Apr. 6, 2021

I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROFESSIONAL CARE AND CRIMINAL ABUSE

PTSD.  I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PTSD--POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER IN 2007--AFTER LEARNING MY STUDENTS AT THE DC JAIL--HAD MURDERED THE SUBSTITUTES IN MY CLASSROOM WHILE I WAS TENDING TO MY DAUGHTER'S EMERGENCY AT THE US SENATE.  I TAKE NO MEDICATION FOR PTSD. INSTEAD, I'VE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP MY STRESS LEVEL DOWN BY KEEPING MY LIFE AS "SIMPLE" AS POSSIBLE.

 

BUT...this past January, 2021--WHEN I WAS BLEEDING UNCONTROLLABLY AND DESPERATE FOR MEDICAL ATTENTION--I HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING MY STRESS LEVEL WOULD BE CHALLENGED ONCE AGAIN... LIKE NEVER-BEFORE.

WHEN THOSE IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM WERE UNABLE TO STOP MY BLEEDING...I  WAS ASSIGNED TO A ROOM IN THE HOSPITAL.  I WAS BOMBARDED WITH A PARADE OF PEOPLE...IN AND OUT OF MY ROOM...PEOPLE WHO NEVER IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES BUT WERE TALKING ABOUT MY PULSE RATE, MY HEART, MY NEED TO DEMONSTRATE I COULD WALK FROM MY BED TO THE DOOR; PUT ON MY SHOES WITHOUT ASSISTANCE; EVEN USE THE BEDSIDE TOILET---WITH AN AUDIENCE OF COURSE! AGAIN...EVERYTIME I STOOD UP...THE MONSTER ACTIVATED THE UNCONTROLLABLE BLEEDING FOR ALL TO SEE...YET....NO ONE CARED.

I WAS VISITED REPEATEDLY BY UNIDENTIFIED VISITORS WHO KEPT INSISTING I FOCUS ON MY ANXIETY, MY HEART RATE, MY LOW BLOOD PRESSURE...AND...I WAS READY TO SCREAM. I SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN PLACED ON THE HEART WING OF THE HOSPITAL.  I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO HISTORY OF HEART PROBLEMS OTHER THAN FIFTY YEARS AGO...WHEN I EXPERIENCED A RACING PULSE AFTER BEING GIVEN THE WRONG MEDICATION BEFORE KIDNEY SURGERY!

MY FIRST NIGHT IN THE HOSPITAL...WHEN I WAS HOOKED UP TO AN IV...I ASSUMED IT WAS IN PREPARATION FOR EMERGENCY SURGERY ALTHOUGH I HAD YET TO MEET ANYONE REMOTELY CONNECTED TO SURGERY OR GYNECOLOGY.  I WAS SO TIRED, SO AFRAID, AND SO OVERWHELMED...I WANTED EVERYONE TO JUST LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET EVERYTHING BE SIMPLE AND QUIET.  BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP...AN UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN CAME IN MY ROOM WITH A NEEDLE AND WITHOUT A WORD BEGAN INJECTING IT INTO MY IV.  WHEN I QUESTIONED WHO SHE WAS AND WHAT SHE WAS INJECTING....HER ANSWER WAS: "I'M THE ONE WHO INTENDS TO LOWER YOUR PULSE.  GO TO SLEEP AND STOP WORRYING."

THE NEXT THING I REMEMBER WAS PEOPLE AROUND ME, ASKING ME QUESTIONS, OVER AND OVER, BUT I COULD BARELY SEE AND...I COULDN'T TALK; MY MOUTH WOULDN'T WORK.  I COULDN'T SAY ANYTHING AND MY BODY FELT FROZEN, LIKE I WAS PARALYZED. I RECALL HEARING SOMEONE SAY " IF SHE WAKES UP JUST TELL HER SHE HAD A REALLY-BAD NIGHTMARE."

I DID WAKE UP--- LATER...WHEN A YOUNG GIRL CAME IN MY ROOM, SAYING SHE WAS MY NURSE FOR THE DAY AND...EXCITEDLY...BEGAN TALKING ABOUT HOW I'D BEEN DISCUSSED AT THE MORNING MEETING BECAUSE MY PULSE HAD DROPPED TO 40 THE NIGHT-BEFORE WHICH ALARMED THE NIGHT CREW. THEY THOUGHT I MIGHT BE DYING OR GOING INTO CARDIAC ARREST! SHE SAID THE STAFF DECIDED TO SAY I'D HAD SOME KIND OF  SERIOUS NIGHTMARE.

SEVERAL AIDES VISITED MY ROOM LATER IN THE MORNING...COMMENTING ABOUT HOW THEY'D HEARD I'D ALMOST DIED THE NIGHT BEFORE BECAUSE MY BODY WAS SO "STRESSED OUT".  EVERYONE SAID I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE HEART MEDICINE WHEN IT WAS OFFERED ME.

WHEN AN RN...ANOTHER STRANGER...VISITED ME TO DISCUSS THE HOME HEALTH CARE VISITATION PROGRAM...I TOLD HER ABOUT NEEDING TO KNOW WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO ME THE NIGHT BEFORE.  SHE LEFT FOR A FEW MINUTES.  WHEN SHE RETURNED, SHE SAID "THERE IS NO INFORMATION ON YOUR CHART...IN FACT..IT WAS  BLANK. I ASKED THE CHART NURSE WHY AND WAS TOLD THAT THERE'S BEEN NOTHING TO REPORT. WHEN I ASKED AN AIDE IF SHE'D HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR PULSE DROPPING TO 40...SHE LOOKED SCARED AND SAID NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO DISCUSS ANYTHING ABOUT YOU WITH ANYONE."

NO.  I DIDN'T HAVE A NIGHTMARE...ANYMORE THAN I "DREAMED" A WOMAN INJECTED SOMETHING INTO MY IV.  I WAS WIDE-AWAKE WHEN I WAS GIVEN AN UNDOCUMENTED INJECTION.  NO ONE AT CHI ST VINCENT HOSPITAL WAS OFFICIALLY "MY DOCTOR".  NO ONE WAS AUTHORIZED TO  PRESCRIBE MEDICATION OR TO INJECT ME WITH ANYTHING.

I have much more to share and....two months later...I now realize what a "close call" I had with Death.  I almost didn't make it out of CHI St. Vincent... ALIVE.  

Sally Miller