I used to watch news stories involving courtrooms and wonder about the plaintiffs. I watched them descend the building stairs surrounded by cameras and eager reporters.

I wondered about the verdict and their emotions and always said a little prayer thanking God it wasn't me.

Yesterday I experienced something that connected me with the people I've watched from a distance. Chris and I had a telephone hearing with a panel of doctors and insurance representatives to plead our case. We have found medical help for our mold exposure outside of our "network." We would like our carrier's support. The difference between us and other "victims" is that no one has lost their life as of yet and no one tried to hurt us. Ever. Even the doctors who suggested psychological evaluation weren't trying to hurt us. They simply didn't know.

Still, recounting our story was painful. Far more painful than I expected. Our goal was to be non-emotional. Present the facts. It went fine until I talked about Reagan and his suffering. I still can't talk about those late nights. And after I finished, there was silence. We were done. We had presented our case in 13 minutes. We were alloted 15.

I thought I would feel different. Relieved. Hopeful. I expected a catharsis.

I felt none of that. Only sadness and sorrow.

Now I understand. It's painful reliving the past. That's what the victims on television alway say. It's not the verdict. It's the pain.

Now I understand why we suffer and go through hard times. It's to connect us with others. Even from a distance.