Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Work In Progress Wednesday: Traumatic Brain Injury, Domestic Violence and Other Dark Matters of the Heart

You might be wondering what TBI has to do with matters of the heart. Well, in my current work in progress, a greatly expanded (over 30k added) and heavily revised 2nd edition of Kiss & Tell, I introduce you to a main character who suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, as the result of an assault.  Tony is an old hand at dealing with devastating acts of domestic violence, having lived through several years of abuse at the hands of an older brother before moving out of one bad situation only to fall into another, arguably worse one.

Like many LGBTQ domestic abuse victims, Tony has little recourse. His support system is negligible, his resources strictly monitored by his abusive partner, and his options for community assistance seem impossible to locate. Until a dedicated nurse throws him a lifeline in the shape of a one page resource access card.

Please, if you know or suspect someone is living in a domestic violence situation and/or has suffered from a head injury, share the resources at the end of this post with them--but remember to do so in a manner that will NOT place them at higher risk for assault/injury.


The unedited version of that lifesaving interaction:

Tony flinched back, head jerking up and gaze darting to the door. Ugh. That tore it. Kevin had never seen that response in a patient who got injured in an accident caused by sheer clumsiness.
Big, beautiful, and seemingly tough Tony Giuliani needed one of Kevin’s LGBT friendly cards more than Lindsay Lohan needed a five year AA/NA chip and a sympathetic director/casting agent. And Kevin was going to make damn sure the big guy took one. Kevin quickly folded the card into thirds.
“See, I even had them made so you can fold them up and fit them in your shoe. In case your friend or you know, whoever, needs to keep the card hidden. It’ll fit right under the lining of your shoe. There’s always a little gap—well, in most shoes—right where the side of the shoe meets the arch. At least in my not nursing shoes.” Kevin laughed and held up his foot to show the crocs he currently wore.
“You can fold up one corner so it makes a little tab. Use that to lift the edge of the—oh, can I borrow your shoe to show you? So you know how to show someone else?” Kevin held his breath as he waited for Tony’s answer.
Tony’s glance ping-ponged from the card to the exam room door. “Uh, sure. I don’t mind.”
Kevin’s pulse thundered in his ears. Every time he passed one of these cards out he thanked himself for having them made up. After he read the cards the hospital passed out to suspected domestic abuse victims the first time, he realized any gay man—scratch that, any man period—in an abusive situation could expect zero help from the places listed on the card. And women in same sex relationships were in almost as bad a spot, because while they might have an easier time finding a shelter, so would their abuser. With a little research, however, he found a couple of shelters that were both gay friendly and willing to forbid entrance to abusive partners regardless of the gender and/or sexual orientation of the parties involved. His card wasn’t perfect, given that it left little recourse for straight men in abusive relationships. He’d had no luck finding shelters for men abused by women. Then again, little in this world was perfect, and at least his cards covered more of the possibilities than those the hospital routinely passed out.

Kevin reached into the side pocket of his scrubs and pulled out another of the LGBT friendly Domestic Abuse cards he’d made up. “Why don’t you try to fold that one up and then see if you can get in into your shoe? That way you’ll know how to show someone else.”

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