Being a Lab Rat part 1

Being a Lab Rat part 1

A Chapter by Shep

Chapter 46

Being a Lab Rat

Part 1


Even though we were early for my appointment; we still had to wait while Mom filled out the paperwork, transferring my medical files from a long list of my doctors. It took nearly an hour to do it considering my medical file was just as thick as my case file. I knew I was in trouble the second the nurse came in to draw my blood, but I also knew there was no way she was going to get it without a fight. Shane tried to warn her, but she said. “He’s nothing more than just a small boy, and I have wrestled with boys bigger than him.”

Shane said. “I’ll take that bet,” placing a twenty dollar bill on the counter.

Mom added another twenty on top of his and took a seat and waited for the games to begin. I screamed the second I saw the needle. While she wrestled me by lying on top me doing her best to hold my arms and legs down. The more she tried, the angrier I got, and the louder I screamed. Like the rest that have tried, she too ended dropping the needle and sprawled onto the floor, with one of my shoes sitting in her lap and having the other sail across the room knocking over a container of tongue depressors where her head should have been.

Shane and Mom moved out of the way as she got up rolled up her sleeves and lunged for me, having wrestled me down onto the floor, but I bucked her off like a bronco in a rodeo with my right sock stuck in her mouth between her teeth. She growled as she tried again unsuccessful. I had made so much noise that Doctor and two more nurses came in to see what was going on. She said. “I can’t get him to hold still long enough to draw his blood.” She turned her head to show them I had bloody both our nose and I had managed to give her and me a fat lip with matching black eyes and she was missing a shoe, plus her nylons were ruined and missing three buttons on her blouse. One of them I spit to the side in front of them and growled angrily like a wild beast daring her to try it again.

It took Mom, Shane, my doctor, and four nurses to get it a single vile from me. Mom and Shane collected their bets, the Doctor shook his head. Telling Mom she should sign me up for wrestling; they’d be rich when other team underestimated me. Shane said. “We did try to warn her; considering not even Dad, as big as he is couldn’t contain him by himself; when he goes from terror too terrified, too angry, in one point two seconds. It’s even worse when he is having a night terror and five times worse during a thunderstorm. This was just a small example of him being awake.”

Mom agreed as she hugged my shoulders and frowned seeing my back raw once again, but smiled seeing the mess I had left behind. She wasn’t the only one that would be scrubbing carpets today. The nurse came back limping and badly bruised, her hair all out place, to take my stats asking Mom and Shane first if they were going to have to wrestle me to the floor to get them. Shane and Mom laughed. “As long as it didn’t consist of a needle she’d be fine. “ I growled at her as she came close to me, giving her my best animal stare watching her step back bit. 

Shane said “down boy,” and made her show me she didn’t have a needle anywhere on her. After that, I didn’t give her any fuss and sat there letting her as if I was the good boy that should have been moments ago. The nurse stated that my blood pressure was high, most like due to our “struggle” and I had a fever of 101 almost 102. Saying it could be the infection or could be from deprived sleep.

In any case, I would have to come back tomorrow and so they can take it again after I had a full days rest. But the Doctor would like her to take my blood pressure and heart rate and add to the log book. It took her several tries to get it right taking a crash course; my arm was getting sore after the tenth try. So she did Shane’s as well so she could see and recognize the difference. Mom said. “As long as no needles were involved, that shouldn’t be a problem, but too make damn sure that they gave her something to knock him out or they’d be dealing with her husband as well, and he’s angrier then wild bear missing his winter hibernation.” The nurse paled knowing how big he was didn’t relish the idea of confronting him anytime soon.  The nurse had the doctor double the dosage.

There wasn’t much they could do about the night terrors. Suggested a psychologist and trial drugs that had seemed to help other patients, having me sign up for the ongoing research program. I hated the term “research” knowing I had just become the lab rat. I peed in a cup while Mom gathered my shoes and socks taking one more look at the mess I had left in the room. It looked like a tornado went through there. Things were on the floor or tipped over spilling everything on the counter and the floor. The nurse hung a sign on the door, which read out of order.

It was nearly 1:30 before we were done filling the prescription and returning the carpet cleaner. Mom didn’t like it, but it couldn’t be helped considering it was too hot to leave me and Shane in the car while she did some grocery shopping. Mom had Shane leave his blood stain shirt in the car considering it made little difference. Ignoring the sign that said “no shirt, no shoes, no services.” Tucked the doctor’s note into her purse and put her arms around my bare shoulders stepped into the store letting me go barefoot.

Nobody said anything once they took a good look at my back and seeing fresh cuts and scrapes on my arms, feet, and chest. My face didn’t look much better with a black eye and split lip as if I had been in a fight.  Shane stared right back at them said. “You should have seen the other guy because he lost and ran home to his mother.” and growled like a wild animal.

Mom sighed and smiled said calmly to the manager; “this is my little tiger. Would you like to see him roar?” Laughing as she kissed my cheek letting me push the cart. It was nearly 2:30 by the time we came home.

Mom had Shane put me in the tub to clean my wounds and cooled me again. Prepared us a quick lunch and put me on the couch, turned on the TV. Poured me a large glass of orange juice and gave me the sleeping pill with half the dosage crushed and stirred it in. Shane laid my head on his bare chest and pulled the blanket over my shoulders wrapped his arm around me like he was protecting his little brother.

Mom locked the back door that led to the garage, placed a sign on the other side. “Tiger is sleeping. Please use the front door.” That became Moms and Shane’s nickname for me considering I practically ate the nurses for lunch, spitting her buttons as if was a piece of meat and I had fierce roar. Mom said she wished she had a video camera to show Dad because just telling him wouldn’t do it justice. Even though it made him laugh considering he too had experienced it in the hospital; he felt proud that I still had the fight in me. But to him I would always be his little escape artist, yet when he was in good mood he would call me tiger. The name just fit and everyone from that day forward used it.

I was out like a light listening to Shane’s steady heartbeat, but I wasn’t out cold enough to suppress the dreams when he left me thinking I was safe. I had envisioned my father walking into the house with a kitchen knife in his hand, his wicked belt in the other. I screamed and thrashed and rolled off the coach as if he had pushed me down the boiler -room stairs in my dreams and in my reality.

Mom said she screamed seeing the knife in my hand, but I didn’t hear her. I was too consumed by the dream. Watching me slashing my arms and legs with the knife, yelling at my father to stop beating my brother, for all I saw were the ropes tied around me as I tried to get loose to protect my brother from being killed in front of me. It took four people to stop me and take the knife out my hands so they could prevent me from unconsciously from harm myself further. Wrapping me tightly in a blanket; tied with rope and gagged me prevent me from biting them, letting me thrash back and forth trying to get loose.

It was nearly two hours before I woke from the nightmare enough to break the dream. Dad was holding me in his arms to keep me from banging my head against the floor or the furniture and wrapping his legs around me Indian style waiting for me to repeat the safe words. To let them know I had wakened. Dad said they tried to wake me, by sticking me in the tub. Dousing me with cold water over me while I was wrapped up in my cocoon to prevent me from hurting myself, but holding me against him or Shane seemed to help the most and letting me know I was safe while the dream played itself out.

We both knew I was in trouble and could not be trusted to be left alone in a room while I slept; until they found the right dosage and medication that would keep me under and suppress the dreams. Mom had set an appointment with a local psychologist, but it would be at least a month before I saw him. He had suggested that in the meantime they arrange a sleep study one at home and one at a local hospital, told her to double the crushed dosage and half of it uncrushed and add some herbs like Valerian root, Lemon balm; placed it in warm milk or Chamomile tea; to help me relax more.

That strapping me down could cause the dreams to worsen over time. And to avoid unneeded stress or things that traumatized me the most. Suggesting sometimes a warm body that they can trust and letting them hear their heartbeat, can sooth the mind enough to allow sleep, allowing them too feel safe and protected would help allow them to dream. Suggested that I should write down my dreams and talk about them the second I woke, and prescribe anti- suppressants because there are so many. That it’s going to be hit and miss to find the right ones and the right combination.

Dad was tired when he came home, even more so after dealing with another night terror or is it consider a day terror? Either way, it tires us both out. Me more so, considering I can’t sleep without having one unless the conditions are right. Shane nearly had our room set up by the time Dad came home but had to stop when Mom yelled for help stating she only turned her back for a moment, but it was long enough for me to grab the knife. Dad decided for now on; that all knives would be locked up in the pantry. Whenever I supposed be sleeping; and my mine and Shane’s room would be locked at night; placing an old baby monitor in there so Shane could call for help. Considering the room is mostly soundproof. Until they can lock the door from the inside using either a key or keypad that they use in prisons.

Dad had also ordered an ankle and a wrist monitor that would locate me whenever I left the house like school or church, or just riding around the neighborhood. So all he had to do is pick up the phone and it would tell him where I was located using the phone lines to transmit the signal to and from the ankle or wrist device. Using the National Law Enforcement Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC).which had been developed in 1960, but has been a popular method to use on criminal offenders from fleeing.

Yet it would take some time to arrive anywhere from 60 to 90 days. And with connections to the State prison where he worked, he could easily borrow one if he needed to. My caseworker agreed to it to prevent me from running away. So far I had made no attempt to and had several opportunities do so, but it still had to pass through family court. Considering I am not a harden criminal; which could take several months and it is quite expensive.

Since Shawn had to do all mine, Arthur’s and Shane’s chores. Mom let me sleep until dinner time having Kerry help her; leaving me and Shane in the family room watching TV while Dad and Jody finished moving Shane in and securing my room. Giving Shane the job to watch over me while I slept un-medicated; Learning early on that he had the knack to keep me calm enough to doze without a night terror. It didn’t take long as tired as I was. I fell asleep quickly, while Shane watched another basketball game.

I slept comfortably with my head resting on his bare chest timing my breaths with the rhythm of his heartbeat. With his arms around me, it made me feel safe as if it was Pa, Ma or my brothers Will and Robert were holding me. Every time I entered a fit full dream he would hold me tighter and whisper I was safe and no one was in the room but us. My body would relax and I would sleep deeper. But I had always been a light sleeper when I am not medicated, a single movement no matter how soft would wake me. Like Mom, or my sister whispering I would open my eyes see who it was, and if I was in danger.

Shane would scowl if they said how cute we looked and Mom would cover my shoulders and feel my forehead; then quickly leave the room. Dad, on the other hand, was never that quiet. I could hear him stomping through the kitchen. Mom would whisper their fine; Dad would come into the room, my eyes and body would jerk awake. Shane would put his arms around my shoulders telling me Dads not angry just wanted to see if I was alright, I nodded and closed my eyes repeating over and over our safe words, and went back to sleep.

When dinner was ready she woke me sticking the thermometer in my mouth and took my blood pressure using a kit she purchased at the pharmacy as the Doctor requested so they can gauge what my heartbeat was at rest and after a traumatic advent. Telling Dad and Shane that was practically normal and my temperature hadn’t come down that much, but it wasn’t climbing. Dad said the pool would do me good tonight providing we could eat first before something else happened to ruin our family home evening.

Normally she would make all the boys wear shirts and pants or shorts at the table, but she’d been lax’ed when it came to me or Shane. Considering I couldn’t and it became Shane’s job to cool me, so she let it go. But when it came to the rest of them, if it wasn’t breakfast or lunch she would send them immediately to their rooms to change into one. Shawn was on Dad’s and her hit lists. Telling him either he puts on a shirt or go without dinner. Shawn made the mistake of growling that it was so unfair that Shane and I were pardoned from the rule. If we didn’t have to wear one neither did he. Who could blame him? The house felt like blast furnace only having one swamp cooler in the family room.

Dad stood up was about to slap him, but Mom cringed said. “Rules are meant to be broken, but,” Standing and looked at Shane then at Shawn. “I will break this rule only if Eric is running a fever. Shane will be required not to wear a shirt and sit all day in his boxers, for practicality if he needs to cool him in a hurry or soon after or before each meal, not including breakfast or lunch. But if not I will in force this rule requiring him to be dressed at the table for dinner. However, Eric can’t and I refuse to have him ruin any more of his shirts or risk infection until he is able to do so, and if you don’t like it you can take up with your Dad.”

Shawn just had to ask, “Is he or isn’t he running a fever? I haven’t seen Shane cooling him at all since I have come home from school, doing everyone’s chores.” Dad growled to intervene for his rudeness at the table as everyone’s head turned like a pinball machine.

Mom stared him down said. “Yes, he has a fever, and has had one all day if you must know, I cooled him myself before we went to the Doctors and Shane cooled right before you came home; and we were planning to do so again at the pool tonight after dinner for family home evening.”

Shawn made the mistake said. “You are breaking your own rule Mom.” Mom gasped realizing he was right stopped Dad from taking further action said as nicely as possible. “Your right Shawn, we should have cooled him before dinner, but if you hadn’t noticed. It has been five days since anyone up here has had decent night sleep. And if you hadn’t noticed; it had taken the four of us from keeping him from killing himself while he slept under a medicated state.”

Dad stopped her said. ”Mother your wrong, I personally and Shane did try to cool him in the tub to wake him from another sever night terror. So, Shawn, your point has just been overruled again. Now put on a shirt or go without dinner. In fact, I am thinking about leaving you at home. Locked in your room, considering you are grounded. If I hear or see another outburst regarding how unfair it is; when it is your Mother and I that make the rules so long as you are under our roof.”

© 2019 Shep

My Review

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This is difficult to review. I will default to simply being as honest as possible.

I enjoyed the story immensely. The first person perspective of this troubled boy made the tale quite gripping. However, being a bit of an obsessive person when it comes to grammar and spelling mechanics, I will admit to being distracted by the errors I saw in both.

For example, there were numerous times when "too" was used when "to" was the correct word to use. There were also several times when there were sentence fragments in the narrative; however, this can be forgiven as stylistic license on the account of the narrator (the boy).

I was also a bit confused by the sudden introduction - without explanation - of the other family members. There were simply other names listed as if we knew who they were. Again, the narrator knows who they are and would see no need himself to explain their origins but, for the sake of the readers, a little detail would have been nice.

The scenes with the supportive older brother helping his little brother sleep were quite touching. Also, it's perfectly understandable how the laxity of family rules for some members can cause discord with others - especially such a things as boys and the wearing of shirts when it's hot. It reminded me of one family I knew in which the boys wore no shirts at all during the summer except when they went out in public. Of course, that was in central Texas and it gets quite warm there.

Overall, this was quite interesting and I did enjoy reading it. Thank you for the opportunity to do so. I wonder if there will be more to the story or if this is all there is to it. There seems to be plenty of room for the story to continue. If so, please let all of us know so we can continue to enjoy it together.

Thanks again,


Posted 5 Months Ago


5 Months Ago

thank you so much for the review and yes their is plenty were this story came from just read on its .. read more
Wow this was a powerful tale... due to the intense nature of it im going to assme some aspects ate from real instances.
I too have a phobia kf needles so that section was really intense to me.
The dream with the knife in hand and the brother being beaten was the hardest hitting though i think.
Dream or not that section made me shutter.
You captured the intensity of the subconscious wonderfully Shep.
Thanks for writing and for sharing.
Keep up the great work my friend.

Posted 6 Months Ago


6 Months Ago

Thanks glad you enjoyed this piece yes I hated needles.

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2 Reviews
Added on April 10, 2019
Last Updated on May 10, 2019



Santaquin, UT

Updated Feb 09, 20 2019 In short I am a Male 52 years of age and Permanently Disabled due to a car accident and suffer from seizures and Sever PTSD. So I have a lot of time on my hands. One of t.. more..

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