# ## $Id: bio.06,v 1.5 2013/05/27 02:45:25 kline Exp kline $ #

// should I append to bio.05?

Our neighbor, Mary DeCapio, volunteered to drive Mother and me up to Cleveland to see the neurologist Dr Stone had promised would know if my illness was a neurological disorder or not. I had fallen into a blue funk since the experiences/events with the psychiatrists. To me, this would be just another useless examination. After this doctor had shook his head and said he just didn't know, my father would throw me into the snakepit.

In just the past six to eight months thoughts of suicide drew themselves into my mind with a greater frequency. Of course I didn't breathe a word of this to Mother. I Could see the hurt in her eyes if I looked at her for more than a very few seconds. And now--especially today when this new Dr. Genius would proclaim my fate--well, now I faced either a few minutes of sharp pain as my father's straight-edge sliced my neck... . I heaved a sigh as my right thigh spasmed into an extreme knot. Well, tonight I would end my life or face being strapped hard to a steel hospital bed while the needles filled me with opiates--or whatever they would use to keep me drugged. I wondered if that might kill me. No. The last thing I was was chicken. Just then the car swerved and I got thrown against the right-hand window.

Other than that one blow to my skull that went virtually unnoticed, the drive up was pleasant enough. Mary's '58 Buick had just about every luxury available, including air-conditioning. My arms and legs were locked in their usual tight spasms, but the ride was smooth and now and then I actually was able to relax. Despite the fate I knew lurked just ahead. Mary and Mother gabbed incessantly as we drove along and I slept part of the way. Now even sleeping was becoming all but impossible and most nights I didn't fall asleep until utter exhaustion drew me away from consciousness.

I wakened to find us on Euclid Avenue; some minutes later Mary DeCapio pointed to some tall buildings and then turned the Buick right onto a side street. It wasn't long before we were parked and went into a large building.

I had to stop just inside the lobby; my side and my //both thighs aches terribly. I was warped severely, bent rightward almost to the point where I couldn't stand. “Wait!” I said to the two women who were going on, lost in conversation.

Mary turned and looked back. Hands on hips, she said, “Are you turning into a whiner now? All of a sudden?”

But Mother stepped back, took my right fist in her left hand, and we went on. At the elevators I stumbled in, with help, and Mother said, “I think it's on five.”

Ten minutes later we were in the doctor's waiting area and I sat rubbing my thighs as best I could. The entire right side of my trunk was on fire//felt like it was in flames, but there was nothing I could do about it.

We were late for our appointment, but as it happened, Dr Randt was also running late, and only a few minutes after we got there, a nurse summoned us. Mother and I were shown into a large examination room. I headed for the chair but before I could sit, the doctor was there. I did my best to straighten when he shook my fist, but could barely move.

Dr. Randt looked at me, then said, “Are you really 13?”

“Yes.”

“Wait, don't sit down. Let's go over to the table.” He lifted me into his arms effortlessly, like a sack of wheat, and carried me over to the exam table. “Will you be okay way up here?” A smiled.

I nodded and tried to hold onto the table. A second later a violent spasm threw me forward. Dr Randt looked back to call for Mother's help but she was already there, holding on to me. Mother helped me take off my shirt and trousers and the neurologist began his examination.

Dr Randt's expression changed from serious to curious and back a number of times. He tested my reflexes and found no response. “Can you try to relax your right leg?”

“Sure,” I said, and after a moment's concentration, let go of the tension in the leg. The doctor tapped again, got a response. A second after he was done, my right leg went into a tight spasm. He did the same thing with the other leg; then each arm. The doctor's expression went from curiosity to mildly excited; meanwhile, I was in more and more pain and growing impatient. I began to wonder what the hell was going on. This was at least the millionth time I'd been thru this kind of examination. I just wanted to get the hell out of here and go home.

“I've got Gary's records from Cleveland Clinic and Dr Stone,” Dr Randt was saying. “But it might help if you can answer some more question, Mrs. Kline.”

So for the next ten or fifteen minutes the doctor sat at a small desk by the door, scribbling rapidly on a note pad. At last he put down his pen and looked at Mother who was still standing behind me. “Mrs. Kline,” he said carefully, “there is nothing psychosomatic about Gary's condition. Unless I'm far off-base, Gary has a very, very rare disease--so far only around fifty to a hundred cases diagnosed in the US. It's called dystonia musculorum deformans.”

The day was a Tuesday--August nineteenth.