The Working Girl Blogs Revision 2.0
Blog #49: Stayed in the hospital for a while,or
I've been in the hospital since Monday, so I've been incommunicado for a while. No internet or phone calls. Doctor’s orders. Yeah, bummer. I had to stay in the hospital for observation, as well as have some tests. You see, I had a concussion at work last Monday morning. I got beat up.
But that may be wrong - that statement, "got beat up." I should know what it is to get beat up. When I was in elementary and high school, I got beat up enough to know what that meant. I became an expert at avoiding bullies. (One gets adept at anything if given the proper motivation.) Gambits like staying later than everyone, or getting to school earlier than necessary, or staying in crowds or staying within earshot of a teacher or some adult, or giving them money - pretty common gambits, but I had lots of others in my arsenal. Effeminate small boys among big boys, like I was, are common targets, and we needed to learn how to avoid getting into fights real quick.
Anyway, back then, I only got beat up occasionally, maybe once or twice in a year, and not that bad (Others had it worse, I’m sure). I suppose my school days weren't really that bad, comparatively speaking. I was even able to hide the few fights I had from my folks and my big sister (she was in a different school). Sure, she smelled something fishy about my cover-up stories, but I guess she didn't worry about it too much given how nonchalant I behaved around the family. I fooled my folks all the time, including the one time I got my arm broken in one of the more violent scuffles involving six kids. I think I told them I fell down some stairs (though sis was very suspicious of that and spent several days going around my school trying to find out the truth). Anyway, long and short - I knew what it meant to get beat up.
So, what happened to me at work – not a beating, perhaps, but definitely a fight. A very short fight, at that.
Despite the concussion, I recall most of what happened. Monday morning, after I got to the office, parked and got out of my little four-by-four, one of my ex-staff, one of those who were not as friendly as before after I got back from my trip abroad, was there by my car door, and confronted me. Why now and not earlier, I don't know.
I guess I won't get into what he exactly said, but essentially, he was mad that I had "lied to people," and fooled them into thinking that I was "a normal person" instead of some pervert. I responded and, pretty soon, our yelling got louder and louder. Anyway, after a while, we were noisy enough that the commotion attracted the attention of people.
When I felt emotions had risen to a fever pitch, I started worrying that it might escalate to something physical so I pulled out my pepper spray. The guy grabbed my arm after I got the spray. (in hindsight, I think he thought I was getting a gun or something) When he did that, I reacted instinctively and swung my other arm and hit the side of his face with my closed fist. After staggering backwards for a bit, he came back with balled fists, screaming that I was a bitch. I was lucky to get off a one-second shot, spraying it right at his face, but the thing just sputtered after that. Seems that the little pepper spray had lost its pressure (it was old, after all). The guy hit me in the eye, and I flew back and hit the ground with the back of my head.
I was only out for just a few moments, but when I woke up, my memory was largely a blank, but I do recall being very confused and in a lot of pain. I wasn't getting everything that was happening around me. Later on though, I remembered almost everything. I've put together in my mind images of the guy in handcuffs and in the hands of two security guards, with another splashing his face with water from a plastic bottle to wash off the pepper spray. An officemate of mine was beside me, keeping me company, trying to see if I was okay but afraid of moving me. Anyway, the next thing I remember was waking up again in an ambulance with Sammi, and on the way to the ER.
I've been in the hospital since then, and was just sent home this afternoon. Pretty boring five days, actually, since I felt good enough after the second day that I looked to the short trips to the ECG, CT or X-ray labs as sort of reprieves. Truth is, if it were up to me, I would have gone home a lot earlier, but the people from HR insisted on a full battery of tests. They said they just wanted to be sure, but I'm sure it's mostly to cover their asses, just in case.
To occupy my time, I've been working on my stories. (Thank goodness my room mate brought me my little netbook. No wifi allowed in the room, though.) Mostly ,I was there for observation - it was the only way to know if the concussion did any kind of damage to my brain.
Some of my ex-team members, as well as my boss and some of the managers, had come to visit, some bringing flowers and cards et cetera. One of them even brought a ceramic pot filled with big flowers, which I kept beside my bed. (She got them from the hospital's little flower shop so that meant it was okay to bring them inside.) My mom and dad visited, too, and I was happy to see that dad was all agitated and wanted to get his hands on the guy. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't happy that he was angry, but happy that he cared. When I was dozing lightly, I saw, from the corner of my eye, that they were looking at me with such gentleness and caring, I couldn't help but cry a little. 'Course, I won't mention that to them since I don't want to embarass them. Anyway, I was able to introduce them to some of my officemates and staff and, more importantly, I was able to introduce my room mate.
My best friend, Nikki, visited me everyday after work, as well as my room mate and Sammi, and my therapist also came on my third day - we had a short session (maybe less than twenty minutes) and she said she thought I was managing it well, but that I definitely needed to talk about it in more detail during our next session.
You know, I'm ninety percent sure Nikki knows now (that is, if she didn't know before this). I mean, how can she not, right? But it doesn't bother me now that she knows: how she was when she was visiting - she seemed like the old Nikki. Well, she was worried and so forth, but her behavior towards me seemed the same. I guess I should "officially" tell her soon. But I'm not as worried now.
My lawyer and a couple of people from HR also came on the third day (this was only the fourth time for me to meet my lawyer face-to-face, actually). They told me that the police took the guy after our fight, and the company brought up assault charges against him, in my behalf. He made bail, though. The charge was first degree assault, so he'd probably get a maximum of three years if convicted, though my lawyer explained that since this is his first charge, he'd probably get a lot, lot less.
Anyway, the HR guys said that they had fired him, and though the guy can fight it, the fact that there was security video and lots of witnesses meant it was an open and shut case. They had also offered to give me a new assignment of my choice, if I felt that my current office is not a safe working environment. (My lawyer told me later that this was a typical dodge that companies do - sort of the closest they could get to legally offering me a bribe so I won't press charges yet not admit any kind of culpability. The transfer could include sweeteners like a big relocation allowance for the first few months, get me a new place if I wanted, a new car so I could get around okay in a new place, but what the package would be would depend on me, and if I wanted to play ball.) As to the assault charge, when the HR people left, my lawyer explained that he had a talk with my therapist, and she said that I would probably not want to press charges on the guy since I wouldn't want the attention. I guess I resented it that my therapist knew me that well, but she was right. My lawyer said, at the very least, there should be a restraining order, or a stay-away order, but that would need a court filing and court appearance, among other things. I said, in that case, I'd have to think about it, as well as think about the company's offer.
So, here I am, home now, totally recovered, and given a clean bill of health, although they mentioned my low blood pressure (what else was new). My room mate and I are just sitting around, relaxing, and waiting for Nikki - she's promised to bring some Chinese takeout for dinner, which is, according to her, the best antidote for depression. Mom n Dad are also coming over on Sunday, and my sister (through my brother-in-law) sent a little email note. I'll be sending back a little thank-you email right after I post this.
My black eye's almost gone. And, sure, I had a concussion - a Grade 2 concussion, in fact, since I lost consciousness, but I'm okay now. There was some talk about second-impact syndrome, but people who saw the thing said there was no second attack or a second impact, and the doctors said there were no indications of such. Also, the fact that I didn't hit concrete but the grassy part surrounding the pavement meant the dirt absorbed a significant part of the impact. (I saw my x-ray, and the doctor pointed out the parts of the bone on my forehead and jaw where I had my operations. The little cheek implants could clearly be seen because x-rays don't really penetrate saline implants. I asked about some spots and lines in the x-rays - hardly more than little white pinpricks and thin lines like white string - and the doctor said that they were the x-ray shadows of scar tissue.)
Anyway, the doctor said that, aside from the black eye and concussion, the x-ray and other tests showed that I was fine, and my "facial modifications" were fine. Didn't like that doctor's bedside manner much but he was pretty efficient and thorough, and was studiously polite, so I didn't let it bother me much.
I'm okay, or as okay as one can be under these circumstances. I SMS'd Sammi that I'll be going to the office on Monday, and she texted me back with some good wishes, and that HR has said they will be meeting me at the office, but there's nothing to worry about - they just wanted to "touch base" and to make plans. Guess I had some thinking to do this weekend, and think about where to go from here, and be ready for the HR guys. Maybe I'll call my lawyer for some advise, or maybe bring him with me to the office.
And maybe it’s also time to “fess up” with Nikki.
My therapist called a while ago, and she’s coming over to pay me a rare house call tomorrow afternoon – we’re gonna be doing our weekly session here. She also said that it might be good to have my room mate and Nikki there, too. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good idea. And if she's here Saturday afternoon, then I guess I really do have to tell her everything.
So, that's mostly it. Sorry about the matter-of-fact tone of this post, but I'm trying not to be negative. I'm trying real, real hard. Anyway. I guess that’s it for now. I had a good run, but, like I said before, maybe the bill's come, and it's time to pay... Ah, don't mind me - I'm just feeling cynical.
To see ALL of Bobbie's blogposts, click this link: http://bigclosetr.us/topshelf/blog/bobbie-c
To see Bobbie's stories in BCTS, click this link: http://bigclosetr.us/topshelf/book/14775/roberta-j-cabot