Thursday, November 25, 2010

Be ye thankful...

Today I'm especially grateful for the things I usually take for granted. I would love to have new flooring in my house, but Larry (a patient) lives in a tent in some woods just off a major thoroughfare near the clinic. His campsite has been ransacked on several occasions and anything of any value whatsever was stolen. When he leaves his home (the campsite), he has to carry everything with him. Larry suffers from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and some days it is a major accomplishment for him just to breathe effectively. It would be difficult enough for him to move himself from point A to point B. It is extremely difficult for him to carry himself and his belongings. Larry has no car, no bicycle, no money. I worry about him, especially with winter coming on. How will he stay warm enough? Will he be able to stave off pneumonia? I'm concerned that he might not make it through the winter. Larry is one year younger than I.

I am thankful for the warm, secure house in which I live.

Today (and indeed all weekend) I will eat too much. The last patient I saw on Tuesday reported that she and her family do not have food for the rest of the week. She has uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, and not having the proper foods can send her into a diabetic crisis that could result in death. Also, there is a 9 month old child in the household who appears thin and undernourished for her age. None of those chubby cheeks and pinchable rolls on this little girl. This is not atypical for the population our clinic serves. The need is so great, and the resources are so few.

I am thankful for the plentiful, nutritious food I enjoy every day.

Many of the patients we serve are all alone. They have no family, and their only friends are the ones they make while living in the homeless shelter. These are tenuous and transient relationships at best. Unfortunately, the shelter only houses them for a period of six weeks; after that, they are back on the streets. If they are lucky, they might get a campsite where Larry lives. Many of these patients have been abandoned by their families because the families are unable or unwilling to cope with the patients' lifestyle choices and/or mental illness.

I am thankful for a loving family. Each, most, some (sorry Bragger, I don't know how to do the strikethrough) of them is/are supportive, and I know that if I faced trouble I could count on them (individually and collectively).

I am thankful for the clothes I have and the washer and dryer I use to keep them clean. How do you keep clean when you are homeless or living in a shelter? I am thankful for the shoes on my feet (where else would they be?). Many of our patients must wear whatever shoes are given to them, and I've seen the blisters and foot ulcers to prove it.

I am thankful for the car I drive (when it's working!) and that I don't have to try to navigate a bewildering (for me) bus system. (Some of our patients spend 3 hours or more on the bus just to get to the clinic).

I am thankful that I live in the United States of America and that I have the freedom that Americans enjoy. I am thankful for all our military and law enforcement personnel who help to insure that our freedoms continue. Thank you, Sweet Girl!

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

  1. You make me cry! I love you, and I'm grateful for you!