Norman's Demise

Norman's Demise

A Story by Randy Johnson


I had an uncle. His name was Norman Greene. He died twenty years ago today on June 12, 2001. He was fifty-six. Norman smoked three or four packs of cigarettes each day. He died of lung cancer. A doctor misdiagnosed Norman. He told Mom that Norman had TB. But a few days later, we were informed about the misdiagnosis, and that Norman actually had lung cancer. Norman died about two weeks later.
Norman and I had something in common. Schizophrenia. My type of Schizophrenia is Paranoid Schizophrenia. It's possible that Norman's Schizophrenia was a different type than mine. Norman's Schizophrenia was so severe that he was often delusional. Sometimes he even believed that he was God.
Norman was very smart. He was a whiz at algebra. But when he needed to exercise his intelligence the most, he failed. Before Norman had to stop working, his employer told him that he had a mental problem and needed to get some help. Norman ignored his employer. A short time later, Norman had a breakdown and had to be sent to an insane asylum.
Even though Norman knew that he needed to take his medication, he would be stubborn and not take it. He would take it for several years at a time but would suddenly stop taking it. A few months after he stopped taking his medication, he'd have another breakdown and had to return to the asylum. Because Norman was as smart as he was, I know that he knew that taking his medication was essential. But like I said, he was very stubborn.
By 1982, he had been sent to that asylum three times. Because he would stop taking his medication and have breakdowns, his Schizophrenia worsened over the years. Some people tried to do Norman a favor but he screwed it up. They started sending a nurse to his house once a week to give him his medication by giving him a shot. One day he didn't like being pricked by the needle so he punched the nurse. This ended the nurse's visits.
When he assaulted the nurse, they wanted to send him back to the asylum immediately, but Norman had a friend who talked them out of doing that at that time. But it wasn't long before Norman was put in another mental institution. When he was released this time, he wasn't allowed to return to his house like usual. They placed him in a home. Because he was unwilling to take his medication and became violent at times, they forced him to be sent to that home. Norman died two or three years later.
When I was in my mid twenties, I knew that I was walking down the same path as Norman. I knew that if I didn't get soe help, I would have the same future that Norman had. I got the help that I needed. I've been on medication for about a quarter of a century. Because I take my medication, I've never been committed to an asylum.
If you are Schizophrenic or have another severe mental disorder, you must take medication. Many Schizophrenics won't take their medications because they believe the medication is poison. It's not poison. It's salvation. Medication won't cure you but it will prevent your condition from becoming worse. It will also prevent you from having to be sent to insane asylums. But if you choose to be stubborn like Norman and not take your medication, you will be sent to asylums and maybe even eventually be sent to a home against your will. But there is a way to stop that from happening. Take your medication.

© 2021 Randy Johnson

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This is sad reading about your uncle. Not only afflicted with mental health illness but sadly also succumbing to lung cancer as a result of cigarette smoking before his time. My Dad died from lung cancer before his time too and we have a family member who needs medication for psychotic episodes. It is a struggle at times to ensure she takes her medication. Fortunately she gets good support. After reading your post, I am left thinking that some people get a raw deal in life. It sort of puts everything into perspective. You know the importance of medication and I wish you well. Thank you for the read.


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Added on June 12, 2021
Last Updated on June 15, 2021
Tags: Asylum, Cancer, Death, Nonfiction, Schizophrenia, Uncle


Randy Johnson
Randy Johnson


I was born in Middlesboro, Kentucky on August 20, 1971. I've lived in East Tennessee since 1973. My hobbies are writing and drawing. more..

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