Mike came home from work and I told him Sheila was coming home tomorrow (Saturday) and he said he would take us all to pick her up. The next thing he said was we will have to make the most of tonight as all hell will probably break loose when Sheila comes home. I knew what he meant as the three of them together in normal circumstances was a rowdy affair with arguments left right and centre but I thought he could have at least show some pleasure at having her home and well. That was Mike if everybody was happy then he would have to put an end to it somehow.
Lesley and Stephen beat a hasty retreat upstairs, they knew if they stayed there he would start on them. I just did not know what his problem was. You would think that he would be pleased that everyone was happy and having fun but no that was a signal for him to put an end to it by being downright nasty for no reason other then he was unable to join in and jealous.
Lesley and I picked out some really nice clothes for Sheila to come home in poor kid hadn’t worn anything other than a nighties and dressing gown. While they had been upstairs they had drawn a picture each for her to welcome her home. The next morning came we all got ready and off we went. Lesley and Stephen had to wait in the visitor room while Mike and I went to fetch Sheila. She ran to the door and said have you brought my clothes. I said that I had and she started getting dressed she just couldn’t wait to get out of there.
The nurse gave us the medication for Sheila and said if we were at all worried then to ring the ward. She said she would probably be a bit of a handful and prone to tantrums and to try and humour her as much as possible. We also had to massage her legs as she still had the lumps there from the injections and they were very painful.
Out we went it was the first time for 4weeks that Sheila had been outside in the fresh air. She was so excited. We all got in the car and off we went. Home James don’t spare the horses.
When we got home Sheila said it all looked different but it wasn’t, we hadn’t done a thing. First thing she did was go upstairs to her bedroom. I don’t think she could believe she was home at last. She loved the drawings Lesley and Stephen had done.
My Mum and Dad had come over for the day to see Sheila and they couldn’t believe how much weight she had lost, she was skinny before the illness now she looked as if you could blow her over. With lots of good food and lots of love I was sure she would soon get back to her old self.
My Mum said they were thinking of moving back to Yorkshire to try and take Dennis away from the drugs in London. They had arranged to go and stay at my Grans’ for a long weekend and try and find somewhere to live . I would miss them so much. First my Mum had to go into hospital for an operation ,she had a prolapsed womb and they were going to stitch it back into place. It didn’t sound very nice, she was due to go into St Georges Hospital at Hyde Park a week on Monday.
Sheila was an absolute nightmare nothing we did was right. She would sit in the middle of the room and just scream she wouldn’t let any one near her. She also started to wet her pants something she had never done. I knew what was causing this I was convinced she was blaming me , in fact all of us for her being put into hospital and this was her way of paying us back.
I really tried to be patient with her but nothing worked. She hardly slept, she would go in the garden with Stephen and Lesley and cause mayhem when they retaliated she would sit and scream I would fly downstairs thinking she was really hurt but no just having a tantrum. I was at the end of my tether I really didn’t know how to handle her.
We were all sat at the table one day having dinner and she decided she was going to not use her knife and fork properly Mike was annoyed with her and kept telling her to eat properly, I could see he was losing his temper and I asked him to be patient with her but no he got up and I couldn’t believe my eyes he just slapped her on her legs. I screamed at him that her legs were really painful as he well knew and he said well it might teach her then. Some logic?. She was in such agony I could have killed him how nasty could a Dad be. His next comment was get her out of here or she will get another slap. It was now turning into a slanging match I said he would have to get past me first. Lesley and Stephen were sat there terrified I said to them to come with Sheila and I upstairs.
Off we went Mike didn’t say a thing I actually think he had forgotten about Sheila’s legs in that instant but instead of being a man and picking her up and apologising , no he had to play the non caring idiot. Another nail in the coffin of our relationship. He had done far too many things for it ever to be right again.
I know Sheila was a terror but we were told there would be problems. I knew I faced a battle with her and also Mike to try and keep the peace. I decided I was going to ring the hospital the next morning and explain Sheilas’ uncontrollable outbursts and ask what I could do to try and avert them . They were so bad she was hyperventilating, sweating and really in a terrible way. Now Mike was playing up I had to do something as our house would be hell.
I managed to speak to Sheilas’ doctor and he said he would ring my GP and tell him to prescribe a sedative. He said it was very strong and I should only use it when I could see she was in danger of losing it. He said it would only take a very short time to work. He also said he knew he could trust me not to abuse it as we had got to know each other during the time she was in the hospital. I was also to give her a spoonful of this medicine at night five minutes before bedtime this would allow all of us to get some sleep. He suggested this for just 5 nights and then hopefully she would have got out of the habit. He also said he thought my theory of her blaming us was spot on and that it would be short lived. I thanked him and he said he would make an appointment to see her in 2 weeks to see how things were then.
The next day I went to the GP and sure enough he had a prescription for me. He said to use it sparingly and any further problems to go and see him as the consultant had briefed him.
Off I went to the chemist I was a bit scared about this medicine I didn’t really want to dose her up but for all our sakes we had to do something, especially for Sheila.
The chemist warned me this medicine was very strong I said I was well aware of the does and don’ts . The medicine was a lovely deep pink and appeared to be very thick. At least she would like the colour.
When I got home she wanted to try it but I tried to explain it was only for emergencies, I didn’t want to say when you lose control or she would have done it there and then. She really was manipulating us all.
She also started to stutter and she was complaining of not being able to see properly . I took her to the doctors and he gave her a very simple eye test and she failed miserably so we had to go to the opticians. The doctor seemed to think the stuttering and bad eye sight was all relative to the meningitis and thought over time would return to normal, I wasn’t so sure but hoped he was right.
She had her eye test and the optician said she definitely needed glasses her sight was quite bad. They didn’t have any decent glasses then for children so she had to have the horrible wire ones. They would be ready in a week.
It was a roasting hot day so I got the paddling pool out for the kids, they loved it jumping in and out until of course Sheila decided she had had enough and pulled out the plug. Lesley and Stephen were not amused and I couldn’t fill it again it was such a palaver with the kitchen being on the first floor. I told her that was a nasty thing to do and to apologise. She absolutely refused so I said she had to go indoors until she could be reasonable. That did it a tantrum of all tantrums she sat on the floor and screamed until she went blue in the face Maureen next door called out of her window to see what was wrong she was convinced she had been hurt, such was the racket. I managed to half carry and half drag her upstairs she was in a real state she had wet herself. I went and got the medicine this was the first time she had had any and at first knocked it out of my hand but I wouldn’t give in I poured another spoonful and this time managed to get her to swallow it. Well, you just wouldn’t believe it in less than 3 minutes she was fast asleep on my lap . Miracle medicine or what. I laid her on the sofa and covered her. I was a bit scared I had never seen anything work as quick as this.
The medicine became known as the knockout drops. I found it became a deterrent as she would start going mad and as soon as I went for the medicine she would say”no Mummy no knockout drops” and would stop it there and then . Not every time but 3 out of 4 times. Thank goodness.
She got her glasses but really didn’t want to put them on but when she did she said I can see everything now. The tantrums were much less frequent and life was slowly returning to some kind of normality.
I asked Mike how the arrears on the rent and car was going and he said fine he had nearly caught up. Why did I not believe him I had this niggling feeling that things were not all hunky dory. Still I had Sheila to contend with he could get on with it.
My Mum had been in hospital and had her operation I did manage to visit her but only once. I didn’t dare leave Sheila with Mike instead of a teaspoonful of medicine he would probably give her the whole bottle, so I had to wait until Linda could come over. My Mum was only in for a week and said she felt much better. Dennis was still up to his tricks and they were seriously going to try and find somewhere to live in Rotherham. In fact they were going that weekend. They were really worried as to what they would come back to but he wouldn’t go with them or come to stay with us which to be honest I was quite glad . I had enough going on here .
I got a call from my Mum saying the house next door to my Uncle Doug was up for rent . It was a beautiful house, exactly the same as Doug’s very impressive. They look really big from outside with lovely bay windows but inside there are only two double size bedrooms and just a box room. Downstairs there was a lounge and a living room and the tiniest kitchen you have ever seen. It had large front and back gardens. I said if they were serious about moving to Rotherham then they should take it as for one thing it was right next door to her brother Doug and his wife Pat , it was close to the shops and just a lovely place to live. The name of the road was Worrygoose Lane.
She said then she would take it if I approved. She said my Dad was thrilled to bits he got on really well with our Doug. I said I would help with the packing and Mike would help with the removal if they decided to do it themselves . I arranged that Mike myself and the kids would go to see them next weekend and we could sort things out. Doug had offered to pay there rent for a month or two to give them time to get moved. A few years ago Doug had won the football pools about £30,000 which in 1959 was a fortune actually its quite a lot now.
Sheila was getting much better the tantrums were really few and far between, the stuttering was quite bad and always seemed worse when Mike was around. She had stopped wetting herself. I think she thought she had punished me enough. I still think that was what it was all about. She was still very hyper but we could control it.
My Mum rang me again and said Dennis had had a party and the living room door was smashed the carpets all stained she said it was an awful mess. Needless to say this definitely decided them about the house in Rotherham.
We went to my Mum and Dads as arranged on the following Saturday and we were sat in the living room when my Dad noticed that the wooden surround to the fireplace was all out of line. He had built it and said it couldn’t have moved its self. He went and started to dismantle it when a couple of watches and some rings came tumbling down he was dumbstruck he looked at the watches and realised they were really expensive gold watches and rings. Mum and Dad looked at each other and said Dennis. My Dad gathered them up and put them in a drawer , he couldn’t wait for Dennis to come home , he said he wouldnt be home until we had gone as he couldn’t face me ,I hadn’t seen him for months. My Dads theory was that he was hiding them for someone probably in exchange for drugs.
I was having difficulty realising that my brother who meant the world to me was leading this sordid seedy life. My Mum said she didn’t think he had been near a bath or soap. He was really letting himself go. That’s the drug culture for you.
My Mum said she thought Sheila was looking much better and seemed more relaxed. I said it had been a difficult time but we had survived to tell the tale. It was almost time for Lesley to go back to school after the summer holidays. I wanted to have a word with the doctor to confirm it will be ok for Sheila to go back to nursery , Stephen was looking forward to it . They had been going 3 mornings a week to the Community Centre Nursery but of course Sheila hadn’t been for a long time.
The doctor said he thought Sheila would be fine to go to nursery just that I should explain the situation to the lady in charge just to make her aware.
I was looking through the jobs page in the local paper and saw an advert for part-time women for a statistics firm in Berkhamsted with Mike working nights at Texaco we could cope with me doing 4 hrs in the afternoons and the money would certainly come in handy. I mentioned it to Mike and he was all for it and said he would look after the kids. Sheila was so much better now I didn’t mind leaving her with him.
I rang the company and was asked to go that afternoon for an interview as they had so much work on. Mike took me as if I got the job he would have to do every day and pick me up. I got the job it was coding the sheets of market research people into ledgers quite straight forward really. I was to start the following Monday the day the kids went back to school / nursery which worked out well. Mike would only have to pick them up from school and look after them for about an hour then they would all come to pick me up. It sounded perfect in theory.
Monday soon came I got the Lesley off to school had a word with the teacher about Sheila ,she seemed very understanding. Did a bit of housework, couldn’t do much as Mike was in bed he worked permanent nights now. I got lunch ready for us and then took them to nursery, they were really excited. I came back Mike was up and we left to start my job. I hadn’t worked for 7 yrs it was a bit scary.
It went ok a bit stressful trying to pick it up but by the end I had sussed it and tomorrow would be a doddle, I hoped.
I went outside and there were my beautiful family waiting for me all clamouring to tell me about there first day at school and nursery. Sheila and Stephen had had a great time and Lesley she had been a bit apprehensive as she had a new teacher this term but she said she was really nice.
So far so good everything had been fine. The week passed without any major trauma and I got my first pay packet for 7 yrs what a thrill ,shame I had to give it to Mike to put towards the bills but that was the reason I was doing it. I went to work the following Monday and enjoyed it they were a good bunch of people we did have a laugh. I went out to find Mike but I couldn’t see the car anywhere. I hoped he hadn’t forgotten me, when suddenly a strange voice shouted my name I turned round and it was Terry, Maureens husband who lived next door. He said Mike had crashed the car going home after dropping me off he had hurt his ribs and Stephen had smashed his face and Sheila had hurt a finger. I tried to ask him how bad Stephens face was but he just said it was well bashed. Evidently they had been at the hospital all afternoon. I was terrified . I was really getting nothing out of Terry. I thanked him for picking me up and dashed indoors
Mike looked in agony he had broken a couple of ribs.Stephen had just hit his nose nothing broken just a bit sore. Sheila’s finger had been bent backwards but was fine now. Lesley was playing with her friend so wasn’t in the car. Terry had really panicked me , talk about blowing things out of proportion . It could have been much worse, evidently the road was muddy and Mikes car and somebody else coming the opposite way just slid into each other. They called an ambulance because the children were screaming and no one new what was wrong with them. The police decided it was no-ones fault and no charges were brought.
Of course this had serious repercussions for us, firstly I would have to give up my job as I couldn’t get there without a car and secondly Mike only had third party fire and theft insurance and as the car was a write-off we wouldn’t get a penny. If it had been the other guys fault we could have claimed off his insurance but of course the police had decided they were both to blame equally. So Mike would still have to pay the payments on the car.