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.

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Yesterday was quite a day.

Having discovered the night before that two of the ladies[1], I've come to know from Emerald City were back in jail at Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF), I decided to visit.  Both of these ladies are people I visited last summer in the same place.  Both told me at that time with total honesty and intellectual belief that they were done with their street lives and were ready to move on in healthy ways.  One of them went back to the streets right away[2] and one maintained a drug-free life for several months of living in a recovery community before being called back by her Entity Named "Addict"[3] who had been lying dormant during those drug-free months.

I sat with each lady yesterday, one at a time and listened as they shared their stories of why they were arrested this time.[4]  Each one shared with me the same outcome.  They will not be leaving RCF until a recovery program has been found for them.  They will not be released into the night to fend for themselves as has been the pathetic and irresponsible way of RCF doing things in the past.  The judge for one of these ladies told her in her recent hearing that he did not want to release her to the night only to hear that she had overdosed after release.  He wants to do everything he can from his legal position to save her life.  This young lady really appreciates that judge's kindness and caring of her as a human being even though it means staying in RCF longer than she may do otherwise.

Both of these ladies have asked me to send them specific books which I can do as long as they are purchased through and sent directly to them by Amazon.  If you would like to sponsor these books for these ladies, please contact me for details.

Before these two visits were over, one other lady from Emerald City came into the visitation room for an appointment with her public defender.  I had a chance to chat with her briefly as well. 

All three of these women, these daughters and for two of them, these moms, are in prison for issues that have all of their roots planted in the fertile soil of Substance Use Disorder.  They know that by being in jail, they are safe from the streets, from "Addicts" decisions for them, warm and have a place to sleep.  All three rely on Medicaid for their health care expenses.

Yesterday was quite a day. 

I arrived at work for my 3-11 shift at Recovery Centers of America (RCA) where I serve as a driver.  There were two admissions scheduled for my shift.  Before I clocked out at 11:30pm, I had brought in four new admissions.  Each one of them had been living with their personal form of Substance Use Disorder for years.  Each one of them was under the influence of their substance of choice when I picked them up in RCA's brand new fully loaded Ford Explorer.  Each one, to varying degrees, shared with me their stories of how they started using these various substances.  As with the ladies from Emerald City, each one had experienced some substance-free time in their lives before their Entity Named "Addict" came calling.

All Seven of these people have families who love them in their role as son or daughter and/or Mom or Dad. 

All four of these people, upon arrival at RCA, realized, if they didn't already, that would be safe from "Addict's" decisions and warm and have a five-star place to sleep.  These four rely on private insurance for their health care expenses.

RCA's mission is to treat 1,000,000 people for their individual Substance Use Disorders.  They do so in an environment and setting that demonstrates dignity and respect.  As I've come to know RCA better over these months, I've come to know a place that is overflowing with compassion for and dedication to the people they serve. 

RCA is providing a level of health care that all people should receive.  They do so in a setting that shows "patients" that they are worthy of dignity and respect.  From the building with its well-decorated halls with inspiring quotes and spacious rooms plus the food that is prepared by the chefs on staff[5], the men and women who come to RCA realize or are reminded that they are worthy of a better life than what they may have been experiencing for years. 

Meanwhile, the men and women of the streets of Kensington, most of whom rely on Medicaid and who are equally worthy of dignity and respect, are rarely, if ever shown this dignity and respect by their health care providers.

RCA is doing nothing wrong by providing excellent care in an inspiring setting to patients with private insurance.  Excellent care, care that inspires the patient dealing with Substance Use Disorder should be "over the top" for lack of a better phrase, for them to realize that they are worthy. 

This level of care does cost more than what Medicaid reimbursement provides.  That does not mean that places that serve more Medicaid patients than private insurance patients should get away with housing their health care in environments that are only a tiny bit better than the street life from which many of their patients reside. 

As a reminder, in "A Tale of Addiction, One Set of Fraternal Twins And Two Sets of Simulated Hardwood Floors" I wrote a story, based on actual experiences, that compares and contrasts these two styles of health care provision for people dealing with Substance Use Disorder.  If you have a moment, I encourage you to read that story so as to fully understand my closing thoughts….

Closing Thoughts

Regardless of one's level or quality of medical insurance, all people are worthy of the highest dignity, honor, respect, and love.  I hope and pray that, from whatever seat you sit as you read this, you will find a way to level the playing field so that all people can receive honorable health care for their Substance Use Disorder in the days and years to come.

PS: For every seven seconds[6] that you spent reading this blog, a set of loved ones across the USA - Moms and Dads and immediate families and close friends - lost their significant other to overdose.  These seven seconds do not take into consideration the women murdered on "dates" nor any of the deaths that occur secondary to Substance Use Disorder.

[1] both of whom have family in Delaware County and both I have written about previously under their blog names
[2] She maintained a heroin-free life.  She told me this with pride and a smile each time I saw her.
[3] This blog is more parable than scientific or medical fact.
[4] Neither had been picked up by police for what you might expect: "Dating"  Both were brought in for situations far less serious than that.
[5] With the exception of that eggplant dinner a couple weeks ago…  I could have lived without that… J
[6] Based on 2017 statistics (the most recent numbers currently available)

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