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My Escape from a Padded Cell

By Michael Alan Northrop

I once had an unforgettable job. Each day, I had to disinfect a padded cell (timeout room) in which folks with disabilities were locked when they acted out. In this day of advanced behavior modification, I couldn’t believe such a room still existed. Then after a nearly-fatal cerebral aneurysm and stroke in 2004, I was placed in a 24-hour wake staffed agency residence. I advocated my way back into my apartment after seven weeks there.

This experience prompted me to write my first version of my current memoir, My Escape from a Padded Cell. I discussed surviving nearly fatal chronic asthma at infancy, experiencing a permanent memory disability at age ten, having my vision permanently compromised at age fourteen, almost committing suicide after I graduated college, then inviting the Lord Jesus into my life when I was twenty-three. Other chapters discuss how I adapted to my brain injury getting through high school and college, ways I have adapted to my disability living on my own and in jobs I have had. And I included one chapter about how I fell in love with my wife, Cheryl. I am considering adding an additional chapter about how I have been forced to adapt to ever-deteriorating vision loss over the years. But through it all, my positive attitude pervades.

If you are interested in my story, please feel free to read excerpts at It sells for $16.00.