I finally got a chance to talk with my sister Terry yesterday. She lives across the country from me so we spoke on the phone. I was in the parking lot at Starbucks and she only had fifteen minutes to talk and I wanted to catch her up on everything as we move forward on the project. So, I tried to record the conversation but found out later that you can't record and talk on the i phone at the same time. That was a bummer because I feel like our conversation would have added so much to the story. But, we will be doing a conference call between my sister, my brother, and myself this week (I hope). As I've said before, the three of us have very different takes on things. In my opinion, that's because of our age and our different relationships to our mother. My sister had been doing some of this research about my mom's surgery back in December. She found out information that I didn't so I talk about that a little in the video. But basically this is the summary of our conversation:
She thinks mom was very disturbed before the surgery and that was why they did it. She did not think the disturbance was caused by postpartum depression / psychosis, but that could have exacerbated it. But she felt that my mother was mentally ill and abusive before the surgery.
She pretty much confirmed that it WAS psychosurgery. When she did her research she found out that one of the doctors at Vernon Mark's clinic at Mass General was on the board or was a visiting doctor (or something) at St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford where we believe my mother's surgery took place.
My sister also told me that my mother had mailed the records from the surgery to her (this would have been back in early 2000). My sister had been living in this terrible apartment with mold so EVERYTHING had to be thrown out. As a result (and also because none of us knew the significance of these documents) they were thrown away. However, my sister basically said my mother was coming to the same conclusions that we are. She had gotten the records to find out why they did the surgery. She was trying to find a lawyer to sue for malpractice. Damn I wish we had those records!
My sister agreed that we should probably talk to my aunt Brenda because (a) she was around before and after the surgery, (b) she was one of the few people who really enjoyed and loved my mother for who she was, (c) she would just add dimension to this story. My sister didn't necessarily want to be the one to talk about mom with Aunt Brenda so I said I would :( I have only spoken to my Aunt Brenda once in 30 years and that was when my mother was dying and my Aunt called me to admonish me. I think I hung up on her. She tried to facebook friend me last October and I blocked her. So the road to that interview is not necessarily going to be a smooth one. The other piece of it is that the reasons I never kept in touch with my aunt was because of their own family problems. We used to say that her husband, my mother's brother was my mother's evil twin. Her male counter part. He paralleled her abusive behavior but with a more aggressive masculine approach. YIKES! Still, I think it would be worth while for the story and maybe for my own sense of what happened. So, my sister is going to broach my aunt Brenda. She said that she would forward me the email she sends. She'll ask aunt Brenda if she would be willing to help with my project. And, if so can I record it? I have "unblocked" my aunt on facebook. This whole thing with my aunt gives me the feeling that I'm preparing to go on an expedition. It is being belayed down into a deep, dark crevasse. i know the metaphor is cheesy but there is that fear that my line will break and I will be sent free falling into nowhere or worse.