10.31.19 Thursday 5:30 pm I am about to scream, feeling trapped, scared and unheard. All of the things I normally do to comfort myself are unavailable to me. I have not had sunlight on my body since I came in here last Wednesday, the 23rd of October. I went to sleep at home, in pain on Tuesday, the 22nd and woke up on the afternoon of Friday the 25th with a ventilator tube down my throat. I can’t open the window and breathe natural air; I have no shoes or jacket here so I can’t take a walk around the block; I can’t smoke weed which is how I control my seizures; I can’t eat the food I desire because I have no money to request what I desire to be brought in; I can’t hug a daughter or anyone who really knows me; I am tired of major invasions to my body being played off as no big deal. I am used to be only being touched by people who love me; I have been touched, repeatedly by strangers who cause me pain and bruise my body.
For years, I consciously chose to live my life free of man’s prescription pills. I am rarely in physical pain and when I am I don’t take over the counter pain relievers. I use cannabis. I know that meditation will lower and control my blood pressure. I know that cannabis will control and stop my seizures. I know that water and walking will lower my weight to a healthy range. As soon as I am released from this hospital, I will act on that knowledge. I will not be a victim of the beliefs of others. My God is my sovereign healer, not any human. Medical doctors and their prescription medicines are tools that I can choose to use to achieve a state of health. There are other tools, natural ones I can use to achieve the goal of good health. I must remember that these doctors have only as much authority as I give them. I am in control of everything that happens to me here. My end goal is to be healthy enough to serve and magnify my concept of the Divine.
9:15 pm A daughter is here, for me to take a much needed shower. We are waiting on some unknown white person to tell me if I can or cannot take a shower. For fear I may fall. I got out of that hospital bed around 8 am and stayed on my feet until after 6 pm and someone who is not in this building, and has not spoken to me is deciding if I will get to take a short shower. I use showers to feel better. If my daughter leaves here before the order comes, I won’t be able to shower. I don’t feel safe getting in the shower without someone I trust in the room. And now we are waiting on the neurosurgeon to give permission. No one has any idea how saying that my grown-ass Black self has to get permission from a white person to cleanse my body makes me feel. The self-sufficient control freak in me is about to bloop. My patience is getting shorter and shorter!!!
10:19 pm Clean and feeling better after a long hot shower. With my daughter outside the bathroom door, the one thing I was sure of was: I would not step out naked and face a stranger. No stranger could open the door, for ANY reason, not even for my health’s sake, with my daughter present. This was done a few days before, when my basic movements had to be written off on. I fully understand the liability concerns of the health organization that is U of L Trauma Center. I actually had to sit down on the toilet and stand for a stranger with a clipboard and pen in hand to prove I was able to go to the bathroom alone. That same human really did open the door to check my status while I showered, not knowing that they were essentially saying that I was not safe in the presence of my God. I meet, connect and listen to my God in running water. I live my life based on the belief that the Holy Spirit baptized me in the water on the Alex Haley Farm in Clinton TN. I act on the internal word I hear in running water, believing that my God speaks to me through the warm water running over my body. The notion that any human on this planet believes I need their input once I consciously enter the water is disrespectful to my relationship with my God.
11:14 pm So, how do I reflect my image of God in this place? How did My God show up in this space to give me what I needed, to feel safe and loved? In an environment that is punching holes in me and bruising my body and injecting foreign substances (precription meds) and items (a PIIC line) into me in order to heal me, how does the love and peace of my God make Itself felt? As I learn the lessons this experience has to offer in order to be a better servant mother, how do I know which choice to select to most effectively and effectively to facilitate my healing and getting back to service? As typed that last sentence https://open.spotify.com/track/6KQFEIpEJS0yLhpDceWsAn?si=tF-N5d47SyqORwDY7WuG5Q (Stevie Wonder’s Have a Talk with God) from my personal Spotify playlist began to play.
I walked my darling daughter to the elevator. I came back into the room, hit the play button and https://open.spotify.com/track/7d1pVLy6CSIGZrQ8Ki7sBw?si=AKRwMTArRSqcjFk-pwlgMQ (Richard Smallwood Angels) starts playing and I knew I was protected. In a scary place, after a traumatic medical event, my God showed up to allow me to connect, through the water. A trusted loved one sat in protection over me as I went to my sacred space, the water, to be restored. This is my truth. The timing so perfect, so intimate it seems and feels to be an direct communication with the God of My Understanding. So perfect in its time and place it appears mythical, magical. This is really happening though, in the outer world. I really did lay bare my sacred, intimate feelings to a Rabbi who REALLY listened to my Spirit. I saw and felt the presence and power of MY God in the human who sat before me, Spirit open, canvas blank and let God use him.
See!!!!! This is what I mean, direct communication . . . I just returned from the nurses station and heard the speaking voice of this intro https://open.spotify.com/track/61UuDZcUx3ihS7gtMtT2tM?si=du1KGIWaSOekRv7rUplJzw (Wade in the Water) and had to stop and start the song again, raising the volume to really hear what she was saying. It just fit TOO WELL for what is going on in my life, in this moment, to ignore. Anyone who claims to really know me, knows about my love of Sweet Honey In The Rock. Sweet Honey in the Rock is an all-woman, African-American a cappella ensemble, known as the voice of the Civil Rights movement. If you don’t know me, this is the music of my people’s movement. I was born in 1961 and was nurtured and trained by the Local and National NAACP, during an essential part of the struggle for human rights by Negro people (yes, that is what my elders called us until my generation declared that we were Black and proud about it) in this country. I was raised and learned to advocate for the freedom of my people at Quinn Chapel AME Church on 9th and Chestnut. Mattie Jones was not a public figure and civil rights leader to me but a neighborhood mother whose daughters I walked home from school with. My parents were, by their own definition, Race People. A Race man or Race woman is a loyal member of the Black Race who dedicate their life to directly contributing to the betterment of Black people. My childhood home, the Travis & Son Funeral Home, housed the voting polls for my community, in three locations in the Westend. My mother, like Rosa Parks, was the Branch Secretary of the Local Branch of the NAACP for years and a founding member of the Salome C. Worthington Women’s Auxiliary of the Louisville Branch of the NAACP. She and other powerful women created the NAACP Youth Group that molded the leader I am today.
It is why the reality of masked white men appearing at the foot of my bed at 3 am is such an issue for me. My sociological reality is that when a masked white man is standing in your bedroom in the wee hours of the day, he was NOT there to heal anyone but to kill your man and rape you before he ends your life. My father purchased property in Paris, Tn and Louisville, Ky, not to advance our family’s economic status but to give him the legal right to shoot and kill any white man crazy enough to come onto his property without invite. He, and I, were trained to prepare the human body for the grave. He grew up during the time of night riders. Night riders are members of a secret band who rode masked at night doing acts of violence for the purpose of punishing or terrorizing. Trusting my health care to white men is not my norm. Growing up, my family doctor was the first African American physician granted privilege to practice at a downtown hospital, Dr. Jesse Bell. Dr. Bell and Dr. Maurice Rabb were the first black physicians to practice at a Louisville hospital outside of Red Cross, as they both began seeing patients at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital in the 1950s. My childhood pediatrician was Dr. Grace M. James, the first African-American woman on faculty at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and was the first black woman to obtain membership in the Jefferson County Medical Society. This is a difficult experience for me on so many different personal levels. I stand in the need of prayer.