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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Friday, September 27, 2019

A Cast Now or Surgery Later

A couple of years ago, "Cecile" came up to me in Emerald City and shared with me how he had pulled someone out of the path of an out of control motorcycle.  The person was fine but he now had a broken arm. 

People on the streets do everything possible to avoid going to the E.R.[1]  Cecile had put a splint of his own making on his arm.  His arm was completely useless for a couple weeks as he tried to bring healing to it without professional care.  In time, his arm "healed" but had a noticeable bend in it.  He was told by a doctor who visited Emerald City that the day would come when surgery would be needed to correct the improperly healed break that could have been dealt with early on if proper care had just been provided when it was needed.

Melanie and Natalie are sitting in jail cells at RCF[2] as I write this blog.  Both ladies have been there for three to four months.  They have both detoxed from their "medicine" and have been in a holding pattern, living in a cell that can better be described as an oversized toilet stall with cots.  They have received no counseling nor therapy for their Substance Use Disorder issues. 

Their "broken arm" has been the addiction/homeless phase of their Substance Use Disorder.  Their time in a homemade splint has been these past months as they have sat waiting for the legal system to find them a medical bed in a facility to provide the care - the cast - that they should have had months ago.

As they sit and wait, they think.  They climb inside their own heads, talk to others who are in this similar holding pattern and develop their own -  largely unguided - understanding of what happened to get them where they are today and how they might correct their path.  In the absence of the placement of a proper cast at the time of injury, their soul may heal but with a bend that will require "surgery" since healing was not provided at the time of the injury.

Would it not be better for these ladies, - who represent thousands of other men and women in this same situation - if we as a society had the mechanisms firmly in place to provide the cast when it's needed and not wait to provide the surgery long after the injury? 

[1] Mostly because they have come to know that most E.R.s treat them as something less than human.
[2] Riverside Correctional Facility

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