She begins her story, listing the horrible things in her life with the same emotion given to reading a shopping list. "I have hepatitis C. I think I got that a long time ago when I experimented with drugs and now I have cirrhoses of the liver." She stops looking at the papers in her box long enough to say, "Oh and I've been treated for PTSD". "What's your PTSD from?" She continues her list, licking the tip of her index finger and sorting through her papers."One of my daughters was murdered by a boyfriend. I watched another daughter's husband being murdered in my house..."
I turn away from my computer and look at her, in horror. I lean against the wall to sturdy myself for more. She goes on, "I was stabbed in my back by my ex-husband and then when he and I were in the car one time, he reached over and punched me in the face so many times that I've had 8 facial reconstruction surgeries. Now my ex is in prison for molesting his new wife's daughter." She smiles sometimes but never cries. The only words I could muster up were, "Oh my God." I am not only struck by the things she tells but by the emotional detachment with which she tells it. She's busy finding the papers she needs to show the doctor. She's busy surviving.