Emergency Room Experience

I visited Kaiser Permanente hospital on Morse Avenue in Sacramento, California on Thursday, January 27, 2022. I was experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, light headed, high pulse rate, fatigue, and radiating pain from upper back around to my right arm. My son drove me to the hospital and rolled me into the emergency room and pushed me to the nurse counter. Its where I sat for at least 15 minutes, even though another staff member told the RN I was experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. As the pain intensified and I realized I was not being evaluated, I tapped on the window next to me, barely able to even speak. I just didn’t feel like I had any strength. I finally got the nurse’s attention.

He proceeded to talk down to me, in a disrespectful and demeaning way, and snapped at me by saying, “I can’t just stop what I’m doing with my other patient to see you.” Other words were said, that made me feel humiliated, but I didn’t have any strength to advocate for myself. My son could not stay because of the COVID policies. At that moment, I felt like a victim. I couldn’t believe I was experiencing such behavior from medical staff in the situation that I was in. I felt my issue was life threatening.

He put me on a pulse reader, and only then did they begin to care for me, and then requested an EKG. His tone only changed then, but it was all too late. I immediately felt my blood pressure and pulse rising even higher at the type of treatment I received.

Several minutes later they took me back to get an EKG. I was lying there for another 15 minutes, before someone hooked up an EKG. Again, I didn’t have the strength to request help or find out the status. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and needed a pillow to elevate my head. The nursing staff were chatting up, talking about dates, life, etc all while I thought I was dying. It definitely was not a place for healing to occur. I thought, if I could say something, I would say I am not interested in hearing about your dating life. I am dying here..people. I mention this because it was a distraction to timely care. The nurse who was putting the sticky tabs and preparing for my EKG, was talking and distracted. Let’s just say, she could certainly improve on her multi-tasking skills.

After my EKG was finally done, they took me around to a chair to sit in and wait for care. I overheard they were supposed to put me in a room. I told them I didn’t feel comfortable walking because I thought I was going to lose consciousness and felt dizzy. They made me feel as if I didn’t deserve a wheelchair. Someone asked me, “can’t you walk?” I said, “I don’t feel comfortable walking because I feel unsteady.” So, only then did they get me a chair and wheel me to another seat. The nurses drew blood to test and see if I was having an actual heart attack. The nurse drawing my labs also had a nasty attitude. It was obvious by her eye roll when I asked for a blanket because I was freezing. She looked at me as if, I had the audacity to ask for a blanket.

Next, I got a chest x-ray. And that was another degrading experience. The way the RN placed the IV in my arm, was uncomfortable, but also to the point that I could not bend my arm. The x-ray tech is telling me to take my shirt and bra off. I asked for help, and she said, “you can’t do it yourself?” I said, I wouldn’t have to ask if you allowed at least one family member to be in, and proceeded to explain the way the IV was placed, it was painful if I attempted to bend my arm. I needed to be able to bend my arm to wrap around to undo my bra and pull my shirt off. Mind you, I was not steady and felt my balance off. She reluctantly helped me.

I writing this post to shed light on the way I and another man were treated on this day at the Kaiser on Morse hospital. My treatment was nothing compared to what I will share next. Every time I share or think about this event, it literally makes me sick.

There was this older man, whose home language is Punjabi. There was a language barrier; but you don’t need to be interpreter to know he was in dire emergency need. This man was gasping for air and vomiting blood. The care he received was something I would expect to see in a movie, not in United States, nor a prison health care system, or a communist country. For at a minimum, this man was seeking help, crying, “doctor, doctor, can’t breathe, doctor!” He was begging to be helped and not one person came to his aid. They gave him a vomit bag and was mad because he dropped the bag a couple of times. He was literally grunting, wrenching, and dropped his bag all while holding his stomach. The grimace on his face, the sounds he made made me think, I was going to witness him die in front of me. I immediately began to pray for him, asking God to breathe air into his lungs, and to spare him.

He dropped his bag a couple of times, and there were two nurses standing near him, but not helping him. One did hand him a bag and started cleaning up the vomit, but the other nurse was vicious. She started scolding him- several times over the course of 30 minutes. She yelled at him, “stop dropping your bag. You’re making a mess. Hold your bag!” He would cry out, “doctor..doctor…” And she would again, scold him and say, “we hear you already. Stop asking for the doctor.”

Eventually, at some point they moved him to the bed. He laid there continuing to grunt. No oxygen was given- nothing. They then start to ask him what happened. Apparently, he was hit in a vehicle accident. The doctor says, let’s get a translator. After, all this time they decided to call for an interpreter. Meanwhile this man, someones father, grandparent, sibling is struggling to breathe.

I am calling for the personnel who did not assist him to be terminated. No human being should be disregarded, ignored, humiliated, and left to suffer without timely medical intervention. I seen the doctor before him, and he was gasping and vomiting blood. It was obvious he was in excruciating pain.

She should be terminated from employment immediately. I don’t know what pledge she recited during her pinning ceremony, but she should revisit that and offer amends for all the people she has harmed by creating mistrust for the health care field. Her behavior/actions should be immediately investigated.

As I blog about this, I am reliving that traumatic night. I felt helpless for this poor man. I was afraid to speak up for him. I barely had the strength to even speak up for myself. I know my God is a God that heals and hears prayers. I can only hope that he survived. I can also only hope the day my brother was brought in from the ambulance on June 17, 2021, to Kaiser (the same hospital), that they did not ignore his dire need for medical intervention. He died in the Kaiser hospital emergency room.

On a side note, I recognize not all humans behave like she did or the nurse that checked me in, and that most first responders don’t have the same character. However, these type of behaviors must be addressed and stopped immediately. It is one of the reasons why people do not trust the health care system. Please change COVID policies so that families can advocate for their loved ones.

In honor of American Heart Health Month and Black History Month as we still fight to pursue heath justice and equity for all!

Trying to Tune into my Emotions

While I was going on my walks in Florida, I perceived, not feeling my normal self. Everything was beautiful around me, but I felt a little empty. And I kept trying to shake it off. This past month I noticed I was aching for companionship and a desire to connect with my ex-husband. I was trying to figure out the reasons why, and also trying to make sense of my feelings by identifying my emotions. I pondered: Is it the change in season? Is it the holidays approaching? Is there something about the weather that is causing me to feel this way? Then I began to ask myself, is there something particular or an event in the past that occurred in October to stir up any memories. I even went as far as examining, is there something happening right now that could be triggering this need.

I did not dare share with anyone how I was feeling for several reasons. 1) I did not want anyone to get the wrong message or impression. 2) I did not want those who care and love me, to worry. 3) In general, people lack understanding. 4) Just because I am processing my feelings, does not mean I would change anything in my life right now. Yet, here I am I sharing with you. Smile.

Divorce grief is real, painful, and sneaks up on you at unexpected times.

Being conscience and aware about my feelings is healthy and keeps me moving forward, and not stuck in the past. He was apart of my life for 28 years, more years than in my childhood. There are parts about him that I miss. I enjoy dining out at trendy local restaurants on Saturday mornings, before everyone wakes up. Admittedly, I miss hearing his loud, contagious, and corny laugh – sometimes. I always called it his “fake laugh.” I miss shooting the breeze and sharing my work day with him. I also miss making him laugh. People closest to me, know that I am actually a jokester. I always made him laugh, not the “fake laugh.” I think I miss the camaraderie we had, absent of the arguments about our relationship, faith, or the kids. We had good times too. I carry no shame for feeling this way.

Autumn whispered to the wind, I fall but always rise again.” – Angie Wieland-Crosby

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I miss cooking and baking for my family. I miss the annual family trips and fall traditions. Decorating my apartment is not the same when there is no one to share it with. Nevertheless, I decided that I will pull out the fall decorations and embrace the season. Literally, as I write this post, my aha moment just came to me. I am thankful to God for what he just revealed to me.

“And lastly, remember that it is okay to cry.” — Richard Kauffman

Oh boy, “goooooo eaaaaaasy – on me.” The song, Easy on Me by Adele came on while I was doing my cardio on the elliptical machine this morning. I was listening to the Apple music Pop playlist for “working out,” and this song came on. Awww shux!! You already know what happened. I was an absolute mess in Planet Fitness. So much so – that I had to put my mask and hoodie back on. Guys, I call that real therapy. I am still unsure how this song made it on a “workout playlist.” Seriously though, I think Adele wrote that song for the both of us. I am apologizing in advance to my poor neighbors who will probably hear this song on repeat for the next week.

Identity can be linked to Partnerships

My brain is still reorganizing what my new life is beginning to look like, and it may take a couple more years to fully process. My grief is not isolated to an individual, but to other aspects of my life over the last 28 years. I just wanted to be a good wife, good mother, a good Christian, and have a happy normal family life.

Friends, I leave you with God’s word, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 Amen!

In His Grip,

Chana

Ending a Relationship with a Sociopath

In 1992 at the age of 15, I met a man who was a sociopath and married him when I was 18. I was a teen in a violent dating relationship.He was a known gang member, violent, aggressive, rule-breaker, a bully, explosive, stalker, and very popular. People feared him, and many still do. Fast forward, I am 45 years old and I am still dealing with the aftermath of being in an unsafe, unhealthy, and unstable relationship.

Not all Wounds are Visible

I have been in therapy for about two years, and finally through the help of my church, found a trauma therapist who is a Christian. I have learned alot through these sessions, and am so thankful that I am finally able to share my inner most thoughts with a therapist. Many years while I was married, I attempted counseling, but I was so ashamed of myself for being married to the man who harmed me so deeply. (It is important to note: I have forgiven him for all offenses, and hold no bitterness.) I could never be a wife to him because although my heart forgave him, my body remembered what he did to me. The body keeps count/memory of the trauma.

When I was 15, he stalked me for several years and shot me. At the time, I was living in Los Angeles. He was a menace to society, to me, and my family. I did not feel safe. I had nowhere to turn. What does survival look like at the age of 15? He threatened to hurt others if I didn’t come back to him. I believed him. Why would I not? After all, he hurt me. He hurt my step-dad. He hurt my family. He hurt several people. I remember seeing him drive down my dad’s street while my little brother was playing outside, and he drove by with a gun. This is after he shot me.

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” 
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

As an adult, I carried so much shame about being with someone who harmed me in such a significant way, and continued to hurt me. Some of my closest friends that I met in adulthood, had no clue about my past, or why I was unhappy. On the outside looking in, he appeared to be the perfect Christian husband. I protected his image, while slowly the little girl inside me was dying.

I broke away for about 7 years from 1999 and reconciled back in 2007. Leaving him in 1999 almost cost me my life, the 2nd time. Again, he did what he knew best, to stalk and be violent towards me. FACT: Leaving an abusive partner/husband is the most deadliest time for a victim. I went back to him because I was young and under the influence of false teachings. I really believed that I would be cursed because I divorced. Had I got proper mental health counseling/therapy, I would have learned this is false. One’s faith is never a reason to stay in a broken marriage. Its a lie from the pits of hell. Its damaging to children and future generations to stay in an unhealthy relationship for the sake of children and/or due to biblical convictions. Divorce is not an unforgivable sin.

As I began to grow and recognize he still was disrespectful, significantly lacked empathy, manipulative, and downright harsh, I made up in my mind to get out. I started memorializing the events that made me want to leave while I was married because I found myself minimizing his behaviors. And, I didn’t think it was acceptable to leave a marriage for emotional abuse alone. I was taught a woman could not leave a man, unless adultery was involved. My faith made my decision so much more complicated.

2021 Unpacking Trauma Bond

All I hoped for, was that we could be mature, respectful, and kind to one another for the sake of our children and grand-daughter. Yet, he has not changed. He is being tormented and has so much hate for me. I am still dealing with toxic text messages, phone calls, threats, and hate. He continues to drag my children in his toxicity, parentification and alienation. He uses Holy scripture to instill fear. And constantly tells me:

Death is upon me.

I am the reason my brother died.

I am the reason why my dog died.

I am the reason why Cooper misbehaves.

My back issue is because of my sin.

I am going to hell. I will be turned over to the tormenters.

He hates me.

Worst yet, when bad or unfortunate things happen, he’s the first to say, its because of my sin.

My sin has destroyed the family.

The text messages are so damaging. His words have assassinated my character as a woman and mother. He has modeled to my sons how to harass, humiliate, bible beat, stalk, and treat women. Sadly, my children believe he loves me. They are confused and manipulated by his behavior as well.

Unusual Grief

In 2020, as I began to shatter the fantasy of him changing, the pain was so overwhelming. The deep anguish I buried for so long, began to present. I am still hurting and healing. It is possible to hold joy, hurt, and hope in the same hand. Yes, I moved on with my life, but I still hurt, and remain hopeful.

I grieve for that young woman I was becoming before I met him. I grieve for my baby that I lost. I grieve for my children who are hurting. I grieve for my childhood that was taken away from me. I grieve over friendships I lost during the divorce. I grieve for the marriage I never had. I grieve over the relationship. I grieve for the person he never became, that I hoped he would through Christ.

As I close, I will often share a song that is meaningful to me. Remember, leave people in a better condition, then you’ve found them. In loving memory of Gabby Petito, Rest In Peace.

Grief Day by Day

Cannot go back to sleep. Fell asleep around 1:00 ish am and was awakened by a stupid balloon that somehow floated into the ceiling fan around 3:00 ish am. My dog and I were both startled because it sounded like gun shots.

Yesterday, I went to my garden that I’ve neglected. It was a divine appointment. One of the fellow gardeners poured into me, after she seen me sobbing. #gratitude

Sometimes I wonder

Where is my Protector?

Where is my King, my leader, my covering?

What will life look like 2 years and 5 years from now?

Is everyone wounded?

Where is my defender? My Superman, my hero?

Where is my encourager?

Will I experience a normal, healthy, and loving relationship?

For those who know me, you know how much I love listening to music. I recently stumbled across this song, called, “For You,” by Kenny Lattimore. It came out in 2009, way back then! Any whoo, I love it! It’s beautiful. It makes me think of what could be one day….keep hoping..anyways.

I’ve been sitting with my feelings, acknowledging how I feel, and realizing that I need to make some changes to protect my peace and health.

Today, I’m reminded, God is good all the time. ❤️Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” ❤️🙌🏽

One Year after the Pandemic Started

Late February, 2021, I was reflecting on how thankful I was that nobody in my immediate family caught COVID-19. A whole year and we all managed to not be a statistic, until I noticed my daughter was coughing a lot. I kept fussing at her, to cover her mouth, get out the kitchen, and stay away from me. I even urged her to get a COVID test. A couple days later, I start coughing, and then progressively declined. I immediately scheduled a test and got my results back the next day on March 4. Ironically, my vaccine appointment was scheduled the same day. I contemplated going if I did not get my test results back in time.

Thinking back, I believe now the symptoms started 5-7 days before. I normally go to the gym in the morning, and didn’t have the energy to go, not even for my normal walks. I decided to honor my body with rest and didn’t feel guilty about not exercising because I was truly fatigued. Hindsight, it was good I made that decision, to reduce the spread of COVID to others at the gym. I had body aches, and the fatigue was subtle. I did notice my upper back and shoulders were aching, but I thought it was work induced.

Once, I found out I was positive, fear was trying to set in. The logical part of my mind told me, many people survive COVID-19; however, it was hard to not think about the “what ifs.” What if I become a death statistic? I kept surfing the internet to see if my symptoms were normal. Nowhere does it mention symptoms about, having excruciating pain. My pain was severe.

On March 5, I noticed I have lost my sense of smell/taste. This is a few days after and not at the onset. These symptoms were far from “mild.” Having COVID was excruciating.

My Symptoms

I don’t know about what you’ve heard, but no one tells you about the excruciating systemic nerve pain. There were nights, I cried myself to sleep because the pain was so intense. I tossed and turned all night long because I was very uncomfortable, almost unbearable. My lips were chapped from inhaling and exhaling, thinking deep breathing would help ease the pain. I was suffering. If I had to describe COVID, I would say, it was as if I had a continuous migraine with a lodged kidney stone, nerve pain from a bulging and herniated disk coupled with labor pain and without relief in the middle of a cold forest. I have never been this sick in my life. I could feel the disease attack my spinal discs, joints and kidneys. My options for pain OTC pain relief was limited. I am severely allergic to ibuprofen.

Lessons Learned

I let my guard down and have children who bounce back and forth from my house to their dad’s house. Unfortunately, we failed to make a plan if someone was experiencing symptoms. The whole family had COVID, 2 households.

I struggled with deciding if I should take time off the first week and did not want to leave work with so much to do. I managed to get through the first week, but then took off the second week. It was my manager’s gentle prompting, that helped me make the decision. I think the COVID fog, made it more difficult to make simple decisions about what was best for me. The second week was worse.

Propel to Action

Look out for those who are single, have young children, or elderly. They may not have the strength to cook, or order food online, nor the support system to ask someone to pick up prescriptions or groceries for them. Experiencing COVID-19 can be very isolating and can make one feel as if their on a planet all by your yourself. One of my Deputy Director’s sent me a gift card via email. It was such a kind gesture, and needed. I was unable to do anything for my family.

Two weeks after I “recovered” from COVID, I received my 1st Moderna shot. Some people thought I should’ve waited, but I was so anxious because I thought we might run out of vaccine and didn’t want to experience COVID again. After the shot, I was ill for the weekend, the pains came back, but not as intense- thankfully. I’m due for my 2nd shot on Friday, April 16. I am so grateful for Governor Newsom and the administration! Our state has the lowest COVID positive rates! I’ve always had a conservative view on vaccines, and appreciate both perspectives. There is value in vaccines, this I do know.

Lingering Effects are Real

My symptoms range from headaches, runny nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest/heart pain- not sure which is it, heart flutters, and increased feelings of anxiousness. I tried going back to the gym and resuming walking the beginning of April, but I have not been consistent due to my energy levels and prioritizing my time.

COVID Thriver & Survivor

Today, I have a renewed appreciation and gratitude for my health. I am so thankful none of my family members had to be hospitalized or worse – expire. Surviving COVID should be celebrated!! Over a half million people have passed away from COVID in the United States, young and old.

Remember: Wash your hands. Wear a Mask. Watch your distance.

Keep Looking Up,

Chana