Initially, when I came to Phoenix, it reminded me of Texas, a state that I lived in for over 11 years. The feel of the city reminded me of home. I hadn’t experienced any negative people, and for the most part, the residents are friendly.
My view of this city changed drastically when I was in need of help.
One night, I went to a party and enjoyed myself thoroughly until it was time for me to go home. You see, I took the bus there and decided that I would get a ride home with someone from the party. ( I’ve been alone most of my life, so meeting strangers and trusting them is a natural occurrence.) The guy who was going to take me home initially suddenly left, so I just stayed and hung out at the party. When it was time to leave, a guy I had met on the patio offered to take me home. We headed out of the parking lot and headed towards an apartment complex. There, he rolled what I thought was a marijuana cigarette, and we smoked. About five minutes after smoking with him, I started to have a hard time breathing. I was puking and losing control of myself. I couldn’t even talk! I looked at the guy and he started to reach in the back of the car and I figured that I needed to leave the car. I left my sandals and purse in the vehicle and stumbled across the apartment complex. Suddenly, I fell out. I could not move. I felt like I was dying. My body was motionless. I was still trying to stay conscious. My body wanted me to scream, so I did. I screamed, ‘ Help!’ I screamed and screamed. No one heard me, I assumed, so I mustered up the strength to go further into the apartment parking lot. I laid out and screamed for help some more. Finally, a man stopped and called 911. He put the operator on speaker as I told her what happened. The fire truck came shortly after the call. This is where things get murky…
When fire rescue came, I was motionless and still asking for help. I was even pleading for help. One of the men in uniform came over to my still body and grabbed my wrist as if I were being defiant. He then put his fist on my chest. I asked him what he was doing, because I felt like I was being harmed. I didn’t understand why he was being rough with me. ( I found out later that they grab your wrist in case you are trying to harm yourself or others, and they put their fist on your chest to resuscitate you. I couldn’t have been lifeless AND rowdy at the same time, right?)
I felt unsafe and like I was being harmed. I removed myself from their care and struggled to walk around for more help. A lady called 911 for me, and when the fire department came, they brought police along. The firefighter pushed me while I was lying down and was rude to me. He threatened to have me arrested while I was lying down crying for help. The fire department was not helpful, just checking my blood pressure. They told me nothing was wrong with me, while I was lying there helpless and sick. They had the police put me in the back of a squad car and drop me off at the Phoenix Baptist Hospital.
After the officer let me out of the vehicle, he got in back in the driver’s seat and said, ‘Bye bitch.’ before pulling away.
At the hospital, I was sent to triage where a doctor (Dr. James Carty, DO) asked me what was wrong. I told him of the incident, and he diagnosed me with anxiety and discharged me without checking my throat or open sores on my legs. I wasn’t given band aids because he didn’t check me out. he just gave me valium. He didn’t even drug test me to see what I ingested!
When I asked if I could actually get help, the doctor order security to escort me out. I had no shoes or my purse, and no way of getting home. They didn’t offer with getting transportation home. They just threatened me with jail. Security said that I couldn’t sit in triage anymore…someone else needed the chair. I’m not sure who he was speaking of, as the ER was EMPTY!
After leaving the ER, I walked to a neighboring parking lot where a lady saw me in the parking lot barefoot and gave me the money to get home. Thank God for her…
I am having depression over this, as all of the bad treatment was unwarranted. I was passive the whole time, yet treated like a criminal. I was screaming for help! I felt uneasy about leaving the hospital, but was forced to. The security guard said that I had to go to a state funded hospital, not a private hospital for help.
Was my situation racism? Maybe not. I have to admit I was looking disheveled, with no shoes and looked very sad. People of all races can have this issue.
Did the civil servants and healthcare officials discriminate against me because of the way I looked? Did I look like a homeless crackhead who needed to spend the night at the hospital, and maybe get a free meal? Maybe. What I am sure of, however is there was a violation of my civil rights. I did not receive the help I needed. I felt victimized. I felt like no one cared about my situation. There were 10 hands from the fire department to help me up, but only two hands assisted me. One of the firefighters told me to hurry up and get up before I was arrested. They had a gurney, but instead put me in the back of a police car. Why?
Now, this situation is not uncommon to some residents of Phoenix. I have heard of a few incidences similar to the one I was involved in by residents of this city shortly after I experienced it. I told one man my story at a bus stop, and he looked at me for a moment, then asked, ‘How long have you lived in Phoenix?’ I told him that I have been here since the end of August. He replied that what I was saying was what many residents who have been here all of their lives say all the time.
In Phoenix, people would tell me to not go into certain areas because of the drug addicts. The meth heads. The crackheads. I wonder why there is so much drug use in this city with the poor and criminals?
I was pondering this and figured out something, out of empathy, of course:
When there’s an injustice in your life, but no one cares about your plight…it can make you suicidal and depressed. It can make you want to cover up your pain with drugs, so you won’t have to deal with the reality that no one will fight for you. You are what your environment dictates. How unfair. There’s a big deal about poor people in this city. You’re either ‘rich’ or poor. People are treated accordingly.
I am not from this city, but maybe they thought I was. Maybe they thought that I would get over what happened to me and just be broken, like I felt they tried to do to me. I am not one to break . I have a voice. If I have to, I will become the voice of the people…the underdog. Injustice in this city is common, so common that it is overlooked. It’s like the residents know their place in the legal system. They degrade and humiliate their people into submission. No wonder there are so many hard people in this city. Where’s the healing for people who live in this city and experienced what I did, over and over? Are they labeled mentally ill, or drug addicts? Do the professionals not know cause and effect?
Speaking of professionals, I am appalled at the behavior of these men in uniform. How can they wear a suit made for those who serve the public, yet have apathy for them? What good are they, really? They are good for causing mental distress to those who truly need their assistance. Thankfully I wasn’t dying, though I would have been more psychologically sound if I never encountered any of these men in uniform.
I feel that something has to be done about the misbehavior of law enforcement, fire rescue and Dr. James Carty, DO. No one should have to experience what I did in a time of need, though I feel that there have been many instances in this city like the one I endured. I have contacted the ACLU AZ, NAACP, Attorney General and God for assistance in this matter. Something has to be done. I have been uber depressed over this matter. This matter is bigger than myself. This is for the residents of Phoenix who are now battling mental illness due to the apathetic public servants of this city. You though no one cared, but you’re wrong. I care for you and your well being. I will do what I can to help others, and myself.
I am thankful for my Youtube viewers who have asked me questions. It forced me to be centered and grounded enough to read for them. You guys are awesome…and welcome!