Cake
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    • I have the audio version of the Winchester book and it is indeed fascinating.

      Mom and dad met in nursing school. Becoming a nurse was the fulfillment of her life-long dream. Dad eventually went on to Dental school in Atlanta, and after graduating was invited to join the faculty where he taught for a couple of years. After several years in private practice and a short stint in the army, he went back to grad school and we moved to southern California where he became one of the founders of his church's dental school. Teaching was his Calling, and he loved mentoring students. It was there that mom's "breakdown" occurred. She became irrational, convinced that my older sister was a "dope fiend" and was hiding drugs in the house among other things. Dad would often be out till two or three am searching for her in the nearby orange groves where she'd be hiding from her demons. Eventually she was 'committed' to the university hospital, where the psychiatrists recommended electro shock therapy. Mom vehemently disagreed, but dad reluctantly gave consent. That treatment was successful in that she was able to return home and function in a more normal manner, but she disliked California and longed to return to North Carolina where she felt less threatened. Dad ultimately gave in and we moved back east where he returned to private practice.

      Mom never forgave dad for consenting to her shock therapy. After his passing she said that if he truly loved her he'd have taken them himself before subjecting her to that treatment. But from my perspective that therapy saved her life. Only after her passing (at 97) did I learn from her younger sister the rest of the story. I had only known that my maternal grandmother had died in early middle age while mom was away in nursing school. I'd heard mom say "the Doctors killed my mother" but she never elaborated and I assumed it was her paranoia talking. But my aunt told of returning home from high school one afternoon to find that her mother had painted the walls of her bedroom with the contents of the slop jar (they lived on a farm and had no indoor plumbing). When my aunt objected, her mother siezed a butcher knife and chased her out of the house. My grandfather, a poor farmer in the middle of the great depression, had no option but to have her committed to the state mental hospital where she was treated with insulin shock therapy (as graphically portrayed in the movie "A Beautiful Mind"). After many weeks she was discharged, but the psychosis eventually returned and she was recommitted. The chief psychiatrist happened to be on vacation, and a less experienced physician apparently got the insulin dose wrong and she died during treatment. Perhaps that's why mom, who always extolled the joys of Nursing, had a lifelong distrust of doctors.