The Incident Of Thursday July 13th, 2017
Even a week later it is difficult for me to relate the events of that day. It was terribly traumatizing for me and even today I fight the shakes and tears whenever I am forced to relate the incident to others. A good friend (Thanks Judy) suggested that I blog about it, so here I am and here it is.
I will start off a few days before- on the Monday- because it does tie into the difficulties of the Thursday. I had undergone a laser procedure on both of my eyes to correct for what I have been calling cataracts 2.0. Because of the shape of the sides of the lenses used to replace my natural ones the capsule holding the lens in place within the eye had thickened and clouded up creating vision problems identical to that of the removed cataract afflicted lenses. The procedure was to burn holes into the capsule to allow the light to get through freely once more. Side effects were black appearing floaters that look like spiders and flies in front of me, and for my left eye a temporary fogging over of the vision either partially or fully. It lasts for only seconds at a time and will stop happening in the next week or so, but when it happens - for those fleeting seconds- I become suddenly blind in one eye. I quickly stopped swatting at the big bugs that only I can see, but the sudden blindness along one side is startling at best.
On that Thursday I had a doctor's appointment and errands to run in the downtown Langford area about a mile away from home, and being it was a lovely day I decided to ride my mobility scooter, Betsy. Right from the start the machine wasn't acting normally, but I did not have time to call for a taxi and still get to my appointment on time. I had to take my chance and hope for the best. The trip had always taken no more than one bar of power and I thought I had started with a full charge.
The charge indicator was all over the place, bouncing up and down again like a yo-yo. When I was close to the doctor's office when a fellow ran over to me to tell me that a rear tire was half flat. I would have to worry about that after the doctor's visit.
The doctor's visit left me feeling down and a bit scared. Another new set of medical rules from the Powers-That-Be concerning the use of opioid pain medicines for the control of chronic pain. Last year my allotment had been cut back by 30%. This year the goal is to remove all access to the quick release breakthrough pain relief. Not that day- but the next time I run out I will get fewer and the next even fewer pills to last for more days in time with the goal of getting no breakthrough relief at all. Being that I have a degenerating spine, inflammatory arthritis and ever more parts being effected by ever stronger pain as my body attacks itself (autoimmune issues)- and since I have tried and have had sometimes life threatening side effects from the non-opioid pain control options- this did not leave me feeling reassured. My doctor has advised me to explore my cannabis options, which I already have been doing to replace what meds I have already lost access to.
It is stressful riding along and having an eye fog over. I had just had worrying news. I had a tire to fill (and hope that it wouldn't go flat again), prescriptions to fill and to get safely home again. I just wanted to get home again. Meanwhile the charge indicator on Betsy was acting up in a way that I have never seen it do before. I was on the edge of an anxiety attack and pushing myself as hard as I could to hold it together and get done what I needed to get done.
Tire filled with air, prescription filled, I was on my way home and suddenly the charge indicator went dark. No bars! Oh Shit! Half bars to no bars in an instant! There I am a mile from home, and that is too far to push the machine. If I was strong enough to do that I wouldn't need it in the first place. Strangely enough the machine kept on going. In the past no bars meant a dead battery and a dead machine. I had no idea what was happening and how far it would go. I knew that I could not abandon the machine on the side of the road, on the sidewalk, or in a parking lot. It is a mid-sized three wheel Shoprider machine, with a freewheel "steal me" switch and I did not have any sort of way to secure the machine to anything. Being that I have nearly had my machine stolen before when I left it outside of a shop while shopping within, and I know of machines being run over while left in a parking lot handicap stall I needed to find someplace safe before the charge really did run out. I did not know if I could make it to the safety of Alloy Music ( Hubby's been associated with it for over 20 years)- half way home from where I was- or I would have headed straight there. But I was in too much of a panic to even try. And I didn't even have their number in my cell phone even if there was someone there who could come to my aid!
But nearby to where I sat (on the sidewalk) was the office of the chiropractor and massage therapist where I have gone for over 30 years. Several doctors have come and gone from it, but in the past it has been a safe haven if I was stuck with battery problems. "Yes'" I thought. A safe place to go to sit and figure out what to do next- to get me and Betsy safely home. I could not have been more wrong.
It was around noon so the place appeared to be empty save for a woman on the desk. She apparently did not recognize me as a patient, and she was on the phone on hold. I told her my name, that I was a patient and that I was having an emergency with my mobility scooter and was hoping that I would be able to get some help. I said that I would wait until she got off the phone. I wanted to sit in the waiting room to get my panic under control so I could think clearly, figure out my options for what to do next - but she refused to allow it. She wanted to know what was wrong and what I needed her for and what I intended on doing- and where I had put my machine.
I was doing my best to not fall apart and here she was demanding instant replies to questions that I didn't have answers to. I said that I was trying to figure all of that out- and my machine was in front of the building- where I always park it when I have a week day appointment and ride it there (where other people park their machines as well) up against the building, out of the way for other people coming in. I was babbling as I ran through whatever options came to mind- I had no idea what was the best thing to do. I needed to get a drink of water, use the toilet, calm down- and clear my head so I could think my way past the panic to a good plan. I got none of it. I got aggression which only made things for me so much worse.
The front of the building is well set back from the main road, on the corner of the street. The front yard used to be the septic field for the building, and is fenced in and gated and grassed all for a sidewalk area and a good sized patio area next to the building front.
She did not ask me to move my scooter over to the grass, off the paved area but within the compound for safety. Oh no, not her. She told me that I had to move it outside of the fence- to use a parking stall along the side of the building- they are half on the street- or at the back of the building which also is open to the street. I froze, fighting back tears. I said that I am sorry, but I can't do that. I was in a full fledged panic attack at that time. She said "Can't or won't? You can either park there or leave". By then it was nearly impossible for me to get a word out, my throat was so choked up with emotion and she cut me off every time I got a word out besides.. "You don't understand.."- I got out and she cut me off, getting ever louder and more aggressive- "No, you don't understand. You can't park inside the enclosure. Park where I told you to or leave." So I said "I'll go". I was on the verge of terror. This was not what I had expected, not how I had ever been treated before by anyone whom I have sought help from.
I held back my tears of anguish, I did not yell, I held myself together. I tried to leave. I could barely see through the eye fog and unshed tears. I prayed that the machine would start and get me to Alloy. I didn't get the key into the switch before the woman was outside yelling at me at the top of her voice and flailing her arms about over her head as if she were about to physically attack me!! She yelled about her having been on the phone. (I had said I wanted to wait until she was free- she wouldn't allow it.) She yelled about "It's not all about you!" ( Where did that come from?) She called me a bunch of names- selfish, self centred, entitled, rude (she was the rude one).. and I forget what else. I was just wanting to get out of there, trying to get away from the threat she was posing to me. She said that I had no idea how difficult it was to get someone in a wheelchair from a handydart into the building (Huh?? I had used a handydart handicap bus days before so I did have an idea what that took- before she was hired I had used a walker for many years) and that she would not let me block their access to the building for any reason. She had to protect "my people". It was all about "My People". Wasn't I among her "people" having been a patient for longer than she worked there? How dare I go to her for help! I was in blind terror at this point!
The office's building is on a busy corner of Goldstream Avenue- with a Starbucks across the road and a St. Vincent de Paul shop next door down the side road- and people were stopping to gawk from both places- as well as the shopping mall and even across the road the other side of Goldstream. I was being humiliated publicly on top of everything else. With the way she was waving her arms about as well as the yelling she triggered my ptsd and I was terrified that she was going to physically assault me if I could not get away from her ! Loudly and violently thrown off the property where I had sought safety to deal with the panic attack and the broken machine. I was so upset that I nearly drove into an oncoming vehicle- or two- as I fled into traffic in my tears and terror!
I was shaking and praying all the way to Peatt Rd, and down it to Station Ave- and down it along the roadside to Alloy Music. The charge indicator was dark the entire time. The boss there, Tim, and the teacher Jeff, took one look at me and told me to sit down. Once the customer that they were dealing with had gone I was calm enough to be able to get out what had happened at the Chiro's office.
Tim said that if he had his truck that day he would have loaded up the machine and taken it, and me, home. I was truly safe now. I could leave the machine inside the back of the shop for Hubby to pick up later- or fix there- if need be and wait for him there or get a ride home from Tim. I was told that I could call them anytime I needed them, and that if I was stranded they would go so far as to close down the shop to come and get me- and the machine if need be. We decided to try to charge the machine to see if that would work, so Tim took me to retrieve the charger and put the machine on to charge for an hour and a half. The indicator said it now had a half charge so I felt that it could get me home. It did- but halfway between Alloy and home the indicator went dark again.
I put the machine on to charge as soon as I got home- then I put the number for Alloy into my phone, made a cup of tea and let myself break down and cry.
Once I calmed down enough I got on my computer and went looking for some email addresses for the Chiropractors office and found addresses for the business, the office manager, and the individual practitioners. I set about writing letters addressed to the business, the office manager, our doctor and my massage therapist to tell my side of what I call "The Incident" because I was sure that the woman would either not mention that she had publicly thrown a patient seeing emergency help off the property or make me out as a terrible person trying to do something nasty. Or that they would only hear gossip from someone who had witnessed only my very public humiliation. I cried as I wrote, but with those tears my held in panic also dripped onto the table in front of me. But the trauma of that event would not ease up.
An hour or so later I got a phone call from the chiropractor. She was very apologetic but felt that maybe there was miscommunication as the root of the problem as if I was as much to blame as the receptionist. I said that while that may have been part of it- once I had agreed to leave without making a fuss of any kind there was no justification for being followed outside and yelled at in such an aggressive way as to make a very public spectacle of it and to humiliate me in that way. Not when I was already leaving in tears and anxiety- in worse shape than I was when I sought help. The doctor agreed that what happened outside was uncalled for. I was reassured that the woman doesn't work on Saturdays, which is the day that Hubby and I go for our adjustments. I was barely holding myself together and sobbing and shaking while I was on the phone. Here I was apologizing and pleading for understanding when I was the victim of the attack.
The next morning I heard from the office manager. I let the answering machine take it as I was terrified to answer it lest it be the woman calling. She had not spoken to the woman yet but wanted to speak to me first. The woman would be spoken to. Both the office manager and the chiropractor assured me that the office was a safe place to come, for whatever reason, and that I could park my scooter within the enclosure at any time I needed to. I could not bring myself to return her call and relive the hell of the previous day once more.
I have not heard from my massage therapist. She may be on vacation. I know that she works out of a second location and I asked her about where it is and if the woman works there as well as I would possibly transfer our visits to that location if it is. I may have to find someone else to do the deep tissue work that I have gone to this therapist for many years now- and those are week day visits.
I have not had an apology of any kind from my attacker. As a true bully does she likely feels fully justified for what she did and how she did it. I never expected one. Without any kind of apology I feel that there is always more of a danger that she will attack me again. It isn't logical, but the emotional anxiety charged ptsd part of things isn't logical nor does it listen to reason. It just feels, reacts and brings back traumatic events- and due to that woman's arrogance and self-importance (everything she accused me of having) a difficult and stressful day turned into a terribly traumatic one.
On top of being afflicted by a laundry list of physical conditions as a result of childhood polio, an autoimmune system trying to fry my nervous system and to kill my body, and genetic based problems I also suffer from anxiety attacks and ptsd. I was in an anxiety attack before "The Incident" happened. I now have another incident for the ptsd to feed upon. I have been in hell for this past week. I have been waking up several times each night in a panic, wet with sweat. My guts have been in knots with nearly constant nausea. Headaches from stress happen daily. My days are filled with attacks of fear, anxiety, and panic, my mind drifting back to that day- to everything that happened, replaying every detail that added to the original anxiety attack along with the attack upon me. I cannot get free of that attack no matter what I do. There is grief at the betrayal of trust.
We have chiropractic appointments this Saturday morning, Hubby and I do. Just thinking about it gets me terrified. I know that the vile woman will not be there. But will the Saturday person look at me as if I have two heads and am a nasty person for upsetting the weekday woman? I start shaking, with a tight lump in my upper chest and a knot in my belly. I have given myself permission to chicken out at the last minute. If not for needing to have an inflamed and damaged sacral joint needing to be unlocked and degenerative neck vertebra adjusted I would have cancelled last Saturday. Hubby is being supportive- saying that if I need to stay home it's OK with him. I can go and sit in the car, get to the door and turn around- whatever I need.
And as for my mid-week appointment in August with the massage therapist that I have waited months for- Hubby said that he will take the day off so that he can be there with me to be between me and my abuser. If I haven't decided to find someone new to go to between then and now- depending upon if I can make it for an appointment Saturday. Right now I have doubts if I can do that,
Wish me luck. I need all the luck that I can get.
UPDATE- SATURDAY 22 JULY 2017
Because of the agony of a locked and inflamed sacroiliac joint I needed to go to my monthly chiropractic adjustment to unlock it. I awoke this morning with stomach and belly cramps, wet with sweat once again. It took me a long while to push myself to be dressed and ready to leave the house. Hubby was being as supportive and gentle as he could be.
When we arrived at the office my stomach was in my throat and I choked down reflux juices. I could not stop shaking and struggled to walk into the building. In the waiting room I could not control the shaking of my upper body, my hands and arms. Hubby held my hand and looked at me lovingly to help me sat as calm as I could. It took all the years of experience I have in meditation, positive self talk and calming techniques for me to not fall apart or run away. The Saturday receptionist/assistant was concerned when she took me into the exam/treatment room because I was shaking so badly I could barely walk. I overheard her talking with Hubby about her concern and he explained how I had had a very bad experience two Thursday's ago. I caught her say that she would have done what I had done if she had found herself in a similar situation without a second thought. It was apparent that she had not heard anything about the incident.
When she came to check on me she gave me a hug and said how sorry she was that had happened to me and assured me that I was always welcome there. She seemed to be angry that I had been subjected to such a violent rejection of my appeal for help. I broke down in tears. I thanked her but I blubbered that I had truly thought that the woman was going to hit me when she followed me outside yelling and waving her arms.
I lay there shaking until the doctor came in- but at least I had stopped sobbing by that time. I did not want to talk any more about the incident as I would have just started sobbing once more. Once the adjustments were complete I left the building as soon as I could manage it, to wait for Hubby outside.
An apology from The Woman.
Once home again, later in the afternoon I got onto my computer. In my email inbox I found a note from the office manager along with a copy of a very short hand written note of apology from the woman who verbally attacked and abused me. It was sent yesterday, Friday 21 July, 2017. Since it took over a week for the apology to happen I do not trust the sincerity of it, but the rational part of my mind does accept it.
I did reply to say that while the rational part of my mind does accept the apology it will take some time for my psyche and spirit to heal, because I had been so traumatized because I felt certain that the woman was going to hit me. I shortly explained that I have been suffering with night terrors, and daily attacks of anxiety and tears along with episodes of the deep darkness of reaction depression.
I ended my reply by thanking them again for the apology.
I truly feel that, from the way it was worded the only reason that any apology happened was because the woman was forced into it.
I do not know how long it will take for me to heal from the attack, the humiliation and the terror of that day.