Saturday, September 25, 2010
1) I turn 51 today.
2) I had to testify at a murder trial.
While most of us will see our 51st birthdays, most of us will not have to testify at a murder trial. I was fortunate to have a District Attorney who helped to calm me and assure me that I would be a fine witness for him. But when the time came and I had to see the first photograph of the 7 week old baby boy up on the projection screen, I teared up. I couldn't help it. I did my best to answer questions simply and accurately, all with the thought in my head that at this time, I was being an advocate for my patient. Only now I was advocating that the person who allegedly did the damage to him that caused his death, be put away. And his alleged abuser/murder? His father, hence forth be be called "sperm donor".
I was charged with making sure that this little guy was safe while in my facility. His CT showed multiple fractures both old and new, including suspicious posterior fractures. Those happened, as it was explained to staff, as the infant rolled himself off of a bed onto the floor. A 7 week old infant....rolled himself off of the bed. Strike 2. Posterior fractures and impossible explanations are two warning signs that something isn't right. So is the brain bleed that the infant had. And that the sperm donor said later that he became frustrated because the infant was crying and he "may" have gotten "a little rough". "I did what I did and then he stopped crying" was what the sperm donor said. After the child became quiet, he waited 7 hours before bringing him to the hospital. I helped to document the numerous bruises as well as helped Law Enforcement take the photographs that were initially refused by one or both of the parents. I kissed the little one goodbye as he left our facility (Mom was getting grilled by Child Protective Services...the sperm donor went to go get gas for the car, he was gone for at least an hour leaving Mom to the wolves.) to a larger children's hospital where he later died. There isn't a month that goes by that I don't think about this little one. During a break, I was in the hallway playing on my iPod touch, Grandma came up to me saying that I was the nurse who talked to her and helped to calm her down that night. With that I got a hug and a thank you as well as tears in my eyes.
My birthday? Well, I've been having problems coming to grips with my mortality. This is just another reminder, along with the wrinkles, sagging skin, post menopausal state, and a slight weight gain, that I am a little closer to the next stage of my life. Death. There are so many things that I still want to do, don't get me wrong here. I'm not giving up per se. But me, just like millions of other folks out there are having a difficult time financially, including the possibility of losing our home, bills that we want to pay like the responsible people we are but are finding it hard because of a decline in business. I worry about keeping my job, completing my education and having the money to complete it. My daughter and grandkids are depending on us for a place to live, she is not able to provide for a place on her own. I really thought that I would have a real home to live in for the rest of my life when I came back here. I have lost 2 homes to foreclosure - 1) during my first marriage when be bought our home at the height of the housing market before it burst causing us to be upside down and 2) when my Dad died and instead of him keeping his home paid off, he took out a reverse mortgage that I couldn't pay back. My car broke down (again) and after $800.00 we don't really have, I can get back and forth to work.
So, at the end of all of this what do I want for my birthday? I want to have my personal bills paid off...that would take a winning lottery ticket. Heck! I don't even want the big money, just $15,000 would do! With that, I could pay my bills off and funnel more money to our home so we could keep it. And for my second and more important wish - justice for my little patient. To know that the sperm donor will not be out in society creating more babies, to abandon and abuse. Yes, I know that his conviction means he will be in danger. I worked for a time in a prison, I get it. Its true what they say, that there is a moral code that says that child abusers/molesters/killers are not tolerated. But at least he will be able to fight back, where this little one couldn't fight off being choked out and punched. (Yes, really...PUNCHED and CHOKED)
So, thats what I would like. Maybe with presents like that my depression will lift and I"ll be able to live a little before I die.