I have a tale to tell you that you just will not be able to fathom. If I didn’t know better, I would say God has a sense of humor, because my year just ended with a loud bang! (head shake)
Yesterday afternoon I started to get in trouble with my lungs again. I tried everything, but, to no avail. (The maintenance guys are finishing up the construction on our historical building so floors were being stained and I was reacting badly to the stain chemicals). So…I called the office and asked for an ambulance.
They were incredible. They called the ambulance and then came and sat with me, keeping me as calm as possible, until the ambulance got here. I so hit the jackpot with this apartment, let me tell you.
Anyway, the trip over by ambulance was fine, and the doctor treated me quickly and then released me once my lungs were open again. This time, my bronchial tubes had spasms and would not let the air in my lungs out [no exhaling allowed sign popped up! ], therefore, no air was able to go into my lungs either. It feels like you are drowning. An awful feeling. Having someone next to me, keeping track of my pulse, and letting me know I was okay really helped. I was so thankful for that.
I then went to the waiting room to wait for a ride home. The receptionist called a cab for me and that’s when it all went south. The first cab driver showed up, waited ten minutes (never came in, honked, nothing to indicate he had arrived) and then left. I finally went back to the receptionist and asked if she could see what happened to my taxi.
She called and then told me that he had come and gone and ordered me a second taxi. This one did show up. When I asked him if I could pay by credit card because I had no money on me, he said the trip would be a minimum of $20.00. Now here in Tulsa, that isn’t how it works and I knew he was taking advantage of me. (head shake)
I realized that if I got in the car with him, I had no way to defend myself, if he drove to TX and back, I had no working Blackberry to call for help (the battery had died – don’t you hate that? Always happens, too, when you desperately need it!), and he had just tried to take me for a ride financially. My gut just said no! So I told him to forget it.
In addition, I had received word from my friend she was on her way so I knew I would be okay.
Then all hell broke loose. At about 8:30 pm-ish (I had been discharged around 5pm-ish, I see these two policemen walk in. I notice that one them tilts his head ever so slightly in my direction, and then without turning his head looks over at me. I knew something was up.
Now just for background, I was in a full-blown crash when my lungs spazzed out, I had been waiting for almost four hours for a ride (which didn’t bother me other than physically) and I had been moving around the waiting room all night trying to avoid sick people or chemicals that might trigger another lung issue.
This cop turns, walks towards me, and starts to question me as to what I was doing, why was I still here, and did I know how long I had been here. No. I’m a total idiot! Geesh.
I nicely answered. Then he asked me why I turned down FOUR, count that, FOUR taxis. I was a little taken aback and said, I didn’t refuse four taxis. He then informed me that the receptionist was the one that called the cops on me and she told him that she had called four taxis and I had refused to take any of them!
Now, I was ticked. I told him that was an outright lie. Of course he re-iterated that, that is what she told him. So I told him, “well, she is a liar. That never happened”
And here is where it turned totally crazy. He informed me that I could not wait for my ride in the ER waiting room, because I was … ready for this? … LOITERING! He even defined it for me so I would understand the term.
I was absolutely flabbergasted! I’m now being told I am committing a crime by waiting for my ride in the ER WAITING room. Did you get that? WAITING room! Maybe they should change the name to waiting room up to 1 hour and then you will be guilty of loitering room!
So I asked the cop what he wanted me to do. Go wait outside in the cold? And he said yes. (head shake)
So, I got up and went outside to wait. He followed me out and started asking me questions. Okay, for those of you with M.E./CFS, what happens when we are in a crash, under pressure, or having a bad day and we are asked for answers on the spot? Yup. BLANK-ness.
I could not recall any of the answers. So now, this cop is thinking there is something seriously wrong with me. I can’t remember the name of my friend’s store, the street it is on, I don’t know the name of the bank she went to on her way to pick me up, and I don’t know her phone number or when she is going to get there. Sigh…
Now, for transparency sake, I do not do well when I am falsely accused, when I am pushed for answers I can’t come up with and when I am cornered by a man. Since my rape in the military, I do not like to be cornered by a man or have one repeatedly get into my space. This is still an area of work for me.
I also, over the last three years, have come to realize when too many things are coming at me at once or in fire-rapid succession, I’m put under duress, or I’m exhausted, that I raise my voice when I talk. I sound like I’m yelling. I have had several people tell me that now including my dad. I think, it’s not so much that I’m yelling as it is that I’m stressed and my voice matches my stress load.
So as you can imagine, I am now ‘yelling’ at this cop. I thought for sure I was going to get arrested. I just knew I was going to get arrested for waiting for a ride in the ER waiting room … err … loitering room!
Finally, I just couldn’t take anymore, I was freezing (I was outside in thin sweats, slippers, no coat, gloves, scarf, hat, nothing) and my legs were doing the OI thing. So I turned and started walking, thinking I might walk home and end this nightmare of a day.
I was heading toward the end of the side-walk and this cop comes walking really fast up besides me and tells me if I’m going to walk away (he might have said run – like I could even do that) and jumps in front of me, and tells me (from about 2 inches in front of my face) I’m getting in front of you because you are not going to turn your back on me . You are being rude.
Totally stunned, I blurted out, I didn’t turn my back on you. I’m walking away.
He finally left me and walk away and then from a distance kept an eye on me with his partner. I stayed at the end of the sidewalk and tried to decide if I should walk home. After some thought I decided that, that was a bad idea. My state of dress made me a target, it was dark, I was alone, my blackberry was dead, I had no weapon, and I couldn’t fight back or call if I got lost or in trouble. Nope. Not a good idea.
That is when I noticed my friend and turned around. The cop started asking me more questions and continued asking me what I was going to do. My response was wait for my ride.
Now at this point, all I can think of is I just want to get away from this man who is sapping every microscopic drop of energy from me. In frustration, I asked him “what the hell happen to America? This is not the country I defended! I’m now loitering if I wait for a ride in the ER waiting room? There was a time when cops used to help women in trouble?
That’s when he told me he was trying to help me by helping me to make ‘good choices’. Uh huh! I was completely gobsmacked and just had the wind taken right out of me. Wow!
I also noticed that he had toned down upon hearing my reference to serving America – i.e. Vet. Not sure if he was further assessing my mental state or if he realized that maybe this had gone too far.
Then my friend drove up and I headed to the car. On my way, the cop asked me for my name. Dominique Small. Twice. Dominique Small. I wanted to make sure he got it right.
When I got to the car, I yelled back to him (so he could hear me), See I told you my ride was coming.
Now here is the clincher! For someone who was making poor choices, three things became clearly obvious to me upon finally getting into my bed an hour later.
1. I wasn’t the one lying.
2. If I had taken the taxi (going against my gut instincts) and made it safely home, I had no key to get in because the apartment manager had kindly locked up my apartment. So, I couldn’t have gone upstairs and gotten payment for the taxi driver. In addition, my BB had died so I couldn’t call the manager to have her buzz me in and open my door. Ultimately, I have no doubt, I probably would have stood a really good chance of getting arrested for not paying a taxi driver!
3. No matter how many times I refused a cab, it is my right as an American citizen, and I might add, as a woman – a disabled one at that – to refuse any cab that I feel uncomfortable about!
However, it appears to some that I am the one with poor decision-making skills. Go figure.
UPDATE: I need to clarify something that I meant to clarify last night. I’m not sure it changes anything, but… The friend that picked me told me she thought these men were not the police but security guards. They were in official uniform with what looked to be a shield like badge. And for the life of me, I don’t recall if they referred to themselves as police or security. Be that as it may, however, I’m not sure that makes any difference.