Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood

Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood

by Julie Gregory

A young girl is perched on the cold chrome of yet another doctors examining table, missing yet another day of school.

She's about to suggest open-heart surgery on her child to "get to the bottom of this." She checks her teeth for lipstick and, as the doctor enters, shoots the girl a warning glance.

This child will not ruin her plans.SickenedFrom early childhood, Julie Gregory was continually X-rayed, medicated, and operated onin the vain pursuit of an illness that was created in her mothers mind.

Many MBP children die, but Julie Gregory not only survived, she escaped the powerful orbit of her mother's madness and rebuilt her identity as a vibrant, healthy young woman.Sickened is a remarkable memoir that speaks in an original and distinctive Midwestern voice, rising to indelible scenes in prose of scathing beauty and fierce humor.

Punctuated with Julie's actual medical records, it re-creates the bizarre cocoon of her family's isolated double-wide trailer, their wild shopping sprees and gun-waving confrontations, the astonishing naïveté of medical professionals and social workers.

It also exposes the twisted bonds of terror and love that roped Julie's family togetherincluding the love that made a child willing to sacrifice herself to win her mother's happiness.

The realization that the sickness lay in her mother, not in herself, would not come to Julie until adulthood.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 3.73
  • Pages: 244
  • Publish Date: September 30th 2003 by Bantam
  • Isbn10: 0553803077
  • Isbn13: 9780553803075

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Eventually she did remarry to someone who was close to me and although his mother disapproved saying, "She's tried all the men in the community but no-one wants to take her on with all her sick children, so why you?" Her eldest son has several neurological disorders, Crone's disease, ADHD and Tourettes. His mother says he has to watch his diet and worries about the ill-effects of certain foods and various minor ailments she sees in him. At 17 she sat most of the time on the sofa consuming family size bars of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut. Taking the dog for a walk meant opening the door to the garden, when she could be bothered. Her mother insisted she was fat because she had polycystic disease (along with Crones, a joint disorder, a back problem and I forget what else). This lot enabled the mother to spend a lot of time taking the kids to the doctors and hospital and needing a whole kitchen cabinet full of pills. This lady likes people to recognise the illnesses she diagnoses herself and have them confirmed by doctors (really) and medicated. When her daughter turned 18 she got her a gastric bypass, persuaded the doctor it was the only possible thing that would help the girl. Diets had failed (she hadn't actually tried any in reality, in fact it was the mother that stuffed her to get her fat enough to qualify for the operation). I was sorry but did wonder if the mother was gleeful at yet another illness and a real one at that to be able to involve herself constantly with technical medical talk with doctors. Now if I challenged this lady about all these illnesses and chronic disabilities her family suffer from, she would turn on me, she is only doing her best... I am just astounded that someone could manipulate the system and their children as she has and that no one, doctors and hospitals included, although I used to tell my mother and she didn't believe it but she was a hard old biddy at times, even seemed to suspect it.

The entire time I read this book, I was screaming in my head. I can remember countless times, my eyes screamed volumes that no one wanted to hear or understand.

I'm not surprised the abuse Ms. Gregory suffered went on as long as it did, because of how sneaky and insidious the disease is.

In an era where we've recently been faced with headline stories of kids like Hannah Milbrandt and Gypsy Rose Blanchard, used as ploys to get sympathy, money and attention for their mothers, Sickened shouldn't be all that surprising, yet it is - the fact that a parent would not only do this to a child but also go to such efforts to hide it, that's a whole new level of disturbing.

"Running with Scissors" -- but "Sickened" was redundant and padded with too many lame metaphors and not terribly compelling a read.

Julie Gregory memoirs her childhood as a munchausen by proxy victim and its a hell of a gawker story. We remember the video of her mother pouring Pine Sol into her soup, right? Definition: In the Münchausen by Proxy syndrome, an adult care-giver makes a child sick by either fabricating symptoms or actually causing harm to the child, whereby convincing not only the child but others, including medical providers, that their child is sick. MBP could be presented in many ways such as the Pine Sol scene from above or say, poisoning your child with excessive amounts of salt or um.tainting your childs urine with your own blood In Julie Gregorys case it included not feeding your child and then bringing them to the doctor saying that they are listless and weak (duh) or convincing the child that something is wrong with their heart and introducing doctor upon doctor until the mother (its usually a female caretaker) finds a doctor willing to run a battery of invasive tests to determine the problem and then screaming at the doctor when he refuses to do open heart surgery on the kid. She lets people prod her in those very special places and she gets her chest shaved like half a dozen times so they can test her heart. The story was a clusterfuck of events and the fact that Gregory could document this AND include photos (adds to the rubbernecking, trust me) shows a committed resolve to get people to pay attention.

I was literally sickened the whole time reading this and I'm not sure she could have ever came up with a better title for this book.

Julie was punished if she didn't go along with the symptoms her mother told the doctors she had.