The Hospital & PTSD

I never knew America could ruin my emotional well-being to such a degree. I live in fear when it comes to my children, and I’m sick and tired of the northeast – New Jersey and Pennsylvania – and the surrounding states.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s beautiful out here, but that applies only to the land. I’m hesitant to say that about the people I have to deal with, and definitely not a shred of the politics. I am also sick and tired of the west coast as well – places like California and Colorado – who with all their people of Holier-Than-Thou concepts and laws have corporations as dirty as the Drug Cartels.

Actually, I think the Drug Cartels may still be more upstanding than these corporations. And they have better healthcare and benefits than we do by about a thousand times…

*deep breath*

I am exhausted, horribly depressed, and suffering from PTSD.

Let me start from the beginning.

Some of you may know (and most of you won’t) that about 4 years ago, Catelyn broke her arm in a fall at the age of 2. Because she cried for just a little bit, then quieted and went back to playing, we didn’t know she was severely injured. It was around midnight when she woke up screaming and her elbow was swollen like a baseball did we know something was horribly wrong.

That particular night in March, it was snowing. The Virtua Emergency Room that was just down the street from us had moved a few months ago, but I didn’t remember that in my panic. When we drove into a dark lot with nothing on, we realized we were at the wrong location. Heavy snowfall, tired, and frantic, we didn’t even remember to call 9-1-1. So I held Catelyn through the night with pain medication and tried again the following morning when Bitworks had a couple of hours of sleep.

At that point in time, we honestly didn’t know what the hell happened to Catelyn’s arm. That, apparently, is the equivalent that we abused her, were scared to let the authorities know, and triggered an investigation that was completely discriminatory and personally violating.

Those protected rights in the Constitution? These people didn’t give a royal fuck about those.

During our transfer from Virtua’s Children Emergency Room to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, I was visited by CP&P (Child Protection and Permanency) at our arrival at the second hospital.

Some of you may know CP&P under a different name: CFS (Child Family Services) or DYFS (Division of Youth and Family Services). These are the people who come to visit you on “word” and “suspicion” of child abuse, child neglect, or anything dealing with their notion that “children are being endangered in your care.”

They apparently don’t need to charge you with a crime or have a warrant signed by a judge and served by a police officer to enter your house. If you don’t comply, they hold your child hostage at the hospital while you pay the bills.

These people are assholes, plain and simple, and they operate on discrimination even more than the police officers out there on the streets (“because they’re looking out for the welfare of the children in potentially abusive and neglectful situations”). I had the pleasure of having my life torn apart by them, and to this day, I live inside a nightmare storm of depression and guilt the size of Jupiter’s Red Eye, and like it, the storm has yet to cease.

It has been four years. God only knows if it will ever leave me.

I still cry when the memory randomly blindsides me. Right now, however, my crying isn’t from a random memory recall. This is from real-life triggering it and pulling the memory up to the forefront.

This past weekend on Saturday the 19th of August at 1500 (3pm EST), while many people talk and discuss about the upcoming eclipse that I had wanted to view with my children as well, my daughter Catelyn had broken her arm falling off the bed.

Again. This time we remembered 9-1-1.

We were on the phone with 9-1-1 two minutes after we got upstairs. It took 2 minutes because we had to stabilize her and prevent her from rolling all over her broken arm as she writhed in pain and screaming at the top of her little set of lungs.

A police officer arrived and talked to us maybe a minute or so later. Time has a tendency to warp and slow to a crawl in situations like these, and every passing second was a terrifying eternity.

He was as supportive and nice as he could be.

The ambulance showed up a minute or two later, and Bitworks didn’t wait for the gurney to get to the door. He hauled ass out the door and met the ambulance at the end of our driveway. Catelyn’s screams never ceased, and I’m sure she could be heard in Ireland.

Typically, every parent should only be worried about his/her child. Questions like: How bad is the break? How bad is the pain? Will this affect her later years as the weather changes? Are her nerves damaged? Can the ambulance go any faster?

Then it would be followed by the disheartened realization that your bundle of joy wouldn’t be able to enjoy herself the rest of her vacation like playing in the pool, going bowling, visiting indoor activity centers that offer bouncy slides and the like.

Instead, in my mind, I was screaming and panicking over the fact that those people are going to be at the hospital waiting for me, violating me with all sorts of personal questions they haven’t got a single bit of business asking about…

And once again, threatening to take my child away from me and/or hold my child hostage at the hospital unless I surrender all my rights and let them into my house without so much as a police officer or a warrant like they did last time.

I spent most of my time reminding myself “reality vs. nightmare,” and with Bitworks home watching over our son, I was alone in this. No friend or family close by to lend a supportive shoulder/hand/baseball bat.

I lived every minute of every hour after the 9-1-1 call in the nightmare throes of panic attacks. I paced. I worried. I guarded my the door to my daughter’s room with an eye frightened near insanity. I didn’t drink. I couldn’t eat.

Not that the nurses didn’t offer me food and water about 50 times since we got into the ER.

I was too focused practicing in my mind all the things I would say to CP&P. Bitworks looked up attorneys we could call in case these people came a-calling. I held my heart in my throat every time someone I didn’t recognize walked past my daughter’s hospital room door and looked inside.

Every. Time.

Were they looking for me? Are they finally here?

I lived on that knife’s edge. I still do. All because I’m Chinese looking (I’m Taiwanese, but as far as these people can tell, I might as well be mainland Chinese) and they stereotype us as people who have a tendency to mistreat our children.

I was told by these two yahoos’ higher up that they didn’t have any reason to tell me things like “if we need to take your children away from you” because nothing in the case warranted it…

Doesn’t fucking matter. The damage has been done by then, nearly 24 hours after. There wasn’t anything they (or anyone else) could do to undo it.

After that ordeal, Bitworks and I talked about suing the pants off New Jersey, but we decided not to. These people have settled multiple times out of court for millions… millions of taxpayer dollars. Meaning even if we did win the case, these people aren’t punished in the slightest. It would just be hardworking Americans paying for their godforsaken mistakes.

What’s the fucking point?

I couldn’t sleep unless exhaustion took me. I couldn’t eat so I didn’t try much. Even at the moment of being discharged from the hospital, I was still keeping an eye out for people who looked like they were there to do irreparable harm to my life a second time. After getting home, I jumped at every knock of the door, at every ring of the phone.

I was terrified it would be them.

Monday night, I broke down and just cried for everything I was worth. Bitworks had the luxury of watching me go through that all over again.

Time returned to normal a little bit after that, but not by much. Every 6 hours is Catelyn’s medicine, so I have to set my alarm to that and make sure she takes her meds without spilling them in her struggle.

It’s Thursday. Hell doesn’t even describe this, really, but hell it is. I’m treading water, but this family, as always, is still alone. No family or friends close by to help. Bitworks must keep working. I must keep going.

Anyway…

For those of you who are interested: Catelyn is surviving.

She’s on a regimen of painkillers – both Over-the-Counter (Tylenol) and Narcotic (Oxycodone, given as sparingly as I can because this stuff can fuck up anybody), and an antihistamine (Benadryl) to help with the itching from hell.

Catelyn suffered a Type III Supracondyler Humerus fracture to her left arm.

In other words, it is a severe break, and I am incredibly thankful and fortunate that her nerves seem to be healthy and intact. The people at the hospital were worried that she could have damaged them with the break due to the severity.

She currently has 3 pins holding her bones together and a huge cast on her arm protecting everything.

We will be back next Tuesday for more X-rays and for fiberglass casting to be placed over her current cast as the surgeon split the cast due to the severe swelling of Catelyn’s arm. At the end of week 4, her cast comes off and the 3 pins inside her arm will be removed, then she will have to be put in a splint for few more weeks and doing light physical therapy exercises to help her retain full-use of her arm. Generally by week 12, the surgeon says, she should be back to like how she was before the break.

Barring any complications of course.

We hope and we pray like our lives depend on it.

Time keeps flowing. We look ahead. One step at a time. We’ll get there…

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

All the best from me. Tell your loved ones you love them. Take care of each other. Life is such a precise thing that can change so fast in an instant, you can miss it if you blink.

We are all each other has.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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