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Abused, Conquered, Alive is a touching memoir of the effects of abuse and the hope that victims might be able to find peace. Author Mary Proctor Reed talks about the different types of abuse she experienced as a child and as an adult. She also chronicles the life she lived as an adult—as a loving wife and mother. She explains the forms that abuse can take and how each person can conquer the abuse and take back his or her life. The good news is that there is life beyond the ...
Abused, Conquered, Alive is a touching memoir of the effects of abuse and the hope that victims might be able to find peace. Author Mary Proctor Reed talks about the different types of abuse she experienced as a child and as an adult. She also chronicles the life she lived as an adult—as a loving wife and mother. She explains the forms that abuse can take and how each person can conquer the abuse and take back his or her life. The good news is that there is life beyond the abuse, and it is within the reach of each victim.
The author shares poignant memories of her husband, Mike, and his devastating fight with melanoma skin cancer along with the challenges they faced in their marriage. As a pastor, Mike had to minister to many different people while struggling with his disease for eleven years. Author Reed takes us through the last hours of his life and the feelings of shock as the realization that he was gone took hold of her. She offers hope to all who have experienced abuse and the understanding that even when we feel conquered, through God’s love we can live and love again.
By reading Abused, Conquered, Alive, those who have suffered abuse can find hope and faith again.
"Daddy, don't die!"
"Daddy, please, don't die!"
Rachelle cried in terror, as she sat on her daddy's bed next to his pillow frantically watching her big sister, Mary Michelle, help as I gave cardio pulmonary resuscitation to their daddy, Michael, the love of my life.
For the last few years Michael was being eaten up with melanoma cancer. It started out as a little dark brown mole in the middle of his back. Then there was a place that was as big as my hand, if my fingers were spread out that was in the middle of my husband's back, which was where skin and tissue had been removed to save his life.
Skin was taken from a place on one of his thighs, and grafted onto his back to cover up the place where the skin and tissue was gone. The doctor talked to me that said if Michael had not gotten the surgery when he did, within six weeks he might have died.
Throughout the next couple of years, Michael had melanoma skin cancer taken off several areas of his body. Then the melanoma cancer showed up inside of his organs. When he went to the toilet, both urinating and pooping it was red with blood.
After Michael was in the intensive care area of the hospital for a few days, he got to come home. Then he went through a series of chemotherapy treatments that caused him to get weak and very sick to his stomach. He was nauseated and he threw up, so often, that he got to where he would cry real easy. And he was in constant unbearable pain.
Friends came to our home and prayed for him, but he kept on getting sicker. At the same time he was depressed, and he lost his appetite, so he started losing weight.
Then my husband was signed up with hospice, because the doctor said that Michael might only have a few days to live, or a few weeks to live. Although, I never gave up on my husband, and I felt like he would be well and strong again, and he would live, for a long time.
But my husband died!
The young hospice nurse told everybody that was at our home on Lake Ridge Road in Danville, Illinois, to go home, because it was after midnight, and Michael needed to be able to sleep. Ina, the hospice nurse that was in charge of his care would come over, and see my husband in the morning.
And this young hospice nurse would not let anybody listen to me that my husband was too sick to be at home. She said that I was just a nursing student without any experience, and she was an experienced registered nurse with hospice.
She thought that Michael was going to be all right, and that he would still be here in the morning. And she even went to the extent of saying that she promised Michael would still be here in the morning. Then the young hospice nurse made a sign over her heart in the form of a cross, that she was sure that everybody could go on home, and get a good night sleep, because Michael would still be alive in the morning.
He was having trouble breathing, but the hospice nurse got him to take morphine that was prescribed for pain. So she said that he would start breathing better and relax, and then after he got a good night sleep, he would be all right in the morning.
After everybody left our home from seeing Michael, my little daughter, Rachelle, went to bed, and she was so exhausted from all of the company staying so late that she went right to sleep. And we were encouraged that the hospice nurse was so confident that Michael would be all right, after he got to sleep that night.
I stayed in our bedroom and got ready for bed. And I was still very worried about my husband, so I kept my eyes on him, as I prepared myself to go to bed. And of course, I was going to sleep in our bed with my husband, as usual.
Michael was still breathing, and I thought he was going to sleep, so I thought it would be a good time for me to use the restroom that was close to our bedroom, where he was lying on our bed.
I was in the restroom, for maybe ten minutes, and I was brushing my teeth, as I walked back into our bedroom to check on my husband. And I was very much surprised to see Michael looking at me, because he had his eyes closed the entire time that his family and the pastor, and the hospice nurse were at our home.
So I was excited to see that my husband was looking at me, because he had a big smile on his face. And he put his hand up toward me, and motioned for me to come to him.
I quickly put my toothbrush down that I was brushing my teeth with when I was checking on Michael, and hurried over to him. And I thought he wanted me to make love with him, because he was smiling the way he did when we would decide to make love.
So I ran to our bed, and jumped up on our bed, and I was looking at him all of that time. But then his hand fell down on the bed, and I realized that he was not breathing, anymore.
And I looked into Michael's eyes and saw that he had no sparkle in them, and they looked like marbles that had lost their polish.
Then I very quickly rushed towards my husband, and put my face close to his face to see if he was, maybe, breathing real shallow like. But he wasn't that I could tell, so I panicked!
I cried out loud into my husband's face, "Mike!"
And I was right beside my husband, with my face and my lips close to his, hoping he would acknowledge me.
And, I cried out again to my husband because I wanted him to somehow show me some kind of expression, or any kind of life!
I loved and still do love my husband, and he needed to respond to me! But Michael did not breathe, or move, or anything!
So, I quickly placed one of my hands on my husband's forehead and pushed his head back, as I was lifting his chin up with my other hand the way I was taught how to give somebody breaths who was not breathing.
And I quickly placed my mouth on Michael's mouth, and I forced out a long slow breath as best I could. Then I forced out another long slow breath into my husband's mouth.
At the same time I was stifling panicky cries, because I was scared to death that my husband was not breathing, or maybe he was, and I could not hear or see him breathe!
Then I put my fingers on my husband's neck on his carotid artery to check his pulse, to see if he was alive.
Michael could not be dead!
But I could not be so panicky that I lost it, because my husband needed for me to save him!
So, I very quickly positioned my husband's head, so that I was tilting his head backwards with one of my hands, and lifting his chin up with my other hand, enough to keep his mouth open. I gave him two, long, slow, breaths, and I tried to find a pulse on my husband's carotid artery on his neck. I could not find a pulse, so I gave my husband fifteen compressions, as I counted out loud.
Then I very quickly gave my husband two, slow, long, breaths, and I yelled and screamed in my anguish, as loud as I could. So my daughter, Mary Michelle, heard me and came running to me.
I yelled, "Mary Michelle, get up here, your dad's dying!"
Mary Michelle was screaming and crying and waking up her little sister, Mary Rachelle, to come into the bedroom where Daddy was.
And I tried to find a pulse on my husband's carotid artery on his neck, but I could not find a pulse. So I did fifteen chest compressions that were very hard to do, because I was trying my very best to push down on his chest, one and a half to two inches, the way I had been taught in CPR, Cardio Pulmonary Recitation classes.
And I told my oldest daughter, Mary Michelle, to help me give her daddy CPR.
I counted our loud, "One, and two, and three, and four, and five, and six, and seven, and eight, and nine, and ten, and eleven, and twelve, and thirteen, and fourteen, and fifteen".
I gave my husband two more slow, long breaths, and I could hear Mary Michelle, frantically yelling and crying.
Mary yelled, "Rachelle, wake up, Dad's dying!"
Rachelle was sound asleep, and to be told to wake up like that was more than any little girl should, ever, have to go through, in her entire life!
But bless her heart, Mary Michelle was, certainly scared to death, and she needed to help her mommy, so she did not have time to be of comfort to her little sister, or anybody else.
Rachelle just turned eleven-years-old on April 25, and it was May 6, 1993, now, and it was probably around 12:40 am, by now. And she was awakened with a scream from her sister, Mary Michelle that "Dad's dying!"
My little daughter, Rachelle, jumped out of her canopy bed and ran into our bedroom where I was doing CPR on her daddy. She jumped up on our bed, and quickly maintained her position at the top of her daddy's head, because that was where she had been sitting for so long, when Michael's family, Pastor Rogers, and the hospice nurse had been at our home that night. And she had been sitting there, tenderly washing her daddy's forehead and face, with a cool washcloth.
Mary Michelle was on the other side of her daddy, by about the time I had finished saying, "and twelve". She saw me practice doing CPR on a big doll that she had when she was Rachelle's age. And I continued to keep up with CPR classes for several years, so both of my daughters watched me practice doing CPR on the big doll, then they would laugh because the doll's head would pop off, when I gave it chest compressions.
However, I had never done CPR on a person before, and I was doing the very best that I could, as I told Mary Michelle to do the compressions for me.
And she was screaming and crying, and Rachelle was screaming, "Daddy! Don't die!"
I did not know who called Michael's sister, Jeanie, but she was on the phone, and she was hearing what was going on. We had Michael's parents' phone number, and his sister and brother's phone numbers on a paper next to a blue, princess telephone that was on the nightstand, on my side of the bed. So, of course, Jeanie and Keith let everybody know that had been at our home with Michael that night.
Mary Michelle gave her daddy fifteen compressions, that she knew how to do and was doing perfectly. She was so scared that her daddy was dying, that she pushed every bit of two inches into his chest. And I gave my husband two more slow, long breaths, and I told my oldest, daughter, Mary Michelle, to give her daddy fifteen more compressions, and to count out loud.
We did this cycle over and over, for four cycles, and I gave Michael two more, long, slow breaths, and then I rechecked Michael's carotid artery in his neck, but there still was no pulse!
Mary Michelle cried very loudly, as she counted out loud again, and gave her daddy compressions on the lower half of her daddy's sternum, the way she saw me doing it, before she did the compressions for me.
I did all of the breaths into her daddy's mouth, and I held his head tilted backwards, and his chin lifted the way I was taught to do, and we did this for four more cycles. Mary Michelle would give fifteen compressions to my two, long, slow breaths, and then I rechecked
Michael's carotid artery in his neck, and there was still no pulse! Mary Michelle was still screaming and crying out loud, "Mommy, stop, you can't help Dad anymore, it's too late, please, stop, Mommy!"
And, I commanded Mary Michelle, "Keep on giving him compressions and count out loud! I will give him all the breaths; you will not have to give him any breaths!"
I did not want my daughter to have to put her mouth over her daddy's mouth, because it was very slimy. And it smelled like rotten deer meat that I cooked one time that we threw out, because it smelled like poop.
So, Mary Michelle gave her daddy compressions, and she cried out loud, "One, and two, and three, and four, and five, and six, and seven, and eight, and nine, and ten, and eleven, and twelve, and thirteen, and fourteen, and fifteen!"
Then I gave my husband two more, long, slow, deep breaths the way I was taught when I took CPR classes, and I kept his head tilted backwards, and his chin lifted as I gave the breaths.
Then Pastor Rogers and somebody else were suddenly in our bedroom right next to Mary Michelle, who was screaming and crying. And Rachelle was in the room with us, while her sister and I were giving her daddy CPR.
And, I had not said a word to my baby, Rachelle, the entire time that I was trying to save her daddy's life.
Because I was trying my very best to not lose it, and I had to save my husband's life!
I could not allow myself to cry, because I had to do exactly what I needed to do, to try my best to save Michael's life!
Pastor Rogers was next to Mary Michelle, and she was crying and shaking, so badly, that it was a miracle in itself, that my daughter did not have a nervous breakdown, right then and there!
And, it was a miracle that Rachelle my little, baby girl that was verily eleven-years-old did not have a heart attack and die! When her daddy was getting all that CPR done on him for several minutes!
If I had ever thought in a million years that my husband, Michael Proctor the first, was going to die that night, I would have, at the very least, told not only Pastor Rogers to stay. Also, I would have told all of my husband's family to stay, and not leave us alone with Michael. And I would have told my husband's sister, and her husband, to help me get Michael to the emergency room.
Also, my brother-in-law, Keith, had asked me when the hospice nurse was at our home, and Michael was so sick, if I wanted him to call our son, Mike. But I did not think Mike needed to come, because this hospice nurse kept on insisting that my husband was just very tired, because he had not been getting very much sleep, for the last few months. However, I was very glad that Keith went on ahead and called my son.
My son, Mike, got an emergency phone call from his Uncle Keith to come right away, if he wanted to see his dad, because Michael was not looking good, at all. And at that time, my son was in training with the state for a job. And my son's friends were very helpful to him, because they had him immediately get into their vehicle, and drove as fast as they could, all the way to our home, and that was very good.
However, if I had even thought for one moment that his daddy was going to die that night, I would have not only had somebody take Michael to the emergency room at the hospital, I would have also had somebody call Mike a lot sooner than he was called.
After Reverend Rogers came into our home, and heard Mary Michelle and Rachelle crying loudly, he came into the bedroom where I was giving Michael mouth–to-mouth long, deep breaths. And I don't know who all was with him, and I never knew how they all got into our home; because I thought the front door was locked.
Anyway, Reverend Rogers said, "Stop, Mary, he's dead!"
And, that was when I looked up, after I gave my husband, Michael, the second long, deep breath, and I saw Reverend Rogers standing next to my daughter, Mary Michelle, who was just, hysterically, crying!
Then I loosened my hands from off the top of my husband's forehead and his chin, and I gently and lovingly repositioned his head, so that it was lying flat on our bed with his face turned straight up towards the ceiling.
And I crawled under the sheet and blanket that was covering my husband's legs and waist, and I lay as close as I could to him, and sobbed, and sobbed.
I could not let my husband, Michael, die! How could I get him to come back alive to me?
I lay very close to my husband and prayed and sobbed, so uncontrollably, that I just wanted to die right then and there, because I did not want to live without my husband!
Consequently, Pastor Rogers said, "Mary, you need help, who can I call to come and help you?", and as I sobbed, I cried in a broken voice that he could not understand.
However, Mary Michelle said, "I think she said Kim", and they wondered who Kim was.
And as I was still sobbing, and lying close to my husband, I said, "I want my teacher, Kim".
Then Mary Michelle said, "She has a teacher named Kim, I think that's who she wants".
So they called my teacher, Kim, and she immediately came over, even though, by then, it was probably one o'clock in the morning, and she had exams for students to take the next day.
I never knew for sure why I wanted my instructor, Kim, except, that Kim was my counselor all through nursing college. And I had faith in her that she would always know what to do in a crisis, and, of course, there was a huge crisis in our lives at that time.
I stayed there lying under the sheet and blanket as close to my husband as I could, because I did not want him to be dead. And I was praying that all of the life that was in my body would go into my husband, Michael Proctor's body, right then and there, and he would be all right, and, he would be well.
Excerpted from Abused, Conquered, Alive!!! by Mary Proctor Reed Copyright © 2012 by Mary Proctor Reed. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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