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The Monster Within

The Monster Within

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The Monster Within

153 pagine
2 ore
Apr 26, 2016


Physicians are not always successful establishing a diagnosis. An eighteen-year-old girl develops bizarre symptoms puzzling one doctor after another. The family watches in helpless despair as the young lady goes downhill rapidly. This is a book of fiction based on actual cases reported in the medical literature. Will anyone save this patientâ or can she be saved?
Apr 26, 2016

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The Monster Within - Sheldon Cohen M.D.



The Richards were an average middle class family living in Morton Grove, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago. Married twenty years, Ezra and Alvina Richards had three children: Betty, just turned 18, soon to graduate from Maine East High School, in Park Ridge, an adjacent suburb to Morton Grove; and their twin 14-year-olds Ethan and Emily in the freshman class at Maine East.

While raising their three children they had everything they needed within a mile radius from their triple level, four bedroom home. This was a busy time; Betty, soon to graduate from Maine East, was in frantic preparation for the Maine East senior prom. She had no problem getting a date as she had been going steady with a fellow classmate, Steve Winokur, ever since their freshman year. Prom night was tonight, and Betty would soon have to get presentable.

Don’t forget, Betty, you have to promise me that if Steve can’t drive, you’ll call us any hour of the day or night and we’ll pick you up, said Alvina with a worried look on her face.

Got to be careful, Betty thought; mom’s got her serious face on. What do you mean, if Steve can’t drive? she asked.

Well, if he’s had too much to drink, I mean…

Betty interrupted with a large sigh, But I told you, mom, for the fifth time, Steve doesn’t ever touch a drop.

As if Alvina didn’t hear a thing, she said, But I’m told that prom night is different. That’s when the drinking starts, so I’ve heard. You’d have to call us because we don’t want you driving his car and we wouldn’t want him driving if he had something to drink, especially as a non-drinker who takes his first drink. Teen agers don’t hold their liquor very well. I read about it all the time in the newspapers; too many accidents out there. You know how I worry.

I know mom, how can I ever forget since I live with you and hear you worrying every day, Ms. Worry wort. I think you told me ten times already. Anyhow, I remember once when Steve tasted something, he said yuck and that was the end of that experiment. I never had anything but a little wine. Where would I be able to get alcohol, since I just turned 18? I’ve never even been in a liquor store or in a bar anyplace and I wouldn’t want to go.

"Well it’s senior prom you know, and I read all about how kids drink it up on senior prom night. Now’s time to try a little alcohol, you know. In fact, it’s supposed to be like a rite of passage, so they tell me.

Who is…they? asked Betty.

They—are other parents and friends. I hear it all the time. And I read about it, and it scares me to death.

Betty’s mother, Alvina, was a worrier and Betty learned over the years, whenever her mother started talking in that concerned tone of voice together with that frown, it was best to listen carefully and be patient; let her say her thing and give her as much reassurance as she could. She learned that from her dad who reminded her of her mother’s loss of an older brother to a drunken driver when she was just twelve years old. It hit her very hard, Betty, he would say. It doesn’t hurt to give her all the comfort you can, otherwise I’ll have to do it when you leave and I won’t do as good a job as you could do if she hears it from you. That’ll make her feel good. You really could ease her mind with calm and sensible talk. Do it for me, Betty, please."

Yes, dad, I will, you have my word on it, she would reassure her father with a smile. He was a tower of strength to Betty. Standing five feet eleven inches, 180 pounds, brown hair balding slowly, forty-five years old, blue eyes and well sculpted muscle, he had a remarkably calm demeanor. She never saw him lose his temper. The owner of two gas stations in the northwest suburbs of Chicago close to their Morton Grove home made it very convenient to get to work, not to mention the better than excellent gas and car maintenance prices.

Alvina, a housewife and mother busy raising three children including Betty the oldest, was a stay-at-home mother, planning to work again only after her children grew up. Then maybe I’ll get back to work in real estate—if anyone would have an old lady, that is.

Alvina was an attractive woman of 42 years, five foot and five inches, two inches taller than her daughter, Betty, 130 pounds, blond hair like Betty, brown eyes, high cheekbones, and a beautiful smile, which when it occurred, made a sudden startling contrast to her mostly serious looking face. She and Betty had such a similar appearance that they often were mistaken for sisters, which was sure to bring a smile to Alvina’s face and a frown on Betty’s.

Oh, mom, I guess you’ll never ever stop worrying. I promise you that I won’t even take a taste—if there is any there and, from what I’m told, there won’t be. I’m serious; this is supposed to be an alcohol-free prom.

I hope you’re right, but anyhow don’t take any drink from strangers even if it’s a soft drink. I read how kids sometimes spike drinks with roofies, whatever that is. I think it knocks girls out and you know what some people will do when that happens.

Yes, mom, I promise no roofies, whatever they are, and I’ll never take a drink from someone I don’t know.

And please don’t drive with any driver who’s been drinking.

No way, mom, that’s stupid, said Betty as she could see her mother visibly relax. And do me a favor, mom, when Steve comes, please don’t give him the same lecture," she said with an audible sigh.

I promise I won’t, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have to because I bet his mom or dad already gave him the lecture, said Alvina with her quick smile. Then she added, And knowing Steve’s mom, I’m sure of it."

That smile meant mom was reassured by what I told her, thought Betty as she smiled to herself and thought, dad would be proud of me. I better go upstairs and get dressed, she said. Steve will be here in about a half hour.

Ezra Richards came home shortly after Betty went upstairs. Is Betty still here, he asked.

Yes, she just went upstairs to get dressed, said Alvina, smiling.

The smile was reassuring to Ezra. He knew what that meant. Oh great, I can’t wait to see her in that beautiful gown you guys got and I’m ready to get pictures of the princess.

She’ll be down soon, I’m sure. Do you want something to eat? asked Alvina.

No thanks. Not now. I want to be able to concentrate on Betty when she comes down. I’ve got pictures to take of my little girl…all grown up. I can’t believe it. Didn’t we bring her home from the labor and delivery room just a few months ago?

That sounds about right, said Alvina. Your daughter is a beauty—I’m not prejudiced of course, and I want to see the expression on your face when you see her in that gorgeous prom dress that she kept hidden from you, said Alvina with her radiant smile.

Ezra smiled back at Alvina, understanding that if that smile was there, Alvina was relaxed and content and any worries that she may have expressed to Betty about prom dangers were addressed and taken care of by Betty. That’s my daughter, he thought. Where’s Ethan and Emily? asked Ezra.

Alvina said, They’re upstairs, but they said they want to see Betty all dressed up too, so I’m sure they’ll be down soon.

Where has the time gone? asked Ezra.

Wish I knew, answered Alvina with a sigh. Then the rear door bell rang

Must be Steve, said Alvina.

I’ll get it, said Ezra as he jumped up from his chair like the graceful athlete he had been in his younger days. He walked to the kitchen to open the door leading to the driveway where most people entered the house. Steve was standing on the back step, replete in black tuxedo, wrist corsage for Betty in hand and looking very handsome and clean shaven.

Hello, Steve, You’re sure lookin’ good, no stubble and all. Ready for the big night? asked Ezra.

Yes sir, answered Steve in his usual polite manner.

Steve’s politeness manifested by the yes sirs and yes ma’ams were what impressed Ezra the most. When he first met Steve and heard them, his first question was—even though it was impossible for Steve to have served since he was only fifteen years old—It sounds like you’ve been in the military, Steve. You don’t hear the yes sirs and yes ma’ams from civilian kids, so when I hear it I always have to ask, have you been in the military?

Yes, sir, I’m an army brat, sir, my father was in the army for twenty years, sir.

Ezra smiled and was almost about to suggest that the sirs and ma’ams were unnecessary, but then thought better of it. It was too refreshing to hear a young man talk that way, as opposed to the dese, dose, and yeahs of the average Chicago teen. What did your father do in the army? Ezra asked when he first met him.

He was a lawyer in the army Judge Advocate General Corps, and after he completed his twenty years, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and now he’s at a downtown law firm, sir, but I’m proud to say he still serves in the reserves.

That’s impressive, Steve, what kind of lawyer is he, asked Ezra.

A trial lawyer, sir.

Thanks, Steve.

When Ezra and Steve entered the living room, the twins and Alvina were there. Steve said his hello ma’am and hi kids and sat down to await the arrival of Betty while they all made small talk.

Ezra and Betty both liked this young man; he was nice looking, five feet 9 inches tall with pitch black wavy hair always well-combed, neat in appearance, frequently with a 4 or five day growth of facial hair, a scholar athlete, and according to Betty, a ‘heck of a tennis player, number one on the Maine East team, and a big brain.’ Both Betty and Steve were headed for the Chicago campus of the U of Illinois where Betty would major in Health and Exercise Science with a career as a physical therapist in mind and Steve would major in neuroscience with a hoped for career as a physician.

A match made in heaven thought Ezra and Betty. They were thrilled with Betty’s friend, had hoped

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