Post Katrina PTSD


It felt as if it came from out of no where, right after watching the news. A representative from Sewage and Water Board spoke about the possibility of power failure with the pumps. Out of the blue an intense feeling of knowing this is it, a feeling on end near coming over me. No sooner I felt a sense of calm fill my spirit; a soft calming voice attempted to get my attention, but the sound of thunder and rain had it.

I could hear my heartbeat in my ear, the thumps grew stronger and louder as if it was about to explode. At the time I was laying on the couch feeling the I need to lay down, so I did. The soft, but firm bed brought me temporary comfort, but I could not close my eyes. I thought if I had fallen asleep I would never awaken. My eyes were so heavy, but I must have had toothpicks holding them up. I decided to call out to my sister, Dionne who was in the kitchen cooking. Dionne always shined the light on my issues with her matter of fact, get your mind right speeches. I told her I wasn’t feeling good to gain her empathy, because I wasn’t prepared to hear her speech not at that moment. I must have looked the part, because she looked at me, walked off saying “High Blood Pressure is not no joke. ” She returned with the blood pressure machine she brought for me years ago, that I rarely use. She asked me about my physical symptoms hand I read off “light-headed, my hands, fingers, and feet were tingling. And I fell like I was outside of my body and waves of heat came over me in an instant.” As the word flew off my tongue I shouted, ” Oh shit, Im having a stroke! I felt ho from head to toe. I asked for something cold and my sister Grabbed a few popsicles from the freezer and they seem to melt instantly on my hot tongue. She stood there fumbling with the blood pressure machine asking if I took anything other than my regular meds. I guess she thought I was having an adverse reaction to the pain medication I had for my pelvic pain, but I didn’t take anything other than my blood pressure medication. As she put the blood pressure cuff on backwards, I noticed her her lips moving as if she was talking to me, but I could not hear a word.

My mind was so aware of every physical change going on in my body as that Ms.Know It All Nurse found away in my head. “You know that your blood pressure is high, your pulse rate  feels like it’s over 120, your dizzy, nauseated and the list goes on, you know you bout to die” For some reason I asked myself did I even complete nursing school and to shut up, that Im about to have Dionne make me an ice bath like Will Smith did on that movie 7 bPounds minus the jellyfish. “Dionne I need more ice, something big and cold alot of it like a block of ice”, she gave me a look over, walked out and didnt come back for what felt like minutes… Leave it to My Sister to go clean up something while Im dying I thought to myself. I laid down and heard her say “oh No you feel like you need to lay down, I need to take your blood pressure!” I extended her my arm, but that voice came back hard and raw, “Get the fuck up, but don’t tell her how bad you really feel, she not gonna be able to handle it.” I sat up and she hands me these two foil covered packs from the frezzer, I stuck one in my pants so that it wldnt fall out, thinking if I put it by my groin as well wld cool me sooff faster; I asked her to put the other on my back while she strapped the cuff on me. “Oh your over 200, she was reading the numbers as it pumped but it wasnt finished with the reading, but this cant be right you need your feet on the floor, Im getting a chair.” I saw my niece Jamiah looking at me with worry and I motion for her to get her out of my presence, I cant believe she went outside. In that moment I saw my life flash before my eyes, my heart got heavy, my sister cant do this; “I can’t leave her to see bout shit Im supposedshr to take carecameI off my tongue shouted of, my Mama gonna be upset cuz I didn’t plan for emergencies like death, my Daddy said stop living in a state of emergency, my Niyah Jean gonna get put on ADHD medicine, Ebony going to drop Princess from here made up name and much more will go astray because I’m dead” I thought to myself as the blood pressure cuff tighten again. “We really shldnt be waiting this long, Im having all the symptoms of a stroke or is it a heart attack, I thought to myself wishing the tub was filled with ice.  “Dionne I think we gonna need an ambulance ” came from my lips and pure horror came across her face as she retighten the cuff. “Uhh, No we have these kids here, you look fine, you not seizing, your face not drooping and you’re moving around, but if you want you can Uber the fuck out of here or if you need to die just go ahead the floor right there and I’ll let the people in while I see bout the kids outside”, she said it so calmly but very serious at the same time. Jamiah, came back in looked at me and gave me a kiss, Ebony gave me a smile and Niyah hopped passed me as usual trying to avoid being told to stop something. I looked at the floor which was supposed to be be the doom of me as I saw my sister and girls walk onto the porch as my mind focused on living. My Momo came to me, she just passed in April, she was my everything, my source of goodness, love and my spiritual grounding. I heard a whole bunch of church songs blended into one, then her voice led me to Victory is Mines as I sat in my sister’s makeshift nurses station. I didn’t move my lips, but the song played out in my head and I felt my Momo telling me to calm down as I tapped the tingling out my feet. “VICTORY IS MINE, TODAY ITS MINES!” sang in my heart and soul. Dionne walked in checked on me and I over heard her tell my niece Nene about my request for an ambulance & her denial and her concerns and fears, because of my history of high blood pressure and stress. Pretty soon Nene and Baby Donovan came on duty to observe me. Maybe, because its so talked about in her generation she asked if I thought I was having a Panic Attack…WTF is that, I thought to myself, but whatever it was it did make sense; minus me having high blood pressure all of my symptoms could point to that and gradually I started to feel like myself… My blood pressure was my elevated high normal 140/90, but my heart rate was 124. All the signs where pointing to a possible Panic Attack.

I wasn’t living here when Katrina happened, but I had family and friends who where. I remember calling around with worry after seeing the images on the news. I can still visualize the dead elderly woman covered with a blanket in her wheel chair by the convention center and the scene from the Super Dome. It was a horrible nightmare to watch and I couldn’t imagine what it felt like to those who lived thru it. I wonder how those who stayed or came back feel after events like this…?

I believe I became overwhelmed after the flood yesterday, I tried my best to calm the girls fears by playing a in the trash, germ and rat infested water after hearing their worries of our house floating away and another Katrina. “Go put your rain boots on and I’ll find something to float on” came so natually. As they splashed I managed to pick up overturned trash cans and its contents from the ground. I remember seeing maggots bust out of a floating bag as if I was watching a horror move, but even with my fear of all things creepy crawly I picked it up and put it in the trash can that I put behind the police barricade.
Its like a guilt came over me for coming back to my home town and putting my family at risk, because of my love for New Orleans….
Living here Post Katrina with all the funds allocated to the city one would think New Orleans would not only be prepared to handle a few feet of water, but ready to handle a Hurricane bigger than Katrina. This so called little flood is proof that those with power do not care about the lives of the residents of New Orleans and have misused funds. Where is the money? 

Living here I can honestly say that everyone works even the homeless people have shifts to work the corners, so its not like our people are lazy. Speaking of the homeless; I wonder how they and the animals such as Nola the cat who came on my steps looking for higher dry ground??? The people who 4 walls make up a tent or the bridge underpass..

 The people who make New Orleans what she is are poor, under paid, forgotten and used to make this city what she is. This is a 100+milliom dollar city alone and the people who work the essential jobs make under $20/hr and minimum wage is $7.50. Something is wrong with that. 
Then Sewage and Water Board sends out a black representative with no designer suit or money to match to inform us about a possible answer on Tuesday. Why didn’t the owner, the big wig with the power, surface on the news if only in the shadows, give a news conference especially given face that FEMA wants millions of dollars back from the company. He send out his loyal puppet to speak on his behalf. That man looked nervous to me and I wont be surprised if he resigns before the news conference.
All of this and then some came over me in an instant. I became overwhelmed with life, all its problems, heartache and the love for my family. I had a Panic Attack that literally had me feeling like I needed to clock out in essence to drown it all away, but my love for my sister, mother, kids and family came front. “What would they do without me” played out in my mind and all I felt was saddness. I do not want to feel guilty, as if i put my families life and well being in harms way, physically, mentally and spiritually for the love of New Orleans.
I have soul ties with my home, my birth place, I’m rooted here, I love New Orleans, but I love my family more…

I want to be here, because my ancestors died to make this city all that she is, but its like she “New Orleans” has been entrusted into the wrong hands and until she has a loving, caring, protector again she will never be the same again.

Maybe the possibility of losing money to tourism will set things straight. Like really who wants to come a city thats guaranteed some type of disaster.??
I will follow up with my primary care doctor today, because my heart rate was possibly higher at some point and he may want to run some test just to be on the safe. I honestly think if I was by myself or with someone not as calm as my sister I would hv been transported by an ambulance. Also,  takeing my blood pressure medication as scheduled/prescribed, having a blood pressure machine and remaining calm myself all worked wonders. I would have never believed that a Panic Attack existed or that  the feeling of death being right in your face as if sucking your breathe could feel so real. 

Please educate and take care yourself and family. Don’t neglect warning signs or wait to call 911 if you feel symptoms of distress.

By the way those foil packs where seasoned frozen ground meat and chicken. I was wondering why I smelled of raw meat as I was sensing death near. Honestly, I thought that to myself. Lol Most of all Im proud of my little big sister whom Nene named “Hairdresser Homehealth aide Nurse in management.  😄😂😍🤗

#NolaChic #NolaLife #Nola #NewOrleans  #NewOrleansFlooding #Flooded #SewageandWaterBoard  #HurricaneKatrina #Katrina #PTSD #PanicAttack

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