Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bombs and Assaults... just another day at the office

One day I will catch everyone up on our daily lives again... until then, here is a brief glimpse into another day at my work. (I am a clinical nurse manager for a group of pediatric offices.)

Let's start out by saying that I spent last week in Austin, Tx, with my dear friend Michelle, her husband James, and their precious preemie son, Noah. After spending a solid week with one of my most precious friends and holding a baby... coming back to work, a messy house, and real life in general, was not registering very high on my "fun meter!" However, it was the longest I have been away from my husband, since we were engaged, and I was very to be back with my best friend.

Today started out like any other Tuesday. I spent the first few minutes catching up on office politics/drama and showing off pictures from my recent trip. One of my nurses walks up to me and says, very casually, "Did you see the bomb out in the road." This is when it all starts to go down hill... rapidly.
Me: "The WHAT?"
Nonchalant nurse: "the bomb thingy in the road - the package with all the tubes, pipes, and wires coming out of it?"
Me: "Well, no I certainly, and thankfully, missed it. Show it to me... we might need to call the police."

Sure enough a very "bomb-like" object was sitting in the middle of the side road we share with two other companies - a nursing home and a granite factory. I was pretty darn sure it was some explosive that had "just" fallen off the back a delivery truck to the granite factory. However, I still thought it best to call the police just to be on the safe side. I called the non-emergent number and very clearly stated I in no way thought this was a hostile/malicious situation - basically I have an office full of pediatric patients and their parents, DO NOT FREAK THEM OUT UNNECESSARILY!!

I go back outside to watch for any cars that might come by, to direct them away from the package, in case they don't see it. Too late. Someone had already driven over it!!! I walk back to to street carefully. Fuses, wires   approximately 20 sticks of dynamite are strewn all over the road! Fantabulous - at least no one got hurt... yet. I found a large plastic container to place in front of the explosives so no on drives over them again. This was evidently a mistake. I am pretty sure half of our county law enforcement showed up and within minutes had crime scene tape up everywhere, blocking anyone from coming or going. Not sure if you are familiar with a pediatricians office, but from 9am-10:30am are the busiest times. This was exactly when all the craziness started. We had two waiting rooms full of patients and their parents, not a little freaked out  by the whole situation. I looked at one of the officers and said "Dude, please tell me you are not going to make us evacuate (keep in mind there is a large nursing home right across from us too!)?" (and yes, I definitely said dude)  Luckily, no evacuation order was ever given, although they told me it was likely to happen. I ended up getting interviewed by four different law enforcement officers: someone at dispatch, the sheriff himself via telephone, and two cops on scene, all about "was I sure" I had in fact been the one to place the plastic container out there, and was that the only thing I had placed in the road. Finally, all four of them believed me, but they needed my drivers license to "confirm my identity." My license was in my car... behind the crime scene tape. The officer walked me out my car. By this time quite a crowd had gathered. Two guys saw me getting into my car and thought I was getting to leave, while they were being kept blocked in.
Non-genius males to my cop escort, "Oh come on man, why does she get to leave. We ran over the stupid thing cause we thought it was just some old fireworks. Its nothing. Let us all go already!"

Cop escort to non-genious males: "Well, ya'll are idiots, but I sure am glad you are safe and lived to tell us of your stupidity. For the record, those "fireworks" are sticks of dynamite."

Non-genious males: silence, followed by walking back into their building.

Some small bomb squad comes and cleans up the mess, everyone leaves, and we settle back into our normal morning chaos.

No less then an hour later, an employee comes running up to me saying "A woman is getting beat up in the parking log!"
Me: "Oh for the love," as I hurriedly walk out through the waiting rooms to the front parking lot.

Let's pause here for just a minute. In case you are not familiar with the medical profession, we can to be a wee bit dramatic. I have no idea why - its not like our daily jobs don't provide enough drama on a daily basis. However, we are trained to be specific and detailed... so maybe the drama is specific details gone haywire. All that to say, I really wasn't too concerned. I really thought I was just going to walk out to a yelling match with a few shoves here and there. When I saw both waiting rooms on their feet looking out the window yelling "she is getting 'crap' beat out of her," I realized the dramatics had been truth.  It felt a little like once of those Dateline or 20/20 specials of "What would you do?" There were no less then 8 males standing by, inside, just watching this woman being attacked. One guy even looked at me and said "Uh, that lady needs some bad help!" Really, you coward????

I get out to the parking lot to see a man, with an unrestrained child in an infant carrier, beating the tar out of this lady who is trying to seek shelter in her car, and both individuals are screaming every profanity known to man! Luckily one of the other employees had followed me to the door. I looked at her and said "call the police NOW!"

Four people are part of the following scene: Me, baby, baby-mama (BM), and baby-daddy (BD, who then becomes GAM, but more on that later).

Me to BD: "sir, I can see you very upset, I am very sorry for whatever happened, let me help you by taking your baby." At this point I have no idea who started this, who is at fault, who was the aggressor (which soon became very obvious), etc... my one thought :get that poor baby to safety.  Surprisingly, he handed over the child immediately, and I held her close to me. She was beautiful, and completely calm.

I have worked in health care for nearly 10 years, always in pediatrics, mainly in a hospital setting. I have been in many hostile and confrontational situations. I never get scared though - security has always been a phone call away. Medical situations push people to their breaking point, to places where their usual coping skills can't touch. They act out of character. And while it is not acceptable or to be tolerated, it is always somewhat understandable... especially if someone's child is involved.

Me to BM (who is hysterically sobbing): Ma'am are you, ok?
BM: Yes, just please take care of my baby, I can deal with him (meaning BD).
Me: I am not leaving you, and I am keeping your baby right here with me, she is fine.

This whole time BD is flapping and flopping around the parking lot screaming every profanity known to man.

Me to BD: Sir, I realize you are upset, but I am going to need you to calm down, so we figure out how to work this out.

BD: You @#%#$@ you can't #%^$& tell me what I ^(&( can and (&*&(^% can't do. From now on when BD is speaking, just interject the F*bomb* between about every 2nd word, and you will have a pretty good idea of what I was hearing.

Me: I am going to need you to watch you language sir, you are at a pediatric office, and your language is not appropriate for this environment and will not be tolerated.

BD: I don't F'in care what you F'in say, I say whatever the @$#%&@$#&@^ I want.
At this point he takes his shirt off, which is soaked, from I assume the contents of the broken cup lying on the ground, throws it at me, and goes storming towards the building like he is going to go inside.

Me: stop right there sir, you can not go into that building without a shirt, and your actions do NOT need to be seen by the kids in that office. And I am not going to help those kids to hear your language

BD: Them kids too #$%$@%# young to know what the @#%@ @$%#^ I say......
just imagine every derogatory word, comment, or phrase (many I had never even imagined!) for another 30-45 secs.
Now I am mad.

Me: Ok, that's enough, this behavior will not be tolerated. In case you were unaware, you happen to be on private property, therefore I have every right to tell you exactly how you are allowed to act. The police are on their way, and if this poor woman doesn't press charges, rest assured, we will.

BD: I am a grown ass man (hence the GAM, but seriously, what they heck does grown ass man even mean!?!?) and you can't %*&^%# tell me what to do, you $%&$%$@%#&.

Pause again. I was raised in a house where Abe Lincoln's philosophy on profanity was a household rule "Profanity is the act of a feeble mind trying to express itself forcibly." I despise any and all forms of profanity, and have very little tolerance for it. My husband has always countered that sometimes it needs to be used as it is the only language some people understand. I have emphatically told him he was wrong on every occasion he has verbalized this sentiment. However, this afternoon I finally understood.

Me: Well your ass may be grown, but are acting like a child, so sit your grown ass down NOW!" 

About this time it hits me - crap, I am not in a hospital setting where security shows up in 2.1 seconds. The cops aren't showing up for at least another 10 minutes. What on earth have I gotten myself into!?!

GAM: I am leaving, and you can't @$%#^$ stop me!

Me: Sir, I really don't care when or how you leave. The police are one their, and I have already memorized your tags (this was definitely a lie!) so you can either wait around here, and leave in handcuffs, or you can leave on your own, but you are still going to end up in hand cuffs, cause there will be warrant out for your arrest.
By this point, I just really wanted/needed him to leave, before the situation escalated anymore. I am not all ashamed to state that I had kept that baby securely held in front of me the entire time. I was pretty sure, as long his baby was so close to me, he wouldn't try anything physical.

GAM got in the car and "acted like" he was going to back over BM. 

Me to BM: quick tell me what his tags are!

BM to me: you might want to back up because he does have a gun in the car.

That is when my knees went weak. 

GAM left without any further incident, thank God, and we got the mom inside. She was already bruising around her neck, on her chest, down her arms, was bleeding from a nasty gash on her arm, and had broken toe. She kept sobbing and apologizing over and over again for putting everyone at risk. "Her baby was sick and he was the only one who would bring them to the doctor." My heart broke for her. Me and another nurse just sat with our arms around her and her baby. I think all of us cried a little. 

As luck would have the same cops responded to this call! I walked around the corner and they said "Really, you again? Miss us that much?" I laughed shakily, and I think they instantly saw I was way more worked up about this call then the previous call. After they were done interviewing and photographing the mom, they told us they thought dispatch had made a mistake when they sent out our 2nd request for help, less then an hour after then left the first time. Ha ha if only it had been....

I hope BM and baby are safe somewhere tonight. If you think of them, pray for them! GAM has warrant out for his arrest. I will definitely be doing some investigation to see what happens to him. Unfortunately, if he had kicked a cat, he would certainly be in jail for years. However, he will be given numerous chances to reform since he "only" abused his baby's mom and his own flesh and blood. And no, I am not a proponent for animal cruelty. I just hate that we value the life of child less then we do the life of an animal, that can survive out in the wild on its own.

Pediatric nursing... nothing else like it!:)


  1. Holy moly!! My day was crazy -- but thankfully no bombs or fights. Second graders were mild compared to your day!!

  2. Wow. Just, wow. This whole post had me glued to the phone. What a day!!! I'm glad you were there to keep that poor baby safe.

  3. Yep. That's my big sister!