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I pulled up to just a bit south of the intersection of 'This and That Streets.' On this day, I had my usual water, bananas, and song sheets. I also had apple sauce and fruit cocktails in single-serving containers thanks to "Loaves of Love."
As I glanced toward the intersection, I saw 'Susan' standing and waiting for an as of yet unknown guy to pick her up to 'do a date.' I organized each of my items for her into an earth-friendly vanilla-scented plastic bag and walked over to her. Two seconds earlier, a white minivan with Delaware tags pulled down 'That Street.' Susan walked toward the passenger side. As she did so, I called out to her from about 20 feet away and asked her if I could give her the bag. With a smile of appreciation, she said she would be right back and to hold it for her if I was willing. She hopped in that white minivan with Delaware tags and off they went.
True to her word, a few minutes later, she hopped out of that white minivan with Delaware tags at the corner of 'This and Another That Streets' one block south. She slipped her new money into her pocket as she walked toward me. I gave her the bag as the guy drove off in his white minivan with Delaware tags.
As I gave her the bag, with all the casualness of a morning conversation over coffee, 'Susan' started talking about the hazards of 'doing dates' and life on the streets in general. The details she shared were frightening. I asked her if the high that she gets from the drugs is so good that it makes the hazards somehow worth it.
"Absolutely Not!" She declared. "I rarely get high anymore." She added.
"So what keeps you doing this?" I asked.
Her answer was amazingly simple.
"It's the disease itself."
Now hold that thought for a bit…
The very next day, I parked right at the intersection of 'This and That Streets.' 'Susan' was standing there waiting for yet another as of yet unknown guy to pick her up to 'do a date.' We greeted each other as I handed her another banana, water, and song sheet. I thanked her for sharing her thoughts with me the day before. I told her that I found her answer "It's the disease itself." to be so to the point and profound.
I then asked her how she handles the risks to herself when dealing with potentially dangerous men while 'doing dates.'
Again, her answer caught my attention and it should you as well…
"My husband watches me as I get into each car. He writes down the car description and license plate. If I come up missing, he'll at least have that information to share with authorities."
Did you read that? "My husband watches me as I get into each car…"
What other disease requires its sufferers to 'do dates' and, in the case of a married couple, engage in open adultery while the other spouse is forced to watch her leave and take notes regarding the car in which the act of adultery will take place?
'Susan' recognizes that she has a disease.
The disease is not making this requirement of its sufferers!
When will the powers that be within the realm of Medicaid-based health care recognize these people as having a disease and begin to treat them as patients with the dignity and respect that they deserve and do so in a prompt manner?