Despite the gorgeous sunrise and freshly fall weather gracing the coast, this week seems to be quite dark in the events that are coming up. Back in May, my landlady who I lived with at the time had a very unsavory man living with her. In 6 months, he had not paid rent so she had me – of all people – serve him his eviction notice. Eventually, the police had to come and remove him the hard way. The next day, my brake lines were mysteriously cut. She had a restraining order against him but despite numerous violations against it, he continued to stalk and harass her. Most recently, she found her two outdoor cats had been killed and left in a bag on her front lawn. This is the type of person we are dealing with. On his first violation of the night he was thrown out, she and I were sitting on the front porch and saw him come back onto the property. We called the police and filled out witness reports. Stupid, stupid move on my part. This week, I have to go testify against him in court as a witness even though I have been telling the prosecuting attorney for months that my life is in danger from this man. He is not sane, he is not to be trusted. A text from his ex wife to my landlady early on said it plainly: “You don’t know what he’s capable of.” This single chilling text has stuck in my mind ever since and on many occasions, he has indeed proven what he is capable of. Now even though I no longer live at her address, he can just as easily find out where I live if I go testify against him. What happens next? I’m afraid to find out. Just pray that he does land in jail for a substantial amount of time finally without bail or that if he does manage to go free that he doesn’t find me. Ever.
Trying to come up with some radical new idea (ok, maybe “radical” in this day and age was a bad term) – a BIG new idea for research for my next FME article. With everything happening in the news, I should not be at a loss for a topic, however my fear is that I will just come across as repeating the same news we’ve been hearing every day. What would YOU like to read about, or hear a fresh view on? Tell me in the comments!
Just to drop an update on myself, ever since my boss passed away on December 28th and the company subsequently closed on January 2, I have been seeking work. For 3 1/2 months, I have been living on my tax return and the grace of friends and charity however that is all running out quickly. If I don’t find viable work *this month* I will be facing very dire circumstances.
The stress of this has caused my blood pressure to shoot up as the worry is constantly there, 24/7, and I have rarely been able to sleep at night for the past couple months. A week and a half ago, I ended up having to break down and go to the doctor with the joints in my right wrist severely inflamed – I was unable to move my wrist, hand or fingers at all. The wrist was treated and cleared up in a matter of days with a brace and a prescription anti-inflammatory but we still don’t know the cause of it. X-rays showed no fracture, blood tests showed no elevated uric acid and therefore no possibility of gout, and the doctor also ruled out arthritis. It remains an excruciating mystery but at least I have leftover meds to treat it should it recur.
While at that doctor visit, whereas the wrist was treated quickly enough, the focus of the visit quickly turned to my blood pressure when my vitals were taken. Back to that – my BP was 210/140. YIKES! The doc immediately gave me a Clonidine and told me to go to the emergency room however if you’ve ever read my previous post about Lawnwood Regional, you’ll understand why I was loathe to even consider stopping in there. In the end, I did not go to the ER, taking the prescription for Clonidine and hoping that would start to lower my numbers.
Like an idiot, I started right in on the full prescribed dose. Had I remembered the problems I had when starting on another BP med several years ago (heart rate below 60, fainting, inability to walk more than a few feet without severe difficulty in breathing), I would have started small and worked my way up to the full dose. The first 3 days of full-dosing this time, same thing. I was fainting, could barely breathe due to very slow heart rate, and (thankfully this was over the weekend) was barely able to stay awake for more than a couple hours at a time. My thinking and reaction times were very slow so driving anywhere was NOT an option. By that Monday, I was vomiting and fainting and I stopped the med completely (another stupid thing, but I did consider how my BP would shoot up in doing so). I called my doctor and told him I *have* to do this my way. By stepping the dose up slowly over the next few days, I was fine on the prescribed dose. Hitting my system all at once though is something my body just couldn’t handle.
In taking my BP every couple days over a week and a half, I saw the numbers were going down but not nearly enough. I called the doc and reported the latest readings and he still *insisted* that I go to the ER. It was either that or drop another $60 at his office to be seen for another reading and a dose adjustment. I did not have $60, I’d just dropped my entire unemployment check at his office at the initial visit, so this time I had no choice – I had to go to Lawnwood.
Checking into the ER, my initial reading put the staff on alert: 240/120 – Hypertensive Crisis. The previous afternoon’s reading was around 203/116 – I am willing to bet that just the thought of having to go to this hospital spiked it. Immediately, I was in a bed hooked up to a monitor, getting about a dozen vials of blood drawn, the works. The odd thing is, I *felt* fine, but this is why they call hypertension “The Silent Killer.” They ended up doing a chest X-ray on me and an EKG. Bloodwork came up clear, X-ray came up clear, I don’t know what the EKG said. After receiving additional medication, 3 hours later my BP had reduced to 174/91 – the lowest it’s been since this whole ordeal started. That was enough for them to discharge me with two new medications in a combo pill to be added to my original one.
Because of the urgency in getting those numbers down to stay, I have gone headfirst into the full dose of the new med(s). Since I lack a way of checking my BP at home (can not afford a home device), I have to go to a pharmacy or a fire station to get it checked for free. Driving right now is not an option, so it’ll have to wait until my head clears from the new med. What a headache this has all been, especially thinking of all the medical bills when I’m trying to survive on a tiny unemployment check that pays my rent but nothing else 😦
Sunday night… I don’t know what it was that made me feel the urge to go outside but something unseen directed me to get up, go outside, look left. I can’t describe the sheer horror when I did go and saw the smoke pouring out the front door, window and wall of my next door neighbor’s apartment. Within seconds, the fire was also visible through the wall.
Within seconds, I was dialing 911 and running to wake my neighbors C. & B. on the other side of the fire. Those 2 minutes trying to wake them felt like forever. Once they were safely outside and substantially in shock, I ran back to my place and – still on the phone with 911 – and turned my hose on the fire (which was now clearly visible through the front wall and clear that the hot spot was a faulty electrical outlet) then onto my roof and outside wood walls and back onto the endangered apartment. B. then turned his hose on the area my water couldn’t reach and we held the fire back until the fire department arrived a full six minutes later.
I went to talk with B. and C. while the firemen took an axe to the burning front wall of I.’s apartment to expose the fire. The source was indeed a faulty outlet that blew with a power surge. B. & C. had reported these power surges to FPL and to the landlord repeatedly and neither had done anything about it. Now it became a real threat to life and property.
That night after the power was cut to that duplex and all was quiet, I was still too much of a nervous wreck to sleep. Monday morning, A. and his mom picked me up early and took me down to West Palm for the day to try to get my mind off everything. I almost had myself convinced that it was an isolated incident and that we were safe. That idea didn’t last long though as I spoke with C. that afternoon and she told me the landlord and the maintenance guy came out and did a “quick fix” by simply splicing a new outlet to the burned wire, replacing the front wall wood panels (only on the outside) and turning the breaker back on. This is a violation of fire code, it remains a fire risk and no inspection was done to ensure its safety, not to mention the maintenance guy is NOT a licensed electrician – Code Enforcement will have a field day on this C. promised to call CE this morning and I provided her the number last night. I called this afternoon (Tuesday) to follow up after learning that she had not called because she did not have her phone.
Monday night saw no sleep either. This event has really gotten to me mentally and emotionally and my nerves are frayed, so much so that Monday night I tried calling around for a 24-hour free counseling line to try to find a way to quell the fear and anxiety. The only place I could get was a Consult-A-Nurse line and all they did was tell me to go to the E.R. Well, I did. My blood pressure was spiking, my head was pounding, my stomach twisted in knots. I had been in a full-blown panic attack for a full 24 hours. The Triage nurse tried twice to get my BP but could not get a reading. He told me it was “too high for the machine to read.” He told me to relax (yeah, right) and they’d try again in a few minutes.
The next nurse who saw me briefly told me the chart said my BP was 117/20. Um – what? It’s never been that low – I have uncontrolled high blood pressure and no meds for it. I told her the guy who just tried to take it said it was so high he couldn’t get a reading. She said, “Oh, well it says here you’re normal,” and would not check it again to get a real reading. They falsified my chart! They refused to treat me for the anxiety or the BP and merely sent me home with a script for Vistaril which I wouldn’t be able to get until the next day anyway. I went in there because my pressure was so high it was making me sick and because I was in a panic attack too scared to sleep for 2 nights straight – and they refused to treat me. This is what hospitals do to people with no insurance – they leave them for dead. I almost wished I’d have had a stroke in the parking lot on the way out. Let them be accountable.
Now it is Tuesday night and I still have not been able to sleep. The landlord and his secretary and maintenance guy are trying to say someone threw a Maletov cocktail at the building. What a load of crap. Even fire and police reports state the cause of the fire was faulty wiring. Maintenance also tried to assure me the building is safe now and that my building is safe, stating mine was inspected “when it was all done,” whatever or whenever that means. I don’t feel safe.
Even today, my neighbors are calling me a hero. Yes I stopped a fire from spreading. Yes I got my neighbors out safely. But to be such a wreck afterward… Idunno… doesn’t feel very “heroic.” All I need is Valium.
This past Tuesday, someone very close to me sent me the following text:
“No idea what’s going on but Clackamas Town Center is literally surrounded by police w/medical and fire on hand en masse.” 4:02 PM PST Dec 11
He was right there, trying to get through the chaos, texting me as it happened:
“Units still arriving, all agencies, well over 100.” 4:03 PM PST Dec 11
I’m pacing at this point, wondering what the hell is happening. He’s in Oregon City, I’m 3500 miles away in Florida and helpless to do anything to follow my first instinct to get him out of there (not that he’d have needed my help, that’s just the way I am). Dreading what I’d see, I turned on the news…
This was hitting way too close to home as someone I love was THERE.
Then Friday… Newtown, CT… I could not believe what I was hearing as I was listening to the reports coming in on NPR. As the count rose of all the children senselessly taken from this quiet community at a place where they are supposed to be safe, all I could think of was my daughter. She was at school here and at that moment all I wanted to do was hold her, protect her, from anything and everything. But that’s impossible.
We are coming into a time where people are becoming so desperate that they are more and more often resorting to more violent means of crying out for help, for getting their points across. Only two emotions can remain after such attacks in our own communities: Anger and Fear. The anger will only progress into rage and more calculated killings. The fear can only drive innocent people away from public places, into their homes afraid to go out in public anymore. No place is immune from someone snapping and opening fire. Temples, churches, schools, malls… I think if we really come together as communities and pay attention to what is happening around us, pay attention to the signs that others are giving, we may be able to prevent some future attacks from occurring. If we can catch warning signs earlier that someone is hurting, perhaps we can direct them to help, or get help to them. I don’t know – I don’t think anyone does. There is no one solution to the growing problem and definitely no easy one. I do think however we can all start by caring a little more, reaching out, pulling together. We are our brothers’ keepers.