Archives for category: Violent Man

Pain and Pain Pills: My Story
I’ve been putting off posting this story for eighteen months. Why? I haven’t felt ready to tell it. I feel ready now. Sort of. I’ve been putting off posting this story for the last week. I’ve got good excuses: wrapping up end of the year business, initiating start of the year business.
So here goes.
From the moment I woke up in the Recovery Room of a Big Urban Hospital in July 2018, I was all fired up on writing a memoir tentatively titled, “Sticks & Stones Will Break My Bones.” Lying on a gurney, my head swirling with the powerful aftermath of the general anesthetic, I got the title, a book outline, chapter titles, topics I needed to research (and have since researched for the most part), and a statement I wanted to make about the facts of the Attack, facts from the official police report and, later, the preliminary hearing. I wanted to make a statement about where we, as an American society founded on the principles of free debate and free speech, stand today.
The project sprang whole into my head. I was so fired up, I wanted to write complete a draft in a month. Typical me—always asking impossible things of myself. When I got home from the Big Urban Hospital in three days (that’s another story in the memoir), I asked my husband to set up my laptop on my bed. Which he did. In the few waking hours I had at that time, I sketched out the memoir as I’d envisioned it. When I was able to get up out of bed and sit on my Internet chair, I downloaded much of the research, plus bought books relevant to the topics I wanted to cover.
Now it’s eighteen months later and various factors have cooled my ardor to write the memoir, including people’s attitudes and interactions on Facebook. I’ve copied those interactions off the Internet for future illustrative use (with the names changed, the exact words edited). These attitudes and interactions constitute proof positive of the statement I wanted to make.
The facts are the facts.
But the virulence of these attitudes and interactions, the times we’re living in, have considerably slowed my pace. It may be that writing the memoir has depressed me. It may be that not being able to walk, to move the way I used to, has depressed me. What me, depressed? In any case, I’ve got several new stories to write and publish, and several new novels to finish up several of my series which are presently incomplete. I can’t afford to be depressed.
So now is the time to go back to the beginning and tell the story of my pain and the pain killers while those memories are still kicking around in my brain. My story is relevant today because, of the many crises in this country, my story has to do with the opioid crisis. National Geographic Magazine ran an article in January 2020 issue, “A World of Pain” by Yudhijit Bhattachartee with the subtitle, “Scientists are unraveling the mysteries of pain and exploring new ways to treat it.”
So here goes: To catch you up, if you haven’t been following my story.
On July 11, 2018, a sunny afternoon with the dog walkers, moms with strollers, bicyclists, and joggers everywhere, a man burst out of the flowering bushes at East 12th Street and Lake Merritt Boulevard and confronted me as I was power-walking on the sidewalk.
He tried to beat me up, I fended him off, then he shoved me into the street in front of two lanes of oncoming traffic. I shuffled my feet to avoid crashing into the cars, but the impact of his shove made me lose my balance, and I fell hard on street curb, fracturing my right hip in three places and breaking my thigh.
The police apprehended the Attacker, I identified him, then I was taken by an ambulance to a Big Urban Hospital, where I underwent three hours’ of surgery under general anesthetic. (There’s much more to it, but that’s another story.)
I was anxious to get out of the Big Urban Hospital as soon as possible. I was aware of the deadly hospital infection which plagues all hospitals regardless of their best efforts. Three months before, a former editor of mine and a renowned writer in Philadelphia had gone into a hospital for a minor procedure and died, shockingly, unexpectedly, in two days’ time of a massive infection.
On the third day after the surgery, I was running a fever of 102 degrees. I refused more fluids by IV, demanded to be released. The surgeon discharged me, and I was sent home with a walker and a big brown paper bag of pills.
Before I left, a nurse sat me down on the side of the bed and went over the single-spaced one-page printout with me, detailing instructions about taking the pills and what they were for. Most of the pills seemed ridiculous to me and not on point with what was ailing me. When I got home, I threw them all away except one.
This was the bottle of sixty hydrocodone pills, to be taken every four hours for pain. The printout had the same instructions as the label on the bottle, and as the nurse had lectured me.
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This is my memoir-in-progress about the violent criminal attack on me on a sunny summer afternoon, the most terrible thing ever to have happened to me. Bast Books will publish the finished book; this is a work in progress. After I woke up from three hours of surgery, I received a blazing vision of this book. I wanted to write what I had to say in a month. I worked out an extensive outline with paper and pencil on a clipboard while recuperating in bed. I had my husband bring in and hook up my laptop so I could continue writing, also in bed. As soon as I was barely able, I got out of bed, sat down at my Internet computer, and did much research.
Now it is over a year later, and I’m still sorting out my thoughts, my research, my reactions. Other people’s reactions, too. There are many facts—controversial facts—that figure into my story.
This will be difficult for me. But I’m working the writing out exclusively on Patreon, with introductory blogs on WordPress. When the memoir is finished and polished, I will give you, Patrons on Tier Four, the ebook of the memoir. And then I’ll start something new.
And so….
Sticks & Stones Will Break My Bones
Copyright 2019 by Lisa Mason
The Attack, Part 1
At 5 p.m. on a sunny summer day—July 11, 2018—I was walking around Lake Merritt in Oakland, California as I’ve done just about every day since 1996. Rain or shine, hot or cold, summer or winter. Three and a half miles. When it was raining, I would put on my L.L. Bean hooded rain jacket over my jogging clothes, my British rubber rain boots, and I would go for my lake walk. When it was winter-cold and dark, I put on a sweater over my jogging clothes, my L.L Bean parka, sometimes leather gloves, and I would go for my lake walk. When it was blazing hot, I put on a tank top and linen shorts, and I would go for my lake walk.
I was never afraid, even when I saw mentally disturbed people. I would simply cross the street. Even when in the winter it was dark at five o’clock in the evening, the Art Deco lamps of the Necklace of Lights looked beautiful, made wonderful reflections in the lake’s water.
I was never ever afraid of walking around the lake for twenty-plus years. There was always plenty of traffic on the street, police cars went by, plenty of people exercising or coming home from work.
July 11, 2018 started out as a lovely day. It was the thirty-eighth anniversary of my husband Tom’s and my first date. We first met on July 4th at a party that my neighbors and I held, opening up our penthouse apartments in Noe Valley. (That’s another story).
And I was planning a special anniversary dinner, movies, maybe some romance. I was going to bake homemade pizza.
The dog-walkers, moms with their baby-strollers and babies, bicyclists, joggers were out in full force. I felt mellow and safe. I was walking about halfway around the lake, walking past the complex intersection of Lake Shore Avenue, the newly built bridge over Lake Merritt Boulevard, and East Twelfth Street. A switchback angles around the side of 1200 Lake Shore, a luxury midcentury high-rise apartment building, and leads down to the lake and the jogging path. A gentle slope with flowering vines and bushes lies between the boulevard and the switchback. I often saw Monarchs, painted ladies, tiger swallowtails, birds and hummingbirds sipping the flowers on the slope.
But as I was walking past the slope on Lake Merritt Boulevard, past the pedestrian intersection at East Twelfth, suddenly I heard yelling. Inarticulate yelling. I couldn’t discern words, or a language. It was just hateful, enraged yelling.
Startled, I looked to my left and saw a man standing on the slope, his eyes like white-hot blazing coals. Blazing with pure hatred.
I’d never seen a look in anyone’s eyes like that in my life. I was shocked. For a second, I thought he needed help. I hesitated for that second.
And in that second, he sprinted up the slope and confronted me on the sidewalk.
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