  It’s water off a duck’s back to politicians unless you’re sending death threats or threatening family members or doing some serious stalking, like taking pictures of their house across the street.  Do you realize how far you have to go to have the Secret Service or authorized staff visit you or send you official legal communication that you are FORBIDDEN to contact the politician again?  You have to be batshit crazy. Ted Kaczynski obsessed, although, obviously, I doubt this woman ever taught Mathematics at UC Berkeley.  Ted was nuts, but at least he had a few brain cells to rub together.

She had other noxious opinions she shared with me or with her friends on her cell phone, apropos of nothing.  She was mad about “Obamaphones.” First, the Obama administration did not, and COULD NOT, create a program to give cell phones to welfare recipients.  There is such a thing called jurisdiction.  The president cannot just do whatever the hell he feels like doing, which is why Gitmo is still open.  It is, in fact, a federal program that offers reimbursement to pre-paid cell-phone companies who offer phone service to qualified (very) low-income people. It’s a spin-off of the LIFELINE PROGRAM implemented in 1984 under that great champion of the poor, RONALD REAGAN (I know all this shit because it’s what I devoted my academic life to studying when I was a professional scholar, instead of whatever the hell it is I am today).

These “Obamaphones” are shitty little flip-open trak phones that cost $9.99 at Kmart and they get 70 free minutes a month.

Now, the most GERMANE thing here, is that I am sure this dilauded junkie is unemployed and has been for some time, unless she’s a housewife, she’s sending her bill to Michelle Obama instead of Medicaid or trying to make payments on it, AAAANNNND–

How the hell is a welfare recipient supposed to get a job, any job, without a telephone?  Think about it.  You fill out an application and the movie theater wants to hire you to work the ticket booth or snack counter. How do they contact you to come in for an interview? Or the Temp agency?  Are they supposed to send you a message by a fucking carrier pigeon?  If your kid gets sick at school, how are they going to reach you to come pick her up?

On the third day, I was coherent enough to speak intelligently and I was completely fed up with her.

“I’m sending my bill to Michelle Obama!” she repeated for the millionth time, like Michelle held a gun to her head and made her a pathetic bitter narcotic junkie. Like Michelle is actually going to reach into her handbag and cut a check.  Maybe send flowers and a “Get well soon!” card.

“I think Michelle’s great! I actively campaigned for Obama and voted for him both times, and my candidate won, both times!  I also interned for (famous Democratic Senator junkie lady hates), and I used his letter of recommendation to help me get into my Ph.D program in New York (junkie lady hates NYC and San Francisco)!”

(Now, it’s true that a few of these statements are exaggerations or lies–the Senator did write me a letter, but I was only an undergrad, for example–but who cares?  It’s not like I was lying to the IRS.  I was just lying to piss her off.)

Her mouth dropped open.  She’s one of those conservatives who lives in such a tight little conservative bubble, such an echo chamber–all Fox news, all talk radio, all Republican friends, all Free Republic forum (if this babe can even write), all conservative Church–that she just automatically assumes everyone thinks like she does.  She thinks leftists can only be identified if they’re wearing tie-dyed t-shirts, man-sandals, and peace medallions, coming back from Burning Man.

She never spoke to me again, which was a huge relief. The whining and fake crying and transparent attempts to manipulate the staff continued.  She refused to let them bathe her, either in the shower or a sponge birdbath.  She complained about the food, as if it wasn’t being made in a hospital (I bet when she’s home high on narcotics she’s a real Cordon Bleu chef, boy, I wish I was invited to some of her dinner parties!).

Meanwhile, I was getting healthier every day.  I could read again, so I read Harper’s and National Geographic.  My legs worked again and they let me go for short walks with a walker (just in case) up and down the hall a few times.  I became fatigued very quickly, but that’s because I was still sick and I couldn’t have been eating more than 600 kcal/day.  It was still pudding and broth for every meal.  Sometimes chocolate milk.

A group of residents from the local med school came to see me.  I knew they were residents because they were so young, and in a group. I apologized for looking like a scrub (unwashed hair, no makeup).  I tried to make a joke: “I didn’t think I was going to run into Liam Neeson around here!”

They asked me all about the symptoms I had before I came in and then told me that all my test signs had improved, and my liver enzymes were down (already?) and even my pancreas looked better and my blood pressure was stable and blah blah blah.  They wanted to see if I could eat solid food.

I told them that it hurt really, really badly to swallow.  Not so much in my throat, but further down.

That is because I burned the hell out of my esophagus puking up acidic stomach bile for 11 hours (I’m on 3 medications for that now so that it can heal and I can eat.  God bless lidocaine and sucralfate).  They said, “Well, GERD does hurt.”  No, doc, this is not just GERD.

Anyway, I wanted to get out of there, so I forced myself to eat a small pancake.  It hurt.  I ate it anyway.  Once it was in my stomach, it didn’t hurt at all.  It was just getting it down.

Then I did something bad.  I cheated.

I closed the curtain to my room, wrapped the other pancake in a paper towel, and shoved it down the front of my underwear.  I left two pieces on the plate to say that I “couldn’t finish it.”  Ah yes, an old trick from my anorexic days.  I know how to get rid of food or hide it secretly or discreetly in a million ways.

I went to the bathroom, broke it up into lots of little pieces, and flushed it in 3 parts.

The doctors were happy.  I was free to go.  IV came out.  Mom drove me back to her house, where I stayed in the guest bedroom for a week.  I went to see a Gastro doc and he put me on these meds that are making me better already and I can drink water in small mouthfuls.  I can’t eat real food easily yet, but I can eat yogurt and frozen yogurt and bananas (even tho I hate bananas, but they are good for my heart, and soft, and I do not want to have a heart attack).  I drink Ensure, that drink for old people that is a meal replacement, and slim-fast, which reminds me of (bad) old times, but at least it has lots of nutrition.  I make protein shakes with soy milk. If I have to eat something more substantial, I take a dose of lidocaine, which works for about 30 minutes.  That shit is great.

My house is clean because I had it cleaned by a professional cleaner before I got home.  I am still weak and I have to rest for 30 minutes after I do anything strenuous, but my plants are alive and Abe is back home, and last night I slept for 9 hours in my nice clean bed, and I didn’t see any shadow men.

And I lost almost 15 lbs.  So, something good came out of it.  From the outside, I look great.  Healthy.

The inside, though, is not so pretty.

Margo Tries to Detox at Home (Bad Idea)

Fasten your safety belts, readers, because this isn’t going to be pretty…but it will be honest.

I took a week off from work and cleared my schedule because I intended to hole up in my apartment for about six days and detox (go through withdrawals and stabilize).  I paid all my bills so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it, bought some Pedialyte, went home, and prepared for the worst.

I’d been drinking for 8 weeks, excepting the week before, when I tried to detox in 4 days and it just wasn’t enough time and I had to give up and drink to get back to work (see the previous post “Sucky Update.”).  Eight weeks, after over a year and a half of sobriety.  They told me in rehab that if I started drinking again, my worst symptoms would come back almost immediately–that I could have a few drinking and feel healthy and “normal” for maybe a few days, and then everything would turn to shit almost overnight and I’d be back in alcoholic hell again.  They said you can’t start fresh again, it will never be like it was when you first started, your physiology has permanently changed.

Well, I must admit that this did not make sense to me.  I thought, if your body is recovered, how could you get sick again so quickly?

Well, as usual, the people in rehab were right.  They are the professionals, after all.

I’m not going to lie to you: I was drinking a lot in those eight weeks.  The only times I was (mostly) sober were when I was working, because it’s unprofessional and rude to be intoxicated, not to mention extremely dangerous for the woman alone with a strange man in a room.

Moving on: at first, the withdrawals were the usual bullshit.  Tremors, inability to read or concentrate, chills and sweats, insomnia, nightmares about drinking, and the inability to be comfortable in any position.  Hearing nonexistent white noise.  No appetite; mild nausea.  It’s very unpleasant, but I’ve been through it about five times before, and it’s…manageable.  It’s a bit like having a very bad stomach flu or food poisoning.

The only good news: no hallucinations of people in my bedroom at night.  No hallucinations this time.  THANK GOD.  Also, I didn’t have any seizures, which I hear is pretty common.

On the sixth day (I think it was the 6th day), things got much, much worse.

I vomited for eleven hours. I am not exaggerating. Every five minutes, I dry-heaved or wretched up foamy bile, and, let me tell you, it hurt like hell.  It was the worst part of the entire time. I was scared to puke in my bed, because it’s the only place in my apartment I have to lie down (my sofa’s a love seat), so I just sat on the floor and used this plastic container I use to hand-wash clothes.  There was absolutely nothing in my stomach because the only thing I’d eaten in 12 days was 4 chicken wings (I kept ordering food because I knew I had to eat SOMETHING, but when it came, I couldn’t even stand the sight of it.  Money well spent, there.  I was living off of calories from alcohol and the juice I sometimes mixed it with.  I’m sure my stomach really appreciated that alcohol-and-acidic juice combo.  I’m sure my stomach was saying “Hey thanks for putting me through this shit, Margo!).  I was throwing up nothing but bile, stomach acid.  It hurt, the constant clenching of my torso hurt, and I burned the hell out of esophagus.  I’m on medication for that right now.

Next up: my legs started twitching and cramping.  I could not stand without something to pull myself up with, like an old person.  I could not walk. I had to scoot myself to the bathroom (at least I could urinate–what, I’m not sure, because I couldn’t hold down water–but at least it meant my kidneys were not shutting down).

Then, the chest pain, a very powerful pain in the center of my chest over my breastbone.  It happened more than once, and it hurt a lot.  I was wondering if I was having a heart attack.

I thought: I am going to die alone in this apartment, nobody’s going to find me until my body starts to smell, and my bird is going to die of starvation.

I threw in the towel.  I knew going to the hospital would cost me about $60k, but, hey, it beats being dead.

I texted my mother (hard to do with shaking hands) to let her know where I would be and that I was calling a cab.  She insisted on taking me herself.  The last thing I needed was her judgmental horseshit while I was in the process of dying.  I said she could go back to hating me in a few days, but I didn’t need it right now.  She promised she would not scream and only try to help.  I warned  her that she didn’t want to see me this way and that I looked like hell.

I took 3 shots of cheap mouthwash (a first for me–I’ve never been that desperate before, but there was no way in hell that I could get to a store without, say, one of those motorized wheelchairs used by the disabled and obese. Couldn’t drive and sure and hell couldn’t walk), which is poisonous but also 20% alcohol, so that I could stabilize just a little bit.  Drinking the mouthwash was disgusting and degrading and it said on the back of the bottle not to drink it and to call Poison Control Center immediately.  Oh well.

I put on a dress and a coat, combed my hair and put it into a ponytail, and put Abe in his kennel.  Mom arrived and I wouldn’t let her inside because I didn’t want her to see that I’d trashed my beautiful apartment and there was a pizza box on the floor and I had about ten empties laying around my desk and my plants were dying.  Disgusting, right?

I insisted that we take Abe to the boarder’s first because I didn’t know how long I’d be gone.  Mom took him inside for me because I know the owners of this place and I didn’t want them to see me this way.

Then we went to the ER.  They gave me an EKG and immediately admitted me to the ICU–that’s right, I jumped the line, baby!  After a day there, the alcoholic psych ward.  In the loony bin, just like my (not) dear old Dad, Franz.

Second half of the story next installment.