3.12.2008

Catch-up blog

This last week has been very trying for me. Saturday during the blizzard, my bumper got ripped off my car and the brakes totally went out. We had just replaced the brakes, but then something happened to the brake lines and they had to be replaced. That all came to at least $500. It’s always something isn’t it?

School’s going ok, I have a ton of homework to do this weekend and a few papers to write. I have 5 days off work, and I’m going to need every one of them to not only get this school work done, but to emotionally recover from today.

Today, work was one of the most emotionally draining days for me in such a long time...I’m still crying at the thought of it. I can’t go into heavy details because of privacy laws, but to sum it all up I had a patient that was being admitted due to complications from domestic violence...a subject that is very personal to me. She was hesitant to even give the guys last name because he had told her he would kill her or one of her family members if she reported him. After working long and hard to convince her to trust the police and let them protect her, she finally consented to talking to them. I quickly called them and had an officer come to the emergency room to talk to her...and I almost wish I hadn’t. My heart is shattered into a thousand pieces just thinking of the way that she was failed by the "system" today.

The officer that responded was so rude, arrogant, cocky, judgmental, impatient and unhelpful...not only to her, but to me too. He was so horrible, and totally blew her off. Because the fiance doesn’t live with her, they aren’t married yet and they don’t have kids together, it’s not considered domestic violence to the police and they refused to do anything for her. He said he’d file a report, and if she wanted to press charges it was up to her to get in touch with the prosecutor and pursue it. He was SO NASTY. I looked at him in disbelief and he snapped at me that he didn’t know what any of this had to do with me anyways. I said, "I’m her NURSE...it has EVERYTHING to do with me. A man beat the hell out of her, and you’re not going to do ANYTHING about it???" We had a slightly heated exchange for a moment, and he totally dismissed me. He walked away from me waving his arm in the air saying, "if you have an issue, take it up with the chief. I’m done with you." I was LIVID. I was so mad and hurt that tears began streaming down my face. The patient was sitting in her room crying and saying, "I knew they wouldn’t help me! I knew they wouldn’t do anything! He’s going to murder me now!" I felt so utterly helpless and sad. I felt like I had let her down in such a tremendous way.

I was walking briskly out of the e.r. with people yelling behind me that I had a phone call. I totally ignored them and kept walking. I was sobbing and telling a coworker what had just happened, when my phone rang. It was the nursing supervisor saying that the police were here and looking for me and she wanted to know what the heck was going on...were they here to arrest me for something? I reassured her that they weren’t, and between my sobs quickly gave her the basics of how it was about a patient and I just ripped a cop a new one. She said they wanted me back in the e.r. to talk to them (his supervisor was now here too), and I told her absolutely not. I would NOT be going back in there. I was sad, angry and felt like I totally betrayed my patient. I would not be going back in there to duke this out with the police in front of the patient and the entire emergency room. She asked if I would be willing to talk to them in her office and I reluctantly agreed. I called my boss and headed to the supervisor’s office.

This issue hit such a deep chord in me that I absolutely COULD NOT turn off the tears, and continued the "ugly cry" all the way to the office despite my best efforts to compose myself. As I was sitting in the office waiting (the supervisor had left to go find my boss), I heard the familiar sound of keys on a belt jingling. Almost two years of dating a cop in that hospital has left me able to recognize that sound all too well unfortunately. I turned around and looked out into the waiting area and saw a different officer standing there than I had talked to earlier.

"Are you here for me?"

"Are you Veronica?"

"Yes." He immediately starts barrelling towards me pointing his finger at me and loudly saying:

"I don’t even know what I have to be doing here! This is ridiculous and my officer TOLD you that there would be NOTHING done about this by us! If the prosecutor wants him arrested for assault and battery, that will be up to him!" He was yelling and so nasty (just as bad as the first guy). Just then, the supervisor and my boss walk in and the supervisor jumps in between us and gets in the cops face, coming to my rescue.

"HEY! You BACK OFF OF HER! I told you to SAVE IT until I got back in here! How DARE you attack my nurse that way!"

"She talked to me first! And I don’t need YOUR permission to talk to her!"

"Oh yes you do! We don’t even know what’s going on here yet and you’re attacking her!"

He continued being snide and snotty and totally patronizing to me, and I continued sobbing. He reminded me that he still didn’t understand what I had to do with it anyways, and I yelled at him that I was legally bound to be an advocate for that patient, and I was in it whether he like it or not! He told me that if I was such an advocate for her, that I should go be an advocate for her at the prosecutor’s office tomorrow instead, because the cops refuse to do anything about it but file a report. He then went on to ask me why I was so passionate about this, and I told him it was because my heart was broken for her right now. That every bit of faith I had just fought to instill in her had been destroyed in minutes by the Lorain police department, and that I was passionate because for nine years I lived in Lorain with an abusive husband who used to beat the tar out of me. I never had the help to get away from him, and whenever I had him arrested, they would only let him right back out. I said, "all this crap about ’two times and it’s a felony and they go to prison’ is such crap! My husband never went to prison until he finally hurt my little girl! So SCREW the Lorain police department! Women are being HURT by men, and you won’t do ANYTHING to help them! You’re damn right I’m passionate about this!"

His assanine response to this was, "Do you know how many scenes we’re on every day???" My response was, "I don’t care!"

He said, "We can’t arrest every guy that a woman claims has beat her! Do you know how many innocent men there are sitting in jail right now because of this?"

I said, "Do you know how many GUILTY men there are walking the streets because you don’t do CRAP???"

He replied, "There’s no proof that he did this...there’s no camcorder in her house that recorded all of this! There are no witnesses! What do you want us to do? This is police work...there has to be PROOF!"

My response was, "YEAH, SHE ENDED UP IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM WITH THESE WOUNDS BECAUSE OF NOTHING, RIGHT???"

There’s no way to convey in this blog the patronizing, insulting tone that these cops had. It broke my heart. It still breaks my heart. I feel like this is the biggest let-down of my entire career, and the second biggest let-down of my life...the first being when I felt like I let Courtney down all those years ago. That wound has been opened up all over again, and I feel like I could just take a bat to the heads of every man who has ever put his hands on a woman in anger. And DON’T bother responding to this telling me about all the abused men in the world. I don’t want to hear it. Yes, there are abused men...but WOMEN are by far and large the biggest victims of crimes of abuse by men, and I am SO TIRED OF IT!

I am crying tear after tear of grief just thinking about the fear and devastation that woman must be feeling tonight as she lays in the hospital wondering what’s going to happen. Memories of racing down the road trying to escape the evil one, with him driving next to me trying to run me off the road and pointing a gun at me keep flooding my mind. Images of me being pinned down on the ground with his hands gripped firmly around my throat, me struggling and kicking my foot through the front of a box fan we had sitting on the floor. Him smashing our front picture window out of our house and literally punching the front door down when I finally got him locked out. He went to jail, but quickly came right back and convinced me that it was my fault and that I was used goods with kids that no one would ever want again.

I hate him. God forgive me, but I do. I will never hurt him back because I believe God’s vengence will be so much worse than anything I can ever dream up. But I hate him for terrorizing me and my children for so long. I hate him for taking advantage of the innocent, forgiving girl that I used to be and being the key force in turning me cynical. I’m willing to forgive him if God takes these feelings away from me, but I don’t know how to do it on my own. He’s been in prison now for five years, and it’s still so raw. He had the nerve to send me a few letters a few months ago telling me that he can’t wait to see me and the girls when he gets out and that he still loves me. I was so infuriated, I was blinded with rage. I was ready to drive to Mansfield and march into that prison just to tell him to burn in hell. I wrote him back telling him as much and told him that I’d better never hear another word from him again, and I let him know in no uncertain terms that I will die to protect my children after what he did, and if he EVER thinks about getting within ten miles of him he is going to see my wrath face to face. I’ve never heard from him again since.

Needless to say, I need prayer tonight. Please also pray for my patient, her safety, and her emotional peace. She is a christian. As a matter of fact, I used to go to church with her. Please pray for her.

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