Isabel was cleaning the farmhouse. No one lived here and it had been a while since it had had a thorough cleaning. Isabel was going to get peace for someone, since it would be denied to her forever. She’d been talking to a young woman in the Publix and noticed the bruised armbands circling her arms and the hunted look in her eyes. It had taken Isabel weeks to coax her to have a cup of coffee. It was the old story. A stay-at-home mom with no job and few skills and a boozer taking out his anger on her. The only odd thing was that she had said he was her brother. She hadn’t heard that one before. Well, he wouldn’t find her here. The only thing she had to do was show up with her kids. She probably wouldn’t, but Isabel would be ready for her just the same.
No judgements here. Isabel had first confided to her doctor that she believed her mother, Robyn Sullivan, had been poisoning her when she was 38. Three doctors and 3 psychiatrists later, she’d learned to keep her yap shut. When she had become violently ill at 50, she repeated her suspicions to her family doctor. He brightened and whipped out his prescription pad.
“I have great news for you. There’s this new drug for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It has very mild side effects and has a very high rate of success. The only thing is, I have to take a blood test from you right this second to prove to you that no one is poisoning you.”
Isabel was weak with relief. She’d do anything to stop this nightmare. She gratefully allowed the nurse to pull blood for a toxicology screen and hurried to the pharmacy to fill the prescription. This was great. She had OCD? Thank God. She’d leave this behind like last year’s shoes.She couldn’t wait to tell her husband and her friends.
When the doctor called a week later, she hadn’t been at home. She should have called the doctor herself, but she felt so good. She just wanted to move forward.She could start having lunch with her mother again. The weeks were filled with gardening, coffee dates and a trip to the mountains. When she got back, one of her oldest friends had called. Someone had advertised that she could hook you up to a polygraph machine, and if you answered her questions, your body would tell you which toxins were in your body and which weren’t. Her friend was game, but Isabel smelled a rat. Then, she had a brain wave.
“Look,hon. I just had this done by a real doctor. I’ll go in and see this gal first. I won’t even call my doc for my tox screen before I go. Then, we’ll compare the results.”
When Isabel and her friend met up later, Isabel was jubilant.
“I had the doc’s nurse seal the envelope so my body wouldn’t be “prejudiced” before the test. Drum roll, please!”
The test by the girl with the polygraph “revealed” Isabel was riddled with gold and needed an expensive course of juice flushing. “Quack”, thought Isabel. When they opened the doctor’s test results, they were both mute with stupefaction.The toxicology test was positive for arsenic. “Polygraph girl” was forgotten. It would be years before Isabel could get through the day without thinking about the abuse her body and mind had been through. Isabel’s mother would die of natural causes mere weeks after the tox screen and no one would be held responsible for what had happened. Isabel blamed herself. Her desire to believe she wasn’t an abused woman was overwhelming. Nope. No judgements here.
“Who art in Heaven…..”