Sunday, March 23, 2014

Abscessed Teeth, Tortured Souls & Surprise Endings

Last night was a bad night for me. I was attacked by a houseplant. Now this isn’t a common occurrence in my home. I was minding my own business when it simply dropped and struck me on the shoulder.

Now for most people this would just be an aggravation. A mess to clean up, an angry stare at the hook that simply fell from the ceiling. However for me, it was more.

Many of you know that I have a spinal cord injury, herniated disks and multiple trigger spots along my spine. The impact of the plant on my shoulder was a major shock. It also made me aware of a problem I didn’t know that I had.

I’ve had a tooth that’s bothered me for years. As soon as the plant hit me it began hurting me. Big deal, I thought. It’ll pass. It didn’t.

As evening progressed to night the pain worsened and began to spread. I recognized the signs all too well. An abscessed tooth. On a Saturday night.


There were no other options.

I drove myself to the hospital and got out of my car. This is where the second crisis of the night happened.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you stare at your keys as the locked door swings shut? Yeah, that was me. Three-thirty in the morning and locked out of the car.

But I had other worries. I went in and explained my situation to the triage nurse. Within five minutes I was in a room. No showing of ID, insurance card, or vitals taken. It’s a new policy at the hospital and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It may speed the process, but someday something important will be missed.

The doctor came in, diagnosed me, gave me some antibiotics and some Percocet, which I obviously couldn’t take until I got home. I thanked him and the nurses and went out. I found a tow company that had a lockout service and sat down in the waiting room.

I had time on my hands. Maybe a card game on my phone would distract me.

Then I heard it.

Do all things happen for a reason? I don't know. But I think many do. I think I was delayed at the hospital for a purpose. As I was waiting for the tow truck to arrive, one of the security guards radios crackled.

There was a Sheriff’s deputy coming in with a TDO.

Just hearing that gave me chills.

Many of my friends know that I’ve made the decision to go into an inpatient facility in the next couple of weeks. I’ve dealt with the symptoms of my Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and what is now emerging as Borderline Personality Disorder for all my life. Recently I’ve come close to losing the battle. I’ve finally accepted that I need help to learn skills to handle these things, these wars caused by a simple quirk of brain chemistry.

It was not an easy decision to make.

But when I heard those words, TDO, it all struck home. A TDO is a Temporary Detainment Order, meaning that someone has been found to be so much of a threat to themselves or others that they must be placed into a psychiatric facility.

I watched the two deputies lead the young man in, handcuffs on his wrists and shackles on his feet.

There but for the grace of God went I.

Finally the tow truck driver arrived. He had my door opened in minutes. I sat inside of his truck, enjoying the warmth, while he filled out the paperwork. He was a kindly man, in his 70s he told me. He even gave me a discount on the bill.

Talk turned to my injury and how hard it is to get the help you need. He agreed. The current situation is messed up.

Unless you’re one of ‘the blacks.’ They get everything.

I sat stunned for a minute. I was tired and in a huge amount of pain. He finished writing the bill and handed it to me. I thanked him, got out of his truck, and was soon heading for home.

It still surprises me when people will just blurt out such bigoted statements. I find it sad that such thoughts, and people, exist.

He was such a nice person.

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