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, 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.”


*****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,


[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

Friday, March 11, 2022

Saturday, March 5, 2022

"When he was finally done..."

 "When he was finally done..." 

In the context of this blog, these are not the words of a young mother waiting for her juvenile son to finish his broccoli at the family dinner table. 

These are the words of a woman who is the same age as that young mother and who is waiting for some until very recently unknown man to finish thrusting himself inside of her in the midst of a rape or a casually agreed to encounter in the back of a pickup truck or back alley on the streets of Kensington.

She agreed to get into his vehicle with the intent of providing some lesser degree of sexual service in exchange for funding for her next supply of drugs. She has no actual interest in him nor does he for her.

She needs his money to buy the drugs that are required in the midst of her addiction that she would rather not have and he needs, well, whatever it is that he needs. 

He robs her of dignity and respect in exchange for what he needs and he provides funds for what she needs.

In the past two weeks, I've heard two women make that simple statement...

"When he was finally done..."

The first of these statements came from a woman who lived for a time so close to my childhood home that I consider her my closest actual neighbor on those streets of my younger years.

The second woman to make this statement to me happened earlier today. She's one of the original Delco 5. You've already met her in at least one previous blog. I had to Narcan her a couple of years ago.  She was taken by ambulance to Episcopal hospital where the registered nurse told her:

"Get out of my emergency room!" 

This young woman was violently raped about 3 days ago and still bears the physical scars and emotional scars.

Both of these women have had their encounters with medical professionals within the realm of Medicaid who could have guided them onto a new and healthier path. In the case of the latter, the registered nurse simply said...

"Get out of my emergency room!" 

Each and every time that a medical professional fails to provide dignity and respect-filled service in a prompt way to these men and women on the streets of Kensington, they are opening the door to further physical and emotional, and spiritual deterioration and injury.

It is way beyond time for the issues of neglect and abuse and malpractice to be addressed so as to bring substance use disorder patients back to the healing that is so desperately wanted and needed who are currently homeless and residents on the streets of Kensington.