(Originally posted Feb 23rd of this year)
Five years ago today, I was probably in the throes of trying to find where I would stay next. As roommates go, mine had taken exception to the thought I had become suddenly and inexplicably unwell. With barely enough funding to last out the month, along with enough to keep me sheltered but one month more, I had become forceably destitute.
What a humbling experience this was! For my education (curtailed while another health issue might be resolved) had hardly prepared me for what would follow. I felt completely outgunned. The choices left me were either so heinous or else undoable, it drove me to despair.
By this time, I still had no idea of what had forced me into more than one emergency hospital visit. As nobody seemed certain what was ailing me, I kept having to undergo the various tests that would later become burdensome financially as well as downgrading to the economy I was then to be obliged to keep toward survival.
At last, the day arrived when I must pack to move. Having been a member of the home healthcare community, staying where needed, there wasn't much to pack, thankfully. I did have help, if briefly. Funny how some people feel put upon when asked for help in such a manner. Meanwhile, I had no idea just how far I could expect my steps to carry me for the day. Everything was too new or unsettling. I found it really revolting to have to try for myself in such a manner, when all this body wanted was for rest to resume and then continue.
My next place took me into the kind of vile situation nightmares consist of. Imagine one of the worst places to put a sick woman, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what this was all about. Those in charge seemed less inclined to help the as yet unknowable condition I was in than they were hasty to protect the interests of one client. This was a temporary position, a highly unlikeable spot, and yet I felt obliged to accept it and all its flaws as tho' I'd been saved from a fate worse than death. In a manner of speaking, this was true. For who would choose homelessness over someone's filthy home life? Take it or leave it. In other words, what choices are there for the single woman with neither health care proper to her condition nor the financial base to restructure a life?
I was soon to settle in with an older fellow consigned to wheelchair life since his very bad accident in youth. He was a very unsavory character whose behavior had to be monitored closely by the members of the medical establishment assigned to his case. Hardbitten, and somewhat bad tempered, he spent his days mostly in front of his TV, hardly divulging a word of what he must be experiencing. His surly attitude I found hard to live with, and his plans for me became clear that first week when I returned from a necessary errand to find my own room was broken into. The path was blocked for his progress by the few pieces of furniture I had brought with me. He found this insensitive to what he perceived to be his right to enter my private world at will. Consequently, a good piece of furniture was badly scratched by the hub of one wheel of his chair.
Welcome to your new space. How about one more worry?
My adventures there would last very nearly a year.
I have just been informed of the sad conclusion for this former fellow sufferer-cum-roommate.
He had to be placed in special care recently owing to a health problem that couldn't be resolved.
This is the end of his life.
He will never be free to roam the streets again at will, never be considered his own man with choices for his own schedule.
I doubt I'll ever see him again.
My eyes cloud with tears at the thought this will finish him; if anything could, this would be the one thing he won't be able to kick.
Despite his odd and inflammatory ways, his was a disturbed soul, and this I knew. Animals get better treatment than some of our people do. He is no exception.
Sadness doesn't even begin to describe this feeling.
I feel deflated, sure that's what he had to feel when the ruling was made against his having an independent life at all anymore.
And I have a deeply troubling doubt about what others may or may not be able to defend for him.
I feel so desolate for the poor fellow, it just hits me like a sledgehammer.
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