Friday, April 18, 2008

Just Another Day

About two hours ago (11 a.m. PT), my doorbell rang. Then, I heard a constant, frantic-like kind of knocking on the door. I peaked out the front window, expecting to find either the UPS man, or JW's at my door. Perhaps the Mormons were back on my block?

As I looked out the window, there was a very frightened, young hispanic woman with a terrified look in her eyes. She was crying hysterically. I asked through the window what was wrong. She was out of breath and didn't seem able to speak. She motioned towards the street, trying to communicate that someone, or something, was after her. She made motions that indicated to me that she was hurt, perhaps abused. She was shaking, hands at her throat, and tried to show me her scratched arm.

She obviously couldn't speak. It was then that I realized she must be deaf. She motioned that she wanted to write something down. I opened the door a crack, motioned for her to come in and mouthed, "do you want to come in?"

She nodded yes! As I closed the door behind us, she wanted to be sure that the front door was locked. I went to the back door and locked it, too.

I immediately got paper and pen and she wrote - call 911. That's what I did.

Meanwhile, a blue van pulled up with several people in it. She looked out the window with me and it made her very upset to see them there.

Since I didn't know whether they were friend or foe, I didn't open the door. They never did come to the door, anyway.

She began writing, somewhat incoherently, that she wanted the police to come and get her.

Meanwhile, the 911 operator started asking me for a full description of her.

I went over to the front door window again. Two young women were now out of the van, standing under a tree on my lawn. One was on her cell phone.

It was then that the 911 person learned, and then relayed to me, the girl's case and situation. Apparently, the young girl (age 19) suffers from schizophrenia and is bipolar. She was to be taken for a mental health evaluation that day. I'm not sure whether she escaped from the van, or from a residence.

The 911 person told me to "keep my distance" from her. This was right after she asked me to check and see if the girl had a knife or any other weapon on her!

Too late. I already had gently placed my hand on her hand and reached around and placed my right arm around her shoulder, attempting to comfort her. I then gave her the OK sign and she put her hands over her heart and seemed relieved.

Obviously, the 911 operator was concerned for my safety. Up until that point, I hadn't even thought about my own safety! I just wanted to comfort this very scared, hysterical young woman.

When she started writing more phrases on the notepad, they weren't always coherent. She was trying to communicate to me that she was hit by someone. She also demonstrated a strangle hold on her neck and showed me scratches on her arm. She wrote down her age (19). I think she may have also written down her name on the pad. It looked like she wrote "Saemko."

Meanwhile, my puggle dog Sasha was busy sniffing her legs and wagging her tail. While on the phone with the 911 person, I tried to ease the woman's fears by encouraging her to play with Sasha and her toy.

When the girl got anxious again, I pointed to the page where I had written, "Police are on the way here."

It took about 10 or 15 minutes for them to get to my house. The 911 operator instructed me to open the front door. The girl stayed right near the doorstep as I walked out to introduce myself to the women standing under the tree on my front lawn.

Of course, I had forgotten about my puggle and she ran right out the front door! I ran back in to get her leash. The police arrived. Two squad cars and one CHP. One of the women tried to help me catch Sasha. FAT CHANCE! Sasha knew she was "loose"!

While trying to catch Sasha, I laid the cordless phone on the lawn and forgot all about the 911 operator!

Meanwhile, the girl walked towards one of the officers. He put what looked like loose, safety handcuffs on her. The sign language interpreter was communicating between the girl and the officer.

I picked up the phone and told the 911 person that the girl is now with the officers. She thanked me and said that I did a great job.

One officer approached me and asked how the girl had gotten into my house. I told him. I also offered the scribbled notes that she and I wrote to each other while she was in my home. As we walked back towards the front door, I was relieved that Sasha followed us back into the house! The officer read through some of the scribbled notes, and then took the two pages with him.

One patrol car drove off with the young girl inside. The other two officers chatted with the three women for about 10 minutes on my front lawn.

I let Sasha out into the back yard and closed the door. When I returned to the front door window, I noticed that a different officer was heading towards my front door. I opened it. He asked me a few questions about myself, the situation, and for a contact phone number.

As he was turning to go back to the patrol car, he said, "It must have been scary for you." I said, "No, not until the 911 person told me to check for any knives or weapons on her!"

The young girl and I were in my kitchen, most of the time, during this incident. There were two butcher blocks full of various knives, within reach, in full view on the counter! If the girl wanted to harm me - she could easily have grabbed a knife and used it as a weapon.

But no.

She was there asking for my help and protection until the police arrived.

I felt so bad for her. I don't know the whole story so I can't be sure whether she was being abused or her schizophrenia/bipolar disorder was causing her to be fearful.

She did write on the pad:

"I want 'move'(?) Mom in San Diego. Feel safe her."

I am praying for her safety, for successful intervention concerning her care, and for her to get the help she needs through her mental health evaluation.

6 comments:

Christinewjc said...

P.S.

Before this incident happened, I had been in the shower bathing our older dog, Heidi.

Sasha was next. However, she cried to go outside. She then plopped herself down on her lambswool mat on the patio to bake in the sun for a while.

I started doing other things around the house.

Now, I realize that if I had been in the shower bathing my second dog, I would not have been able to hear, nor answer, the doorbell!

Funny how sometimes plans change for a reason.

Susan Smith said...

Wow Christine! What an amazing divine encounter. It was no accident this young woman came to your door. God is kind and merciful and He works all things together for good in the lives of those who love Him. Thanks so much for sharing with your readers.

I can identify with this young woman, because I was medically discharged from the US Army in 1980 after experiencing what was called a nervous breakdown in the Republic of Panama. I was diagnosed as a manic-depressive (bi-polar disorder). Lithium carbonate was my medication for the next 22 years and regular visits to see VA psychiatrists as my lithium blood level was checked every 3 months.

In 2002, I cut my lithium level in half for thirty days and asked my supervisor with Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem to observe my behavior and tell me if there was any change. I prayed to God and told Him I believed He could heal me, but if He wanted me to be sick the rest of my life, then I would take lithium. I surrendered this “mental” illness completely to the Lord and Jesus healed me. Praise His Name. I have taken no medication since September 2002 even though every psychiatrist had told me if I ever stopped taking lithium, then I would have another “nervous breakdown” whatever that means.

It is a privilege to drink refreshing spiritual nourishment from the oasis called TalkWisdom. What a witness you are Christine as you continue to be led by the Holy Spirit. You are salt and light to the whole world. When we fear God correctly there is nothing else in the world to fear. I love you and I know God smiled when you opened your door for the frightened lady. Shabbat Shalom to you and your family. (ss)

mike rucker said...

nice job, christine. glad things worked out, and that both she and you are safe. she had a guardian angel watching over her that brought her to you - i expect you kept her from hurting herself.

just to be safe, before the next close encounter of this kind, trade sasha in for a doberman...

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa

Christinewjc said...

Hi Susan,

Isn't it amazing that such divine encounters happen when we least expect them? When I shared this event with my son (who arrived home about an hour after it happened), my daughter (who was traveling in the car with some friends), and then my husband at work, (who was very concerned...then laughed when I described Sasha racing around the women outside in circles as the police officers arrived); it was then that I realized that the Lord must have directed her to my particular house. These things do not happen by accident.

We live about 7 houses down from a main rural road. I don't know whether or not she tried knocking on other doors before she got to mine.

I have been thinking about this terribly troubled young woman who is only a year younger than my own daughter. She has so many "strikes" against her. She is deaf, mute, schizophrenic and bi-polar. I laid awake in bed for hours last night thinking about her. Mostly, I thought about how would a Christian witness to someone like that? Would sharing the gospel be comprehended?

Susan, I cannot tell you how many times the Lord has led me to either a Bible verse, Christian book, article, or a Christian friend's words when such deep questions enter into my mind. I want to write about it in today's blogpost.

Thank you for being so honest and transparent about your past struggle with bi-polar disorder. My mom has been on Lithium (diagnosed manic-depressive back in 1977) for over 31 years! When she had knee replacement surgery (about 3 years ago) she needed to get off the Lithium for a while. She reverted back to her depression status. Once she got back on it, she was fine again.

What a miracle occured in your life! The Lord healed you from the disorder so that you could eliminate the medication! How wonderful are His plans for your new life in Christ!!

We don't always know why some are healed and others are not. Perhaps we won't know until we get to the other side of heaven.

Meanwhile, we must trust the Lord our God...no matter what! That is what faith is all about...isn't it?

God bless you this day, and always!

Love you!
Christine

P.S. LOVED your latest newsletter! May I post it here this weekend?

Christinewjc said...

Thanks Mike! Everything happened so fast. I didn't even have time to worry about whether or not I was doing the right thing!

The police officers seemed to think (before I told them what happened) that she just barged into my house. They seemed surprised that I let her in! I guess she has been dangerous to others in the past. The amazing thing is...I had no fear of her. Only concern and the willingness to protect and help her.

After learning about all of her disabilities, it is amazing that she communicated with me so well...especially considering the circumstances.

Ha ha ha...trade our puggle Sasha for a doberman...not a chance! She's our baby!

Thanks for the laugh!

Susan Smith said...

Dear Christine—

Your transparency about your mother and lithium is beautiful. My supervisor in Jerusalem said there was no change in my behavior after 30 days so with fear and faith in my heart I stopped taking lithium in 2002. Only God knows exactly when we should seek a doctor, take medicine or stop taking medicine. No one should ever stop taking prescribed medication unless the Holy Spirit is leading them to do so.

If you are referring to the newsletter about my divine encounter with asphalt when I fell in a parking lot, then of course you are welcome to post it. It is a privilege to be a guest blogger at TalkWisdom and it is a great blessing to have an opportunity to confess my fleshly sins of word and deed to the world via your blog. God bless you Christine and Happy Passover too! (ss)