Amanda Truth Project

Shaken Baby Syndrome: Potential Pandemic Medical Misdiagnosis - We educate communities about this potential pediatric misdiagnosis and help families, their lawyers and medical experts find the TRUTH.


Who'll Be the Lucky One?

Posted on November 14, 2009 at 8:47 PM Comments comments ()

So many people tell me how lucky Elwood is to have me.  I mean after all I'm sticking by him and researching and doing all I can to prove his innocence of these accusations and charges.  I visit him as often as permitted in every weather and despite our financial hardship (before the economy tanked).  I write him, etc.


But at the same time, I have always maintained that it is I who is lucky.  When I met Elwood, I had given up on men and he showed me that there really are men out there who aren't afraid to do romantic things and outwardly demonstrate their love.  We hold hands and he would come with me most anywhere I did.  We had common interests and the things we didn't have in common complimented each other.


When I was sick with emesis throughout the first 3 months of pregnancy or so, Elwood would ask around and read books looking for ways to help me (his idea to use ginger for instance, not that it worked any better than peppermint candies, water, saltine crackers, or anything else allegedly and purportedly to solve pregnant women this problem - ha ha).  It didn't matter that they didn't help; what mattered is that he cared enough to want to help.


When I was bloated and tired and full with a baby, he would tell me how beautiful he thought I was.  I didn't even ask - in fact, I didn't ask because I had assumed he'd tell me the version of truth I thought was right.  Lol...


On Mother's Day in 2007 (and boy am I glad it comes before Father's Day now) he surprised me with what he knew was my favorite desert (at the time):  cheesecake and my favorite delicacy:  chocolate covered strawberries.  He made them himself.  It was partly the hormones, but when I came home with Punky from the Mother/Daughter banquet at my grandmother's church I smelled it and saw them.  I burst into tears.  I cannot think of a single guy I've ever known who would have gone to so much trouble.  And he insisted that even though Punky was only a few months old that I have a card - from her naturally.  I still have those cards. 


When I visit him, he still finds ways to do romantic things.  A few times now he'll use condiments like ketchup and mustard to draw a heart on his burger patty or write "I (heart) u", etc.  A few times the guards have poked fun at him much to my annoyance and he just smiles at me. 


And I could go on and on.  So who is the lucky one - truly?  Maybe we both are?  My girlfriend, Amanda, believed strongly in soul mates and soul companions, etc.  We were destined to meet, but what if we didn't connect and like two ships passing in the night we parted ways?  There were moments before Punky was born that I didn't think we'd be together another moment; it's ironic that we've grown closer since he's been in prison. 


I can't imagine anyone else I'd have this emotional connection during this physical separation.  I'm guessing he'd tell you he's the lucky one, but I have many more reasons for telling you that I am and isn't luck simply believing one is lucky?

Pizza for Punky

Posted on November 3, 2009 at 7:10 PM Comments comments ()

Elwood reminded me of a funny night we shared with Punky.  I had been feeling down lately and missing her so he told me to write about the time Punky wanted to eat our pizza!  I laughed  thinking about it and he began reminding me about all the details I'd forgotten...


She was barely 1 month old at the time and quite a long way from eating solid food yet.  Elwood  cooked for us so I wanted to give him the night off just to give him a break.  We decided to order pizza.  Punky was fed and I thought we'd timed it wonderfully because the pizza arrived afterward.  Elwood got it and brought it into the room.  As soon as Punky smelled it, she started licking her lips. 


She looked so adorable whenever she did that.  Imagine someone gumming and licking her lips and that's the look, but when a 1-month old does it somehow it looks absolutely adorable compared to a 90 year old.  It's just the way of beauty and art and the proverbial beholder, I guess.  But I digress!


So she was licking her lips and staring wide-eyed at the pizza when Elwood brought it in.  I started laughing.  I told Elwood, "I think she wants some pizza."  I started considering how I could give her some when Elwood asked if it was time to feed her.  "I just fed her!" I exclaim as Punky started to cry.


I started laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes as we realized she adamantly wanted some of that pizza.  I set her down next to the pizza to take a picture.   I knew we had to document this to tease her about it later.  We had been told, "When they're ready to eat, they'll let you know."  Uh...did that mean we were supposed to start feeding her at 1-month of age? 



She was staring at the pizza and absolutely furious with us that we were not sharing!




As Elwood went to make a bottle and after the pizza had cooled a bit, I picked her up and dipped my little finger into the sauce, letting her lick it off.  She made the funniest face and looked at me as if to ask, "You actually eat this -?"  Elwood came in just as she kicked off another crying fit, this time she probably really was hungry from all that crying.  


He went to take her back from me.  "I'll feed her," he told me. 


I argued; it was for him that we'd ordered pizza.  He ought to be allowed to eat it warm and I told him so.  Eventually, I got my way and he ate while I fed her.  She innocently stared at me the whole time and I was still chuckling over the incident, which greatly improved my mood since I was getting hungry myself.


Elwood told me he'd felt bad that I couldn't eat, but pizza tastes better cold than does the raspberry vinaigrette sauce over the meat and green beans and potatoes he'd made once and I could only eat a couple pieces in peace before she'd woken from a nap.


I loved that he reminded me of that evening.  I had been fearing that I'd "lost" all my memories.  I'd been feeling like I was only remembering her in the abstract rather than in living color.  But as soon as he said, "You should write about the time with the pizza" I started laughing and memories came flooding back. 


God she cracked me up all the time, but I never laughed so hard as when she got incredibly mad at us for being "mean" and not sharing that pizza with her.  What a little goofy girl!  That, or I ate too much pizza when I was pregnant and when she smelled it she knew exactly what it was.


But the best was that squished up face she made at me after tasting the sauce.  It reminded me of when my sister's cat ate some of my rabbit's food because my rabbit was drinking his milk.  He scrunched up his face and looked at my rabbit as if to say, "You actually eat this~?"  Ha ha!    Babies have such flexible expressions - circa Jim Carrey.  And she was no exception.


We had good times, the three of us and our rabbits, too.  Elwood always called them "the girls" until we got Koi-san who was a little male dwarf rabbit.  Punky wasn't too interested in them, but the two biggest ones always looked at me when she was crying as if to ask, "What's wrong?" 


We were a family.


We gave away the biggest rabbit first to a friend, and then Koi-san left the week or so before Punky died.  Then Punky got hurt, Elwood was arrested and it was just me and Khushi again.  She lasted until February of this year and I had to put her down since I couldn't afford surgery for her. 


Hey!  We're only here for a little time; we're not promised forever - none of us.


I really wouldn't trade those 4.75 months - the months I got to spend, all of us together, for any amount of reduction of the pain from my loss.  When I think of nights like this with the pizza I smile nostalgically and I know that I am still blessed and lucky that I got to know her, play with her and hold her.  She smiled up at Elwood and me, talked and sang to my family members and Elwood (never actually spoke to me - ha ha - she didn't need to, I think) and let me teach her ASL, was so curious and funny and lovely and wonderful - and best of all...she was ours. 


Nobody can ever take that away from us no matter how hard they try.  Truth doesn't change just because the majority doesn't believe it.  She was amazing and the world doesn't know - might never know  - what it lost when she died.

Christmas 2006

Posted on October 1, 2009 at 9:09 PM Comments comments ()

There was a church that had donated some wonderful presents that year such as the most adorable little bunny dress.  I don't know if the guy knew I loved rabbits (I had 3 as pets by that time) or if it was just a happy coincidence, but I adored that pink and white dress on first sight!  We had her in it a few times, and that's probably the only dress she got to wear more than once.  Lol...


Well, we cheated and opened those early, so on Christmas he gave me my present.  I was surprised because we really didn't have any money to spare.  When I unwrapped the paper, I saw it was a "macy's" box. 


I know I said something to him because I assumed this was a very expensive jewelry that he had no business wasting our money on.  I opened it, fully expecting to tell him to return it and pulled up the cotton.


I don't remember which one I saw first, but there were two ornaments in the box.  One was a heart shaped - I don't know what it is.  Ha ha!  It's got a ball shaped head on top of this star-shaped body and on the head is a stocking cap and hands at the ends of the two star "arms".    The other was a little stained glass angel so tiny and cute.  Both had the name "Amanda" emblazoned on them.


Of course being a pregnant woman I turned into a teary-eyed sappy pile of mush.  We couldn't put up a tree that year because of the size of the matchbox masquerading as an apartment we were living in after I'd moved from the four-bedroom house I'd had when I met him.  So I put them lovingly back in the box, gave him a big tear-stained kiss and we put them away.


Ironically, it was after he was incarcerated that he reminded me in 2007 about the ornaments.  He told me he'd wanted to start a tradition of buying two ornaments each year with her name on it.  He would have too; he's a romantic like that.  So I have kept up the tradition.  I figure maybe I'll stop when he gets out.  In 2007, a woman I knew by chance sent me a gift of a little angel ornament.  So I went and got an ornament with Amanda's name on it.  Last year I got two others, one at Macy's ironically enough when I searched through so very many stores after Christmas confused as to why I couldn't find something! 


I couldn't find the box where I packed them.  What's worse!  As horrible as this sounds, I couldn't even remember receiving the ornaments when Elwood first reminded me about them!  One day after moving I found a Macy's box and after opening it the memories came flooding back; it was as if that Christmas morning came a second time. 


Our Punky wasn't a mistake.  We both wanted her - no one else but her.  She was not the proverbial "mistake" or accident at all.  Elwood and I had plans for our little family.  I know two silly ornaments isn't going to change the minds of the prosecutor or probably the detectives, but these are not the actions of a man who was going to freak out after she was already alive for a few months and kill her - not for any reason.

Strangers in the Not-so-Night

Posted on September 22, 2009 at 1:41 PM Comments comments ()

I was waiting for the bus on one cloudy gray morning in October.  I'd just been officially divorced and like a magnet for them, met a lot of creeps, which decided for me that I was going to be just fine - me, Khushi and Princess (my rabbits at the time) - alone.  I did not need a man in my life anyway.  Most women seem more successful and happier without one, ironically.  Lol...


As typical of Cleveland area weather, it appeared ready to rain at any given moment.  I was late for work, which of course means that the public transportation had to additionally be late to ensure I was really late for work when I'd finally get there.  So I'm loving life wearing my angora sweater (ssh! don't tell my pet rabbits), no raincoat, and late for work.


I noticed a man cross the road down a ways, but it wasn't noteworthy at the time and promptly put out of mind.  I'm busy trying to formulate the world's best excuse for being late for work anyway.  And remember, I told you already I'm not interested in men anymore.  I meant it; I really did!


I look back down the street for the bus and my vision catches on this tall man walking this direction, dressed in a business suit (I swear it is green and I am not color blind, but Elwood showed me the suit he surely dyed taupe just to prove me wrong - lol...), cell phone pressed to one ear and thick well-styled GQ hair waving in the breeze.  He glanced backwards so I assumed he was getting ready to cross the street.  I sighed at the fact that - even though I'm done with men - it would have been nice to say hi.  I mean that's just being pleasant anyway.  It'd be the polite thing, greeting a person who walks past you.  I was carefully taught by my grandmother to be polite, see.


Out of nowhere, as if the man who walked out of my dreams had conjured it, the bus pulled up to my stop.  As the door opens I realized Dream Guy is getting on the bus because he did the universal 'after you' gesture (what a gentleman).  My stomach filled with butterflies and I wondered at my possible good fortune.  "He must be married."  I greeted B~ the bus driver on duty that day (see, told you I was only trying to be socially polite).


The man gets on and concludes his conversation and greets the driver too.  "He knows the driver?"  The stranger stands up front and chats with B~.  I took a seat decidedly where, had the stranger been interested in sitting down, he might have wanted to choose an empty seat nearby.  Or maybe I can pretend that I was in a grouchy mood still and suggest that I wanted no company?  Yeah, I didn't think I'd get away with that by now.  Especially after I looked immediately for the left hand and third finger, which was naked and clear of telltale signs of any female ownership.


Every time the bus would make a stop I would hold my breath, "Don't get off, don't get off, don't get off..."  People would get on and the bus would continue and he'd keep talking amicably to B~. 


Inspired, I finally decide that, amongst all these people I don't have the courage to just go up and boldly profess my undying love for him (after all, how many times do I have to tell myself I'm done with men - I mean tell you...), I'd get a bus schedule as if I hadn't been taking this bus for years now and knew it better than my mother's birthday.  So I get up and go down the aisle toward him.  Just as I neared him, my shyness got the better of me and I ducked my head.   I heard the stranger say "Good morning" and I couldn't even hear my "hi" in return (so much for my grandmother's lessons in politesse - sigh!).  I grabbed the schedule and scurried back to my seat.


So now I'm sitting there kicking myself at such a wasted opportunity to talk to him and the bus stops to admit a cute bubbly blond.  "Don't you dare look at her!" I said territorily to a man I could barely even say hi to a moment ago.  Oddly enough, he barely gave her a glance!  Here I thought my competition had just entered the ring and while I have to admit she noticed him, he spared her hardly a glance. 


Inspired again, I decide to write my phone number on the bus schedule.  There are more than one way to skin a cat, after all.  This would not involve a lot of verbal communication since obviously I was miserably failing in that department this morning.  So I plan my attack, as we near the downtown stops.  I came up to get off the bus and leaned down to B~ to ask, "Do you know this guy?"  "Yeah, I know him really well, why?"  "Is he a good guy?"  "Yeah, the best!"  "Okay."  I was relieved to have rediscovered my tongue; I guess so long as I didn't have to talk to the tall handsome stranger?  Inspired one last time, I gave the schedule to B~ to give to this man.  What a relief that was, let me tell you!  But of course, nothing we delegate can ever go easy.


B~ told me not to get off at the first stop, which always struck me as odd.  So we turned the corner and the bus arrived at the 2nd possible stop.  I noticed that the stranger was preparing to get off at the same time.  I stepped off and immediately got caught up in a crowd.  I looked around for him, only to find him trucking down the sidewalk already!  I looked back at B~ as he pulled the bus away and he shrugged, then signed that he'd phone me.


I sulked.  I didn't want to talk to B~ for pity sake!  I wanted to talk to the hot stranger halfway down the street, moving at a faster pace than the bus could.


Well, true to his word, B~ called me that night and by chance was telling the truth when he said he knew that stranger well.  He had his phone number.  Luckily he didn't hold those digits hostage because I don't know what I'd have done...yes, the same woman who'd given up on men.  You going to hold that over me forever now?  Lol...


Next came the unbelievably embarrassing phone call.  What on earth was I supposed to say?  Yeah, I'm that "girl" on the bus...or how about I'm that girl in the dress who couldn't even talk to you this morning, do you remember me?  Better yet, I'm that girl on the bus...and then what?!  I took a deep breath and hoped for some sort of divine intervention before he picked up.


Only he didn't pick up.  It rang to voicemail.  I thought about hanging up, but then I'd have to call again and that alone was fear enough to motivate me to leave a message.  Aside from the whole "I'm that girl on the bus this morning..." I have no idea what I said.  Needless to say, he didn't call me back.


I went to work the next day thinking I'd surely blown my chance.  I'd felt on the bus that if I didn't act at that moment, I'd lose him forever.  It might have been a melodramatic fatalistic hormonal thought...but given our subsequent conversations I've been led to believe it might have actually been quite true.  We've been so close to meeting and might have even seen each other at various other points in our lives and just never actually "met"! 


By mid-morning I was going nuts and went down for coffee at the cafe in our building.  I talked to M~ working there in those days and groused about my luck.  "T (he actually called me this, this isn't an attempt to protect my identity - ha ha), he's going to call you back."  "Maybe I should call him again?"  "No!  He's going to call you."  By now M~ is laughing at me, which at the time I wasn't too pleased with, let me tell you!  "Give it until after lunch," he told me, "I guarantee you he's going to call."  Finding my muse, I asked him, "If he doesn't call me by lunch, are you going to give me a free cup of coffee tomorrow?" 


"," he said suddenly disconcerted.  Didn't think so, but it was worth a shot - besides he'd just said he was guaranteeing me success, didn't he? 


Well, oddly enough, Elwood did call me - nearly right about the time M~ had said he would too, which was really odd.  But I digress!  I missed the call and poor Elwood had to leave a message - actually, what am i saying?  Serves him right for having his phone shut off.  After all, he ought to have known that I was interested and was going to call him, right?  I mean the ignoring his greeting wasn't intentional...and I did try to say "hi" back.  I had that secret conversation with B~ while he was standing there and gave him that bus schedule.   Lol...


When we did connect, it was to make a lunch date for the next day.  I didn't know how I'd last until tomorrow, but then I got a call from Elwood that evening.  Turns out he was right at that bus stop we'd "met" at.  I told him in a rare moment of unprotecting my privacy to come to my house because I lived near it!  So he came over and we talked and talked and talked.  I guess I was making up for lost time?  Lol...


We went to lunch the next day, and that night he came over again and we went out for dinner.  Then we had lunch the next day and he came over that evening.  I don't think I need more than one hand to count how many times we missed eating lunch together or spending every waking moment together.


In a matter of months, he was moving in and we were planning our wedding.  In January 2006, he officially proposed (mostly only because it took us that long to find a decent ring for our budget of near-nothing).  We were both so happy.


I think about a woman I know whose husband is emotionally unavailable, but present physically.  Then I consider how emotionally available my husband is to me even though physically we're only allowed to see each other on the weekends and holidays up to 7 times per month.  I consider myself very lucky.