Mike Arotsky, aka Mike Tattoo, is covered in ink and loves his motorcycles. In past lives, he was a body builder and a TV actor. Now, at age 55, Arotsky spends his days in a cramped apartment in Howard Beach, Queens, spoon-feeding baby food to his ailing, 89-year-old invalid mother.
She suffers from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder in which the immune system attacks the nerves and eventually paralyzes the body. Arotsky doesn’t trust anyone else to look after his mother and can’t stand the idea of sending her to a nursing home.
His devotion means personal sacrifices: Friendships and romantic relationships have taken a backseat to the daily cycle of feeding, cleaning – and watching old TV shows together.
“Unfortunately, American society is all about ‘me,’” Arotsky said. “How can you forget your original family?”