Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

Throughout this blog you are now seeing advertising. I need to provide this so as to keep going financially with this ministry. If you see something that is inappropriate to this site, please let me know - maybe get a screen shot of it for me. I do get credit for any "click" that you might make on any of the ads. If you're bored some night and want to help me raise some needed cash, visit my site and click away to your heart's content....


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Contact me now, please.

You moved Home to Heaven 30 weeks ago last night. I'm in the anger stage of grief. That usually means that the survivor is angry with the loved one who has died.

I'll admit, there is some of that. I wish you had stopped doing what you were doing or at least slowed down what you were doing. I even told you that I was getting scared as I watched the pace at which you were advancing your efforts.
But I'm far angrier at the medical professionals who, once you had found your ready moment and submitted to professional care, had the audacity to tell you that they were discharging you from the emergency room in which you had been brought in by ambulance at your request because they needed your bed "for real patients". You died about 5 days later.

That's who I'm most angry at.

For the past 30 weeks, I've been hoping to find an attorney or two or more who would help the overall situation of barbaric treatment by medical professionals upon folks like yourself who were suffering from this horrendous disease of substance use disorder. And so far not a single attorney has been found.
There was one attorney who expressed some interest in coming up with a solution. His idea was to 302 for a minimum of 5 days anyone who overdosed and had been saved by Narcan. Unfortunately, that attorney was also the regular jawn of at least one woman on the street reliant on prostitution to fund her addiction. And so with those kinds of attorneys putting forth some artificial effort to end this nightmare, is it any wonder that we're not making any progress?
I'm looking for attorneys who will look at the legal aspects of this barbaric treatment of the human beings on the streets of Kensington who are being so grossly treated.

Are you one of those attorneys who would step forward? Are you an attorney who does not have the expertise for such a situation but knows of an attorney or attorneys who could help? I'm reaching out to you as well.
Let's end this nightmare just as much as it can possibly be ended.
Contact me now, please.
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Monday, August 1, 2022

See the dreams trapped inside the individual and do your part to release those dreams back into reality.

Who is this delightful individual with the tremendous smile and the seemingly always perky personality? I needed to know. All I knew about her was that she is from a suburban county not all that far from my own. We sat down at table 103 at the local McDonald's and she shared with me who she is when she's not trapped in her addiction and living homeless on the streets of Kensington.


The reality of her essence jumped out of her as she shared with me how she had been working toward her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at a Main Line University. She went on to explain to me many of the pharmacology aspects of the illicit drugs and the healing drugs that are involved or would like to be involved in her world. In follow-up conversations since then, I asked her what type of nursing she would like to be involved in when she gets back into it. She didn't have to think long.


Neonatal intensive care…” was her response.


In the very few weeks since that lunch at McDonald's, she has told me that she knows that she's the only person getting in her way of getting to detox and yet she cannot bring herself to make that leap from the street. And so she tolerates for reasons that she can explain but can not fight the continuous need to do dates to provide funding for her drugs and to be held up at gunpoint when the guy who has just had her for his own purposes demands his money back.


The next time that any medical professional sees any man or woman coming into their care for substance use disorder related issues, they should look beyond whatever emaciation or self-inflicted injection injuries there may be and realize the individual in front of them may be a nurse in waiting or a professional counselor in waiting or a social worker in waiting or a neurosurgeon in waiting, etc etc etc. 


Look past the current situation in front of you, medical professional. See the dreams trapped inside the individual and do your part to release those dreams back into reality. 


Sunday, July 24, 2022

Found in Kensington saving a life so another family would not know loss...

One of my other adventures today in Kensington happened when a missing person from the group "Found in Kensington" came up to me and said she needed Narcan for a person about a block away. I gave her the narcan out of my back pocket and she took off and saved the person's life.

She came back to me maybe 15 minutes later. I asked her if she wanted to call her family and she said she's not quite ready but please let them know that she's ok and not actually lost.

The moral of this story I guess is that while our loved ones are lost to us in these frightening days, they're still out there often doing heroic things and saving the son or daughter of some other family who desperately wants their loved one to come home.

A BSN student misplaced on the streets of Kensington...

Among today's adventures in Kensington, I told a misplaced BSN student to not allow the BS that is going on in the addiction side of her brain to get in the way of the healing that will bring her back to her studies and career as a registered nurse with her bachelor of science degree.

This woman has a stunning knowledge of the pharmacology in her world. She can explain in amazing detail what goes on in the illicit drugs and the healing drugs which are currently in and wanting to be in her life.

She told me today that the only thing that is getting in her way right now is her own self.

And so do please pray that as Sunday turns into Monday morning, she will find her way to the office on Kensington Avenue excellently and sensitively led by Ramon Crespo . In so doing she will take the first step and go through the pain of detox and the rehab of rehabilitation and then eventually become reacquainted with her school books which will provide the education that will eventually bring her to her BSN.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

An event in my recent past gave me flashbacks to my own childhood.

One of my loved ones who I met on the streets of Kensington decided to walk away from the care that they were receiving.   While his family and I did what we could to encourage him to stay and continue his care, he was absolutely determined to do otherwise. We did all that we knew to do and said all that we knew to say to convince him to stay and keep working toward renewed health. In the end, he walked away and has stayed away thus far.


As I was leaving the situation, I started reminiscing about my own childhood and the day I decided to run away from home when I was about five years of age. My home at that point in life with a 15-acre property, that of an Episcopal church with a very large parking lot. My dad was an Episcopal priest and my mom was a teacher specializing in private tutoring. 


I made it known that I was planning on running away from home. This was a storyline I had seen in a recent TV show and I related to it for some weird childhood reason. I told my parents what I was doing and they spoke to me briefly and said that since I wasn't happy I could do so. I packed my bag and walked down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. I remember looking back and waiting for them to come running after me. No one did. 


I sat at the far end of the parking lot for a little while hoping that someone would come out and get me. After some amount of time, I walked back to the house and continued on with my day back with my family.


As I compared these two storylines, I started wondering if the better approach to take when someone in the throes of addiction demanding to be fed should just be allowed to leave and not put up any fight at all. The difference, of course, is that the addiction demanding to be fed could easily kill the person whose rational side of thinking would actually prefer to be healed even though the addiction is screaming louder at that moment.


The little child choosing to run away from home typically doesn't go very far. They walk down the sidewalk, sit for a bit and come home.  The person in addiction running away from their healing may or may not ever come home and that's frightening.


Loved ones of the person running away from their healing are put in a terrible bind. If they simply let their loved one walk away without putting up any debate or argument and their loved one dies, they are left wondering what more they should have done. If they debate or argue too much to encourage them to stay and their loved one still leaves and dies, they're left wondering if they debated and argued the point too much. The Civil War that goes on in the mind of the addicted person in this sense ends up being transferred to the loved one and the loved one ends up having a Civil War in their own mind of what they should or should not have done. It’s a really tough place in which loved ones often find themselves… 

“Thank you.”

A few days ago I dropped off one of my empty banana crates on a street corner where a bunch of my loved ones live. These banana crates are very solid cardboard boxes. I came back the next day and it had been filled with trash from a particular local man's sweeping of the street.

After my visit on this next day, I had another banana crate that I really did not want to bring home with me. I saw the man across the street and I asked him if he would like me to leave this empty banana crate for him to fill with local street trash. He said that would be fine. And then he said something really interesting. He actually said…


“Thank you.”


Now, what's so usual about that? I was doing something that was beneficial to his perspective on what was going on. Why wouldn't he say “Thank you.”? That particular expression of appreciation really dug into my soul because this man is the corner drug dealer.


The corner drug dealer was appreciative of my humble kindness toward his cleaning efforts. Keep in mind that I don't like what he's doing as his income but I did appreciate the fact that he was keeping the streets clean.


The drug dealer said, “Thank you.”


And this really got me thinking. 


When's the last time anyone else in a position of some sort of authority over me demonstrated appreciation? 


A demonstration of appreciation through a simple “Thank you.” keeps people going and it is sorely lacking in our culture these days.


If you are in a position of authority over people in any way shape or form, I would highly encourage you to demonstrate appreciation for their efforts. It's amazing how many more miles you will get out of a person whether that person is a friend or an employee or what-have-you. 


Demonstrate some appreciation and see how much better your interaction with that person becomes.


Friday, July 8, 2022

To Better Understand...

For those of us who are on the outside of addiction and looking in trying to better understand what it's all about, I have a few suggestions.

To better understand the nursing aspects of addiction, you could speak to an RN or a student nearing graduation with a nursing degree. They can explain to you much of the discomfort that is associated with the healing process, especially in the early stages thereof.


If you're interested in having a better understanding of what goes on in the brain, you could speak to a neurologist or a neurosurgeon, or a student advanced in their studies. This person could give you a reasonably clear understanding of what the patient’s brain is doing and how it's been damaged by the drug use and how it tricks the person into thinking one thing when reality is actually something else.


If you're wondering what addiction does to one's spirit, you could speak to a pastoral person of whatever spiritual persuasion is best for you. This person could give you a better understanding of the battle between the disease and the spirit.


If you're wondering how addiction affects the person on the social level and within the family, you could sit down with a social worker and learn about that aspect of this.


If you are wondering how addiction affects the person from a legal perspective, you could sit down with an attorney or a police officer and ask related questions. 


And here's the kicker to all of these suggestions…


You don't need to sit down with a currently working RN or neurologist or neurosurgeon or pastoral person or social worker or attorney or police officer. You can find several of each on the streets of Kensington and ask them about their professional insights as they live within the nightmare of the topic.


Their professional credentials may have been stripped from them due to their disease but they still have their professional insights.


I've had this privilege many times over almost 6 years. I've listened as these professionals explain their own addiction from their professional perspective and how much they despise the situation they're in. 


As our conversations conclude, each one goes back to doing what their disease tells them they must do. Some will go to their preferred street corner to be picked up by some random guy. Others will make their way to that store where they can easily steal something to sell on the streets. Others yet will stand in the street and ‘panhandle’ to raise funds.  Each of these persons will then buy the drugs that their body demands, and inject or otherwise consume them quickly.


It is not likely to be their professionalism that will help them find their way out of their personal nightmare.  That will only come when they choose to surrender to the healing process and claim victory over their disease. 


It is their professionalism that will give you insights into their situation of street-bound addiction like you have never had before. 



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

When God tells you to buy a Kit Kat bar, you should listen...

C. was one of the people I met the very first time I visited the people on the streets of Kensington. 5 1/2 years later, she's still out there doing her thing.

Kit Kat bars are her favorite of all candies. As I was pulling into Kensington today, I stopped at the Rite Aid on Aramingo Avenue to pick up a couple of things for myself. That still small voice told me to buy a Kit Kat bar because I would see C. on my way to church. I wrote it off as a silly thought, bought my stuff, and hopped in my car.

I drove down Kensington Avenue and there she was. I saw C. for the first time in quite some time. We chatted briefly. She said she needed a ride four blocks north and so she hopped in. During the ride, I told her how God told me to buy a Kit Kat bar for her and I didn't listen and now I was regretting it.

She gave her typical lite laugh and said something about the importance of listening to God.

It's funny how some of the most important lessons in Christian Life - that of actually listening to God when God speaks - can be had while cruising down Kensington Avenue.

Monday, May 30, 2022

An event in my recent past gave me flashbacks to my own childhood.

One of my loved ones who I met on the streets of Kensington decided to walk away from the care that they were receiving.   While his family and I did what we could to encourage him to stay and continue his care, he was absolutely determined to do otherwise. We did all that we knew to do and said all that we knew to say to convince him to stay and keep working toward renewed health. In the end, he walked away.

As I was leaving the situation, I started reminiscing about my own childhood and the day I decided to run away from home when I was about five years of age. My home at that point in life was a 15-acre property, that of an Episcopal church with a large parking lot. My dad was an Episcopal priest and my mom was a teacher specializing in private tutoring. 

I made it known that I was planning on running away from home. This was a storyline I had seen in a recent TV show and I related to it for some weird childhood reason. I told my parents what I was doing. They spoke to me briefly and said that since I wasn't happy I could do so. I packed my bag and walked down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. I remember looking back and waiting for them to come running after me.

No one did. 

I sat at the far end of the parking lot for a little while hoping that someone would come out and get me. After some amount of time, I walked back to the house and continued on with my day back with my family.

**********

As I compared these two storylines, I started wondering if the better approach to take when someone in the throes of addiction demanding to be fed should just be allowed to leave and not put up any fight at all. The difference, of course, is that the addiction demanding to be fed could easily kill the person whose rational side of thinking would actually prefer to be healed even though the addiction side of thinking is screaming louder at that moment.

The little child choosing to run away from home typically doesn't go far. They walk down the sidewalk, sit for a bit and come home.  The person in addiction running away from their healing may or may not ever come home and that's frightening.

Loved ones of the person running away from their healing are put in a terrible bind. If they simply let their loved one walk away without putting up any debate or argument and their loved one dies, they are left wondering what more they should have done. If they debate or argue to encourage them to stay and their loved one still leaves and dies, they're left wondering if they debated and argued the point too much.

The Civil War that goes on in the mind of the addicted person in this sense ends up being shared or transferred to the loved one. The loved one ends up having a Civil War in their own mind about what they should or should not have done. It’s a really tough place in which loved ones often find themselves… 

**********

Join the conversation:

I've created this anonymous survey for you to share your thoughts on this topic…

Sunday, May 22, 2022

I handed Jawn the card...

It's now Sunday evening. On Saturday morning I woke up with the very clear image of providing ministry handout cards to a certain man who is there far more than I am as he is picking up young ladies for his own sexual purposes. 

Regardless of the time of day that I am there doing my thing, he is there doing his thing.

I don't mean to be rude but this individual is truly disgusting to look at. The very thought of a young lady having to be sexual with him so as to gain funding for an addiction she would rather not have turns my stomach to the point of absolute nausea.

And yet, this past Saturday morning I had an image of sharing cards with him to hand out to the young ladies when they get in his car being that he is there actually far more than am I.

On one side of these cards is the statement,

I am an inspiration on human being. I am in made in the image of God. I am worthy of dignity and honor and respect and love.

As I was visiting on Saturday, this man pulled up on the opposite side of Kensington Avenue.  Very quickly one of the ladies who I've come to know got into his car. She was noticeably high from her drug use. He made a u-turn on Kensington Avenue and pulled over right next to where I was parked as I was doing my thing.  That in itself was a very unusual thing to happen. He and I have never actually spoken. 

He opened the passenger window and asked if the two of them could have two bananas and two bottles of water. I simply stated to him in a matter of fact kind of way that I could give her one banana and one bottle of water. He seemed content with that as she was almost unconscious in the passenger front seat.

I then told him that I had something for him to give to her when she woke up from her high. I handed him a few cards that stated as referenced above. With a weird sort of smile on his face he took them and said that he would read one to her.  And off he drove.

I did not see him today. This is the first day in weeks that I did not see him. Did he read the card and suddenly feel guilty? I sort of doubt that. But I did not see him today.

Maybe, just maybe, those words which he read in reference to the woman he was about to use for his own sexual purposes, may have touched his heart. I don't know. I guess in the days and weeks that follow, I will have a better understanding of what he felt from that.

This is one of many examples of profound ministry experiences that I have had on the streets of Kensington.  I wouldn't trade this for anything. 


Sunday, May 15, 2022

I opened the casket lid hoping to find her still alive and I did.

This is the nature of substance use disorder on the streets of Kensington among the people who are currently homeless.

She had been held up at gunpoint at the end of a 'date' earlier in the day. Tears filled her eyes as she tried to explain the total disgust that she feels for herself and her life on the streets of Kensington.

All of her family is not in touch with her due to death or incarceration or in choosing to look down on her as something not worth considering. She feels totally alone and she told me so quite clearly a matter of just a few hours ago.

A medical condition secondary to her drug use is consuming her body and she knows she needs immediate and probable inpatient care. I told her that I would take her to a certain hospital that is showing itself to be better than the others these days. But first, she had to go do her "get well" so as to be prepared for the hours ahead. And that was the end of her journey to actually getting well.

She did her drugs which one side of her brain demands she does in preparation for the other side of the brain fulfilling its task of seeking and receiving care. She crawled into the back seat of a car that belongs to a friend of hers. After a reasonable amount of time, I along with one other person from the streets gingerly opened the door of the car (which felt like we were opening a potential casket lid) to make sure our loved one was okay. And she was. She was breathing and that's all that counts in such a situation. We let her sleep.

Before you think that this young lady is something less than you because she's an "addict" who raises money as a prostitute, I do want you to know this. Her family home is within the rolling high society hills of Chester County. She is a good and fine and decent and wonderful woman who desperately wants out of this God-forsaken literal hell in which she spends her days.

I opened the casket hoping to find her still alive and I did.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

An overlooked aspect of harm reduction is to pre-arrange the transfer of homeless former inmates to an awaiting rehab, shelter, or subsidized housing.

Michael has been living on the streets of Kensington for several years.  He “boosts’ (shoplifts) to raise some of the funds that he needs for his drug addiction.  He’s actually far more reliant on his street girlfriend’s doing of dates to support his habit as she funds her own addiction. 


About three months ago, Michael was caught shoplifting and taken to the local jail.  It was also discovered that he had outstanding warrants for missing his probation appointments.  


As part of the intake process, he listed his home address as ‘homeless.’

Over the next three months, as he unintentionally detoxed and had time away from his drug use, a seed of rational thinking took root.  By the time he was discharged from jail, he had decided that he was done with drug use.  He had gained much of his physical health and was beaming with a new sense of life, the likes of which he’d not known in years.

It was on a Sunday that I saw Michael for the first time in those three months.  He explained how very done he was with his past lifestyle.  

He added a powerful exclamation point to his statements: 

“Jail was actually a blessing in disguise!”

I asked him why he was there, on the street, when he said that he was done with it all.

“I was discharged from jail on Friday night.  I hope to meet with the housing folks on Monday to get into a shelter or start looking for an apartment.”

In the meantime, for those approximate 72 hours, at least to some degree, he’s reliant on boosting and his girlfriend’s dates just to supply his basic food needs.

I saw him again this past Wednesday.  He was still living on the street, boosting a bit and relying on her as his primary source of income.  I asked how he was doing with staying away from his drug use…

“I’m dabbling a bit with it.”

**********

Michaela has been living on the streets of Kensington for several years.  She does dates to raise most of the funds that she needs for her drug addiction and for a large part of her street boyfriend’s addiction.  

About three months ago, Michaela was caught in a prostitution ‘sting operation’ and taken to the local jail.  It was also discovered that she had outstanding warrants for missing her probation appointments.  

As part of the intake process, she listed her home address as ‘homeless.’

Over the next three months, as she unintentionally detoxed and had time away from her drug use, a seed of rational thinking took root.  By the time she was discharged from jail, she had decided that she was done with drug use.  She had gained much of her physical health and was beaming with a new sense of life, the likes of which she’d not known in years.

It was on a Sunday that I saw Michaela for the first time in those three months.  She explained how very done she was with her past lifestyle.  

She added a powerful exclamation point to her statements: 

“Jail was actually a blessing in disguise!”

I asked her why she was there, on the street, when she said that she was done with it all.

“I was discharged from jail on Friday night.  I hope to meet with the housing folks on Monday to get into a shelter or start looking for an apartment.”

In the meantime, for those approximate 72 hours, at least to some degree, she’s reliant on doing dates just to supply her basic food needs and very possibly for the drug needs of her street boyfriend.

I saw Michaela again this past Wednesday.  She was still living on the street and doing dates for basic income. I asked how she was doing with staying away from her drug use…

“I’m dabbling a bit with it.”

**********

Michael and Michaela both experienced the growth of a seed of rational thinking that could have grown into a strong plant and led them to a new life. 

During those three months of incarceration, nothing had been done in regard to housing in preparation for their discharge.

And so the cycle of recidivism comes back to square one.  In fact, having been opioid-free for those 12 weeks, both are at higher risk of overdose and death since their bodies have reset to having no tolerance to these substances.

**********

In a very real way, those 12 weeks of jail time were equivalent to 12 weeks of hospital admission time.  Each patient entered fully addicted and left non-addicted.  

It’s not at all unusual for a hospitalized patient to be transferred to an extended care facility prior to going home.  This transfer process to an extended care facility is prepared for even as the person is in their active healing mode.

For both Michael and Michaela, it was a known fact that their home was in a state of homelessness.  How much better off would they be if their equivalent of extended care - shelter or subsidized housing or better yet, rehab - had been worked out prior to their discharge from jail?

While none of this can produce guaranteed results:

There would have been no more boosting and dating.

There would have been no more chance of overdosing.

There would have been the potential for eventual reunification with family and re-establishment of a healthy life.

There would have been the re-entering of two people into the workforce, contributing to society, paying taxes and so much more.

An overlooked aspect of harm reduction is to pre-arrange the transfer of homeless former inmates to an awaiting rehab, shelter, or subsidized housing.






Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Raped at Gunpoint in the Absence of Prompt, Dignity and Respect Filled Healthcare

I arrived at Huntington Station in Kensington this morning at about 10:30 a.m. I got out of my car and the first conversation I had was with a woman who approached me. She appeared very shaken. She told me that she had been raped at gunpoint earlier in the morning.

Why do we allow medical patients with substance use disorder to be raped at gunpoint instead of giving them prompt and dignity and respect filled care through the Medicaid healthcare system?

Monday, April 18, 2022

As the car pulled away, I could not help but realize the power play that had just transpired in front of me...

It was just after 3 p.m. on this Good Friday, a time when the Christian World acknowledges the death of Christ and his dead body's removal from the Cross. This moment of annual Historical remembrance was barely noticed by a soft-spoken and broken couple as he dipped and she napped while leaning against a wall at their typical location, the intersection of This and That. 

He had just injected his latest dose of medicine which his body demands. He was dipping out from its effect. She lay next to him exhausted from the never-ending requirement of doing ‘dates’ to fund their combined drug use.[1] 

As the dip and the nap came to a natural conclusion for each, she stood up next to him and rubbed his neck and they loved on each other the way a devoted couple does. She then put on some makeup in preparation for the man who would be picking her up for a weekend-long date for his own pleasures. 

And sure enough, a short time later, he pulled up and she hopped in his car.  As she did so, she didn’t look back at her long-time actual lover.  His back was turned away from her as she departed so as not to see her leave. 

As the car pulled away, I could not help but realize the power play that had just transpired in front of me.  It’s an unspoken monologue of the 'date' to the long-time lover of the lady who is trapped in the middle of this drama.  

"I'm going to have sex with your lady because I have the money and you have the addiction." 

The actual lover of the lady has no rebuttal available.  He's trapped.  As the woman of this[2] heterosexual couple, she's the breadwinner.  She raises the money by making herself available to any guy who will pay her for 'services.' 

Is "trapped" the right word for this situation?  

In their medically weakened and spiritually broken condition, can they endure the climb up "Medicaid Mountain" with its narrow cliff trails and absence of guard rails that would keep them from falling?   

Most people in such a condition can't make the climb up the mountain.  It's easier to stay on the known side of the mountain than it is to climb it in hopes of getting to the land of healing and renewed health. 

So, in that sense "trapped" is the right word. 

The medical and legislative powers that be must plow down Medicaid Mountain!  

To do so, every real and perceived obstacle that the patient claims is holding them back from starting the journey to healing must be identified and removed from the path.  While it's very true that the patient must do the work of their own healing, the medical community must make it possible for the patient to do so. 

All patients of any medical diagnosis have the right to decide when they will seek professional help toward healing.  When any Medicaid-reliant Substance Use Disorder patient finds that ready moment, they must not be required to climb a mountain before getting to the care they now want.

Plow down Medicaid Mountain and you will untrap this soft-spoken and currently broken couple.



[1] The total cost is 4 to $500 per 24-hour cycle

[2] Or any

Friday, March 25, 2022

I Hope So...


These hours between sunset and sunrise, Friday into Saturday have become a Sacred time in my world as of eleven weeks ago this night.  

Unwittingly, unwantingly, her spirit moved Home sometime in the quiet hours between dusk and dawn.  


Four weeks after that fateful night, these words in yellow came to me as if being spoken to me by a loved one.  I believe they were…  No… I know they were from her.


Anyone who knew my Earth departed and now Heaven-homed friend knew that she was an amazing, naturally gifted counselor.  Numerous times during the two years that we were in nearly daily communication, she would listen intently, question inquisitively and respectfully, share a thought, offer an idea, or make a suggestion that demonstrated her skills of counsel which were far beyond her years and academic level.  


Our world lost the opportunity of knowing this amazing counselor.


These words in yellow were on Wednesday’s song sheet that I shared with the people on the streets, quite a few of whom knew and loved my friend.  The spontaneous routine reaction from many of them as they read these words was:  “Oh! WOW!”


One woman took these words farther than the other folks who read the same thing.  She came back to me maybe half an hour later with a shake in her voice…


“I want to wake up tomorrow morning.  I’m going to detox today.”


She didn’t stay to talk about her idea.  She was on a mission.  She marched out of view and I didn’t see her again.


Did she go to a crisis center to be cleared for admission to a detox facility?  I hope so.  If she did go, did she stay long enough to be admitted or did she experience what another person I know experienced when she found her ‘ready moment’ and went to a crisis center for entry into detox?  Click here to read about that in her own words.


Did she get into detox or did she need to be medically cleared at an emergency room only to be told by an R.N. to “Get Out of My Emergency Room!” as was one of the DelCo Five?  


For as bad as that statement by an R.N. is, the worst statement I’ve ever heard was received by my friend days before she died: 


"We are discharging you because we need your bed for real patients.” 


Why would any medical professional say such a dreadful thing to a physically, emotionally, and spiritually fragile patient of an officially recognized medical diagnosis?


These words in yellow which were provided by one who wishes she had done something differently this evening eleven weeks ago and who didn’t want to die are her words of counsel offered to one and all who still have an opportunity to create a new path for life.


The reader of these words in yellow was ready to receive care?


Was the system for medical provision ready, willing, and able to provide the care?


I Hope So...



Thursday, March 24, 2022

“I moved home and had been on Methadone for two months. I didn’t do any opioids that whole time.”

In one of those moments that could have only been coordinated by God, I arrived a few minutes earlier than normal and parked where I normally do not.  I got out of my car and there she was.  Our mutual joy in seeing each other was spontaneous and overflowing.  We walked toward each other and hugged the hug of loved ones who had not seen each other in a long time.

I’d not seen her in a couple of months and was growing concerned that something had happened.  I had no way of knowing where to find her other than checking hospitals and jails.

As she beamed her delight for life in the midst of her challenges, she shared with me what she’d been doing during those missing months…


“I moved home and had been on Methadone for two months.  I didn’t do any opioids that whole time.”

I celebrated with her as did Tom and Jonathan, two men who join me on Wednesdays, and then delicately asked why she was there now…

“My dad threw me out of the house yesterday.  I had nowhere to go so I came back here where I know people.  My Methadone dose isn’t high enough and so I used opioids last night for the first time in two months and I overdosed.  (My friend here) saved me with Narcan.  That threw me into precipitated withdrawal and so I used a tiny bit more just to get over that and I overdosed again and (my friend) saved me again.”

I turned to her friend, a man I’ve come to know, and I thanked him for being there for her.  I gave him two more Narcan from my supply that had been given to me by the Medics on the Rapid Response vehicle.

She then added this…

“Prior to moving home and starting on Methadone, I was using about two bundles[1] every 24 hours.  I never overdosed.  I stopped using and started again with one packet last night and overdosed right away.”

“I wish you could have just stayed home,”  I added.

“Well, it’s better that I’m here.  My dad was touching me too much.”

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*****Stop reading and contemplate that statement!*****

From her understandable perspective, it’s better to live homeless doing opioids than it is to live at home.

**********

Our conversation continued for a bit and came to a natural close as she walked to the corner or “This and That Streets” so as to be picked up by some random guy who in our moments of conversation neither of us knew existed on this earth.  She was in his car within minutes.

For funding of her Medicine that she needs due to a too low dose of Methadone, her MAT medicine[2] that could save her life, she has little choice but to allow herself to be touched too much by a random guy and touch him in ways that no one should touch another except in the most intimate and committed of relationships.

If she overdoses again, will she survive?  If she survives and ends up in a local emergency room, will she be treated like a medical patient with Substance Use Disorder?

 

Dear Emergency Room Medical/Nursing/Support Staff,

If this dear soul which beams brightly even in the midst of her life's darkness should come before you in her time of crisis, please treat her as the inspirational human being made in the image of God worthy of dignity, honor, respect, and love who she absolutely is. 

Please do not be misguided if she comes to you malnourished, emaciated, and with the physical appearance of your grandmother.  Remember, she's in her twenties.

Please remember that within what you see with your eyes, there beats the young heart of a soul who wants to heal.  Her mind is in a civil war like no other civil war on this planet.  Please use your medical skills and your compassion that brought you into your chosen medical field to help her win her battle for her betterment.

Please do not allow any prejudices that may exist within you to provide anything less than excellent medical intervention for her.  Do not tell her to "Get out of my emergency room." as did one RN to another of my loved ones.  Do not tell her that you're discharging her because "We need your bed for real patients" as someone did to yet another loved one on January 3  of this year.  That one died four days later.

Please use your medical/nursing/support skills as best as is possible to connect with her and to encourage her to stay the course and stay focused on the healing that can be found.  She needs you to be her strength and guide and all mechanism of artillery to win her civil war.

In the belief that you will do so,

Chris


[1] That's 32 bags of heroin/fentanyl at $5.00 per bag totaling $160.00 per day requiring 5 to 10 'dates' per 24 hour cycle to have the money.

[2] Medication-Assisted Treatment - An officially recognized method of treatment for Substance Use Disorder patients