By Comrade Rohan
For anyone that knows me, I suffer from epilepsy, meaning that I have spent a lot of time in hospitals for most of my life. All of the numerous hospital trips have made me realize a lot of things, but this latest hospital experience has really sealed the deal that these colonizer hospitals just don’t care about us. I won’t just be discussing the injustice done to myself, but the injustice that was done to other Colonized people that I noticed there. Of course my experiences aren’t 100% negative, but the fact that there are negatives at all (especially for us Colonized people who tend to have more health problems due to the harsh realities we deal with in the colony) in a place that’s supposed to care for people is messed up beyond reason.
In addition to being epileptic, I am also autistic, so being in a hospital setting is incredibly overwhelming for me and I cannot be in a hospital alone without someone to advocate for me. I am lucky that I had Black Hammer and my multiple committees at my side as a way of getting me through it. There are a lot of blanks in my memory from what happened before I got to the hospital, but I will fill it in with accounts from witnesses and from what I can remember.
As part of having epilepsy, you deal with seizures much more frequently and typically with seizures, someone always feels inclined to call 911 even though it’s not always necessary. There are some people that get a sort of “warning” sign directly before a seizure and I am not one of those people, however, I have noticed a change in my behavior a few days before the seizure actually happens. It’s part of the prodromal period. This helped me to know that I was going to have a seizure, but only in a few days and not in a few minutes.
The hours leading up to the seizure, I felt a little off, but nothing too alarming. I suffer from periods of low blood sugar, and so my blood sugar was 53 mg/dL (which is around 3 mmol/L) which is very low. I assumed that was the reason I was feeling weird so I figured I just had to bring it up. When the store closed, the shift manager did the usual and asked if I needed a ride home. I declined as it was too early for me to be returning home at the time and just decided to take the bus. They asked me if I was feeling okay today and I said I was fine.
I took my usual route to walk to the closest running bus stop. As I was passing by Target, I started to feel funny. My surroundings looked unfamiliar and I was scared as I had never experienced this before. When the feeling started, I messaged the shift manager stating that “I lied” which is probably a reference to when I said I was feeling fine after they asked. Nearly an hour went by after that and I remember waking up to my body against the side of a Firestone building and my coworker at my side asking me if I was okay. I knew I had a seizure because of how I was feeling and I was in the postictal stage where I recover.
They helped talk to me to calm me down and eventually called for another coworker to come by just to be there with me as well since they were another trusted individual. Before the other coworker came by, I was frustrated at the fact that I could not stand up without assistance yet which led me to having a meltdown, which further slowed my healing process as I was overwhelmed. As my coworkers were deciding whether or not it was time to call 911, a pig showed up to the scene. I have had many negative experiences with pigs when it comes to my seizures as they have either triggered them on purpose or were just completely ignorant to my struggles.
Side note: police officers are not actually trained to help in medical emergencies, and neither is such medical training mandatory under current laws in the united snakkkes. That effectively means they can ignore you until the paramedics show up or worse, exacerbate the situation, which is often the case for Colonized people.
My coworkers are aware that I do not like pigs and they respect that so one of them went over to the pig to explain what was going on. Unfortunately, upon hearing that I had a seizure, he decided to call an ambulance to come check me out even though it wasn’t needed. I was hoping that I could just decline the hospital like I usually do and everything would be fine, but that wasn’t the case.
The paramedic checked my blood sugar which was at a normal level and then decided that since I was still not fully recovered and my blood sugar was normal, then I needed to go to the hospital and I wasn’t allowed to decline. The paramedic claimed that usually once my blood sugar goes back up, then I’m fine, but that statement couldn’t have been further from the truth. In addition to being postictal, I was in the midst of recovering from a meltdown, so it’s safe to say that my brain wasn’t at its best at that moment, but because the paramedic didn’t know whether my state was because of the seizure or the meltdown, he decided to take me to the hospital.
I was upset, which led to another meltdown. I overheard the paramedic say “if we try to move him, he’ll have a meltdown” and another paramedic responded with “then he’ll just have to meltdown on the stretcher” which was possibly one of the most disrespectful things I had heard. That statement alone made it difficult to trust this group. There was one paramedic who was upset for me and did attempt to calm me down, which worked for a little bit.
The trip to the hospital itself was really fuzzy as I was in and out of consciousness for all of it, but I remember what went down when I got there. This hospital is very well known in the area and is highly revered, so as to make you believe you would receive only the best services. I will say that even “higher quality” hospitals can actually turn out worse for Colonized people.
Not even stepping a foot into to this hospital, the experience was already a completely negative and abusive one. Under colonialism, a hospital is not a place of care or even recovery, this institution like any other colonial institution, is predicated on the lives of Colonized peoples. How can one expect to be treated for anything when our health is non essential to white power? When our health problems only fuel their prolonged genocide. This is the true nature of the system we are fighting against at Black Hammer. Just wait until you hear what happens next, inside the hospital.
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Thank you for sharing your experiences and the treatment of colonized people in hospitals you witnessed. Due to my disabilities and recent hospitalizations of me and my family I have fully realized how dangerous hospitals are for colonized disabled people. This is why it is imperative that colonized people have true autonomy and sovereignty and we have our own hospitals ran by fellow colonized disabled people who can understand our experiences and the care we need.