Why Do They Keep Locking Me Up?

Winner of the Epilepsy Foundation of America’s National Book Award

The mind can only look. The heart can sometimes see.

Rusty’s Story is a True Story. It’s a story of genuine courage and dignity. A story about what human beings could be at their best in spite of incredible pain and suffering. Rusty’s Story is Carol Gino’s account of the extraordinary life of the woman she undertook to help – the woman who ended up teaching her an invaluable lesson about the will to live, the strength of hope…

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*There are over two million people in America alone who have epilepsy and today most of them, if properly diagnosed and treated – can live normal lives.

The doctors made mistakes with Rusty – some very big mistakes. But it wasn’t so much a shocking misdiagnosis as it was a misdiagnosis with shocking consequences. The diagnosis was that Rusty was paranoid schizophrenic. And because of that diagnosis, because of that label, Rusty was committed to a state mental hospital on and off for over four years.


But the doctors were wrong.

What Rusty really had was epilepsy. And because they were unable to see that, she was locked up at the age of fifteen and prevented from living a reasonably normal life. Rusty used to wonder if she would make it through the day, seeing danger in everyday living. She was twenty when Carol Gino met her and learned of her past ordeals: the stigma of mental illness, the drugs that took away her self-control, the treatments that only worsened her symptoms. Carol and Rusty set out to prove that illness can be overcome, and that there is no substitute for love and care.

Check Out What Other People Are Saying About This Book

Beautifully written, full of sympathy, empathy, warmth, drama, and tragedy…a gripping story…
well worth reading whether or not you are in the healing professions…

John M. Freeman M.D.

Professor, Neurology & Pediatrics, The John Hopkins Hospital

The true story of one young woman’s nightmare battle with epilepsy, told by the registered nurse with whom she lived. Gino first meets Barbara Russell (Rusty) when Rusty is 19 and they are both working at a nursing home. Four years earlier, Rusty was diagnosed as having severe epilepsy. Even with medication, the blackouts and seizures continued. After one violent seizure, she attempted suicide and was placed in a mental hospital, with brutal guards, violent patients, and lack of adequate care. Only Rusty’s strength and belief in herself helped her survive. When her attacks resumed, she left Gino’s house, but Gino continued to try to find the right physician and treatment. An epilogue shows that Rusty made it through college and has become an independent, accepted member of society. Rusty’s story covers approximately 15 years, but the feeling is one of an immediate event. Gino’s involvement, intensity, and anger at the medical establishment moves readers into an empathy for Rusty and horror at the ignorance of some physicians and the world at large. Teens who enjoy the books of Torey Hayden, Eleanor Craig, or Mary MacCracken will also like this one.

Diana Hirsch PGCMLS, Md

While many advancements have been made in understanding and treating epilepsy, the disease is still surrounded by an aura of dread. Rusty was a teenager when she was stricken with epilepsy. Misdiagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, for years she suffered more from inappropriate medical treatment than from her condition. The reader is mesmerized as Gino passionately relates Rusty’s plight. Despite repeated incarcerations in a frightful state mental institution and the toxic effects of drugs, she never lost her sense of humanity or her strong desire to help others. Gino’s deep distrust of the medical establishment, her fervent attachment to nursing, and her conviction that the patient knows best are themes that are interwoven into the emotional story of Rusty’s fight for a normal life.

Carol R. Glatt

Helene Fuld Medical Center Lib., Trenton, N.J.

The patient asks. “How will I know if I’m crazy.” And the doctor answers, “If you can ask that question you are probably OK.” But what if you ask and there is no one listening? Or what if your body is doing things that scare people and you have no control over it? That is exactly what happens in this true story, “Rusty’s Story”. There isn’t any fairy tale ending. This is real life. All there is is hope. I like that.

Amazon, Customer Review

You think it couldn’t happen to you… but your wrong. I found out about this book the summer of 2002 from the Epilepsy Foundation of America. It could so easily be my story and very nearly is…. Patient rights need to be protected but so often they are ignored. I was committed after refusing a feeding tube, but then denied medical care for my status episodes of seizures and migraines while in the Psych Ward. Nobody can ever explain what it is like to happen to you, but Carol Gino comes close. Everyone needs to read this story and then go to your lawyer and get a medical power of attorney assigned to someone you trust. Protect yourself anyway you can. This story may scare you, but in the long run you need to protect yourself. Know that you have rights. Also, know that there is always someone worse off than you, and that you must always have hope. I did, and I survived…

Amazon, Customer Review

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About the Author

Carol Gino is a registered nurse with a MA in Transpersonal Psychology whose twenty+ year career has included experience in almost every area of health care, from critical care nursing to hospice to teaching.

The Nurse’s Story was her first book, and her articles have appeared in New York magazine, Nursing, American Journal of Nursing, and The Chicago Tribune. She has done several cross-country media tours advocating patient rights and to change the Image of Nursing.

Several book clubs chose the Nurse’s Story and it was published in 9 foreign countries.

Her other books are:
Nurse’s Story – New York Times bestseller
Rusty’s Story – New York Times bestseller
Then An Angel Came – Award Winner
There’s An Angel In My Computer
Yardsale of Life and The 8 Coats of Meaning
Where Dreams Come True
The Azurite

Carol Gino spent 20 years in relationship with Mario Puzo, author of “The Godfather”. After his death in 1999, she completed his manuscript of “The Family,” which was also a best seller.