Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ruby's Wednesday

This is a story about a mom named Ruby who made the front page today here in Milwaukee. On Wednesday, Ruby was sent to jail for six months because she has tuberculosis...and won't take her medicine.

Now, before you get on your high horse and say how that's infringing on Ruby's rights, let me tell you a bit more about Ruby. Ruby is only 38 years old - in my book, that's young. Besides having TB, Ruby has 16 children, including a 5-week old who, no surprise, has TB too. Eleven of Ruby's children are in foster care and the rest are adults.

Ruby is also addicted to crack and alcohol and has had recurring bouts of mental illness. Her sister has volunteered to have Ruby stay with her during treatment for her various illnesses, but the problem is, Ruby keeps running away and forgetting to take her medicine.

Consequently, the judge in this case did the most compassionate thing possible and sentenced Ruby to six months in jail. I know what you're thinking: "How can jail be compassionate?" Usually, it's not, but in Ruby's case, it actually makes sense. Ruby isn't taking care of her children, she's certainly not taking care of herself and she's endangering others in the process. Although TB is no longer highly contagious, it still poses a health threat to those who have been around Ruby for prolonged periods. Something had to be done and it was.

What struck me most about this story wasn't the fact that Ruby was playing Russian Roulette with her own life and so many others. What really struck me was that the judge expressed dismay at having to go to such lengths to save Ruby. And then the judge did something you don't often hear about. After the hearing, the judge approached Ruby, hugged her and said: "I just want you to take your medicine."

I think that's what we call tough love.

47 Comments:

At 8:17 AM , Anonymous mar said...

Great story, great judge. Michele sent me!

 
At 8:42 AM , Blogger Karen said...

Wow! - That is quite a moving story - I think the judge did the right thing - I just hope Ruby gets her act together....

 
At 8:58 AM , Anonymous Tamara said...

wow! interesting story. I hope it helps her.

Happy Friday Morning from Michele's meet and greet.

 
At 10:12 AM , Anonymous Thaleia said...

What a story... let's hope she will start taking her medicine...

Here via Michele's

 
At 10:52 AM , Anonymous honestyrain said...

i think it was the absolute right thing for the judge to do and i think it was very compassionate. not only for ruby ehrself but for everyone around her.

michele asked me to come by and say hello :)

 
At 10:55 AM , Blogger K Jones said...

Pretty compelling story to be honest. I wish more judges were like this. Thanks for the story.

 
At 11:26 AM , Blogger Christi said...

It's stories like that that give faith back in our f'd up judicial system.

 
At 11:27 AM , Anonymous Jennifer said...

Now THAT'S the kind of legal story I like to see. The judicial system actually working "for the people" instead of providing so much lip service and red tape. Awesome bit, thanks for sharing!

And hello there. Michele sent me!

 
At 11:33 AM , Blogger Finn said...

Go judge.

To think that the State of Indiana is trying to pass a law that would qualify people for parenthood via artificial means (IVF, etc.) only if they are married, have a had a criminal background check and had the government go over their lives with a fine-tooth comb (including their religious activities). But Ruby is free to breed at will, no matter how messed up she is.

I hope this helps her. And Hi! Michele sent me.

 
At 11:33 AM , Anonymous La Bella said...

Hi! Michelle sent me!

Wow... I think the Judge did the right thing too. Maybe doing time in jail will make her realize how valuable life is and how she really has to take care of herself. Cause when you think about it, she's not free... [while being out of jail] She's prisoner to her own weaknesses and addictions. She probably wants to quit but can't. [If indeed she's not taking crack anymore]

This will definitely set her free from that because she will not have access to any of that.

 
At 12:35 PM , Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

I think it sounds much better to just say that the judge sent her to jail for not taking her medicine, it gives The Fuzz a bad name and I'm all about that.

 
At 1:21 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

what a shame. God must have special angels just for watching over people like those.

 
At 5:46 PM , Blogger IndyPindy said...

Hello, Michele sent me. Great post! That lady does need to take her meds!

 
At 7:33 PM , Blogger Kimberly said...

Sometimes when people can't or won't take care of themselves, society has to step in and do it for them. I'm glad that the judge was willing to make that call.

I'm here by way of Michele's.

 
At 10:30 PM , Blogger Blond Girl said...

Michele sent me. What a story! I agree; the judge did the right thing, though I'm surprised he didn't send her to detox or some kind of hospital. I am glad she's being helped though.

 
At 7:00 AM , Blogger rashbre said...

Great story - lets hope it helps.
Michele sent me

 
At 8:06 AM , Blogger Pieces of Me said...

I enjoyed the read...I am here from Michele's!

I really think its best for Ruby..i mean she clearly has a problem and the best help might be to get away and clean up for 6 months...but I am afraid things will go back to how they are now as soon as she gets out...I think the judge handled it the right way though!

 
At 9:18 AM , Blogger Oreo said...

How sweet!
Oreo

Thanks for coming to tell me happy birthday!!
Jeremy

 
At 10:33 AM , Blogger yellojkt said...

michele sent me.

It's her kids I feel really sorry for. They're looking at at least 6 months of foster care and then heaven forbid their mom gets them back.

 
At 10:42 AM , Blogger Courtney said...

Wow, crazy.
Michele sent me.

 
At 2:31 PM , Blogger ribbiticus said...

what a great judge! you don't see a lot of them like her nowadays. hello! michele sent me.

 
At 3:49 PM , Blogger Beanhead said...

Here via MIchele's

I think the judge did a very good thing!

 
At 6:43 PM , Anonymous atpanda said...

Michele sent me too. :-)
That is a good story. I don't necessarily condone the law getting involved in personal stuff, but in this case it sounds very compassionate.

 
At 10:25 PM , Blogger dena said...

Holy Guacamole! That woman deserves more than 6 months. She's selfish, criminal and hopefully will learn about birth control while she's in jail.

michele sent me

 
At 10:25 PM , Blogger Trinity13 said...

Wow, what a story...thanks for sharing!

Btw, Michele sent me!

 
At 7:23 AM , Blogger Cape Man said...

Your last line says it all.

Michele sent me.

 
At 7:25 AM , Blogger Chatty said...

Wow. Hopefully she learns something from this, but sadly, I doubt it.

Michele sent me.

 
At 8:22 AM , Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

A well written post; very good.

Michele sent me.

 
At 8:44 AM , Blogger Courtney said...

Hello again from Michele's.

 
At 8:48 AM , Blogger panthergirl said...

In this case it was probably the right thing to do, but I DO think that it's a slippery slope. I don't want the government telling me I have to, for example, have chemotherapy if I have cancer. EVEN if I have ten children.

The problem with Ruby's story isn't just the TB meds. That seems to be the least of her and her children's issues.

Here via michele!

 
At 8:49 AM , Blogger kenju said...

It's a good thing she will have to take her meds. Too bad they cannot do something to make her stop having children willy-nilly.

Michele sent me.

 
At 9:28 AM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Such a sad story...but I think in her case it was the best thing. Thank you for sharing.

 
At 9:38 AM , Blogger Minerva said...

Panther, I am with you...
There has to be some element of self-determination doesn't there?

But hey, I am not going to go against everyone's point of view...

Here from Michele's

Minerva

 
At 10:59 AM , Blogger TC said...

Wow. What an amazing story and what an incredible judge. Michele sent me.

 
At 11:01 AM , Blogger Barbara said...

Take your medicine already Ruby?
(Michele sent me)

 
At 11:42 AM , Blogger Blond Girl said...

Michele sent me, again. I would love to give you a ton of flack about the Packers, but since the Vikings are stinking the whole place up, I have nothing to back my brave words. sigh. Enjoy the game. At least the Vikings won't lost this week. I guess the bye week is good for something!

 
At 12:20 PM , Blogger Dawn said...

I think that is a wonderful story! sometime it helps to have that push. I hope things work out for her and her family. Maybe this is a good wake-up call.

 
At 3:57 PM , Blogger kitty said...

Hi michele sent me.. I think Ruby needs to get her tubes tied! lol I'd kill myself if I had 16 kids! Yeah Packers!!

 
At 7:01 PM , Blogger utenzi said...

Michele sent me your way, Karen.

I partially agree with you here, Karen. I don't think it was a good story for the judicial system however. This woman should have been taken out of public a decade ago. She's an unintentional terrorist much in the way that Typhoid Mary was in the last century. Maybe types of tuberculosis are now resistant and can be a VERY serious health threat plus she's got a household of children to act as carriers into the school system--and therefore into the homes of hundreds, maybe thousands of other people with kids.

 
At 7:01 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

What a wonderfully compassionate judge. What a horribly sad tragedy. I really want to hope that she can get her life back on track. But the pattern that's already been set is frighteningly persistent.

All I really feel like doing now is thanking God that I have what I have and I am what I am.

 
At 3:54 AM , Blogger Terry said...

All I can say is Wow! That was a great story Karen. Thanks for sharing it. I bet there are other Rubys out there who need that kind of attention for their children's sake and for their own sake.

 
At 4:30 PM , Anonymous janey said...

It is a great story. And thank for visiting my blog.

 
At 6:41 PM , Blogger YellowRose said...

Oh wow...what a story, what a judge! Thanks for sharing.

Michele sent me...glad she did.

 
At 8:41 PM , Blogger Marisa said...

Working in the child welfare industry, I have to say I find your post of great interest. It's not often that you find a judge brave enough to creatively apply the law to exact JUSTICE!

Thanks for visiting my site earlier.

 
At 10:25 PM , Blogger Indigo said...

I didn't read the story, but I heard Belling talk about it last week. I agree, tough love.

Hello, Michele sent me.

 
At 6:15 AM , Blogger Chrixean said...

oh my! That is quite a story... but if it's for her own good, then it's the best thing that may have happened to her ever!
Michelle sent me!:-)

 
At 6:47 PM , Blogger srp said...

A good judge you have there.
A compassionate judge.
A judge with common sense.
A rare combination.

PS. Here from Michele.

 

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