Sometimes it gets difficult

Missy called…Hard Hat Joe called her. An ambulance came and took Homer to the hospital. No other details! When one of our homeless men get sick and end up in the hospital it gets really complicated. We have no idea which hospital, when they went, why they went, who called the ambulance…nothing! Homers been taken to the emergency room from under the bridge. (His camp) <period>

Thank God for Missy…she has every local hospital phone number in her phone. She really knows them by heart and without asking I already know she is on the hunt to find out which hospital Homer was taken to. Next call to me… nobody has Homer. AGAIN, nothing is simple. Maybe Hard Hat Joe thought Homer was taken to the hospital. Hard Hat usually doesn’t even stay at Homers camp so how did he find out? Was Hard Hat drunk when he called? Questions… Missy and I decided to wait until morning to try the hospitals again. IF… Homer went to one then maybe he just hadn’t been processed through yet.

7:30 Am I am about to head out the door to go to Homers camp and Missy called. Homer is at the Medical Center emergency. By 8 AM we are in the Emergency room looking at a very filthy Homer unable to stay awake. Some of the staff are nice to us while others walk in and out of his room looking at us with this look to say…”Why are you here for “that?” Indicating Homer wouldn’t really be worth anyones trouble to see about. Not that I am saying his looks were rather unbearable to a degree. The smell? Well that is a totally different story. It wasn’t unbearable… it made me gag!

Homer began receiving his SSI check about 10 months ago. 1,200 dollars to be exact. For a homeless alcoholic that is a loaded pistol aimed at his heart. For 10 months solid Homer has eaten very little and stayed totally intoxicated 24/7. He has surrendered to his 4 by 8 spot under the bridge and as far as I know he has gone to take a shower at the shower program for the homeless  “MAYBE” 3 times… As Homer would often say<<<< “Not too good….>>>>

The pictures I have posted on this blog of Homer were the last ones I took about 4 weeks ago. His feet were caked in mud as well as his fingers. He had used the bathroom in his pants, no telling how many times. His hair and beard have never been this long. I told him on this day that he looked like a wild man. He would scare anyone… Homer just laughed and popped open another beer. I told him he was killing himself and his laughter silenced. We all became silent. His only response was, “that’s what I am doing isn’t it?” What could I say…He is on a suicide march and has been for months. Slowly we have watched him die. One pop after another. “Yes Homer, That is what you are doing…”

In the emergency room I found a small bag. In it were the only things Homer owned in the entire world. His Debt card…We had to find his Social Security Debt card. Many know his pin number from making beer runs for him and of course a few for themselves for being the “runner”>>> Part of the deal on the streets… Homer kept it in his pants pocket at all times.

OH he has been had by many. Every homeless man that stays within 3 miles of Homers camp knows our friend gets money every month. So needless to say he has many “friends” and many of these friends have taken him for several hundreds. When he figures it out he always threw them out of the camp. One day I asked him why he thought he owned that section of dirt under the bridge. I mean, he held power under there. The men would actually get their things and move out if they were caught stealing his beer or money. Homer was furious but I asked him once why? I explained that he needed to remember that stealing was the way of the streets. I went on to remind him that they are all addicts and addicts do whatever…to get their addiction satisfied. Stealing? Top on the list! It did me no good to talk. He still became furious and he kept throwing men out of the camp. Every time I visited I would count bed rolls and ask who was left! He would answer and it always was the same reason… They took a beer without asking. When you get drunk you do get sloppy with your stealing.

I opened his small bag and the smell that hit me made me gag. I told Missy that I needed to do this outside where I had more air. We borrowed some Blue Plastic Gloves from the emergency room and opened the bag next to the car in the parking lot. Homer is left in this life at 62 a pair of blue jeans that no longer were fit for washing… a pair of white, well black socks. A belt that had no buckle and a photo I.D. card in the pocket that should have had his Debt card as well. We saved the I.D. card and the rest of what our friend owned went into the trash! I felt sad.

We went to his camp to get some answers… Rodney and Pete were the only two there and I strongly said I wanted Homers card. Both of these men are very “street”… They will lie and steal. They also will put a knife in you in a heartbeat! What I have on my side is “WE” are “Church” ladies. The 7 plus years we have worked with the homeless— them and us,, have established respect. Respect is one thing, it keeps us safe. Telling us the truth? Rodney and Pete??? Not so sure when they said they didn’t have it. 

They suggested that the street whore has it. She was the last one drinking with Homer before he got sick. GREAT!!!! I have to now find a street whore that I have only heard about, to be told, “I don’t have it!”  Scratch that… I don’t have the time to play the game…Word swept the street fast however. Jake ran into Missy a few days later and knew someone??? was hunting for Homers card. He knew the street whore supposedly has it and she was hanging around Johnny! Johnny was one of those Homer kicked out from under his personal bridge and I think I know where Johnny is staying but again, I don’t have the time to hear “I don’t have it!” Chalk it up as a loss for now and let them enjoy another mans wealth but in time all of that will work itself out.

Here is the deal… The one thing my buddy Homer greatly feared has possibly come upon him. He never wanted to end up like Mouthwash Joe. Joe had a stroke, laid 3 days behind a building and lived the remainder of his time a very miserable cripple in his right mind but unable to speak, eat, drink and walk. Homer “feared” this.

Homer is not crippled and can talk but there is a serious problem. He is extremely confused. He has no idea who we are or where he is. The nurse explained it to us because Homer was awake and he agreed that it was alright for her to discuss what was happening to him with us. Truth is…Homer has no idea what he agreed to but we and the nurse took advantage of the opportunity to find out details. Usually the medical staff can tell us nothing! (NOT family)

He has had no stroke and they think maybe his electrolytes are off which is why he is confused. Only problem? Every day we visit, Homer seems worse…

So we continue to visit and pray. Pray? How. That Homer gets better so he can go back under the bridge and drink more? I only know one way to pray tonight… Father… Your will be done. Amen

I went to walk out of the camp this day and turned around one last time and took this picture of Homer.


One Response to “Sometimes it gets difficult”

  1. I’ll be praying that things get better as Homer gets the help he needs AND that you find his card. There’s not much else that can be done right now. ((Hugs)) to you and Missy.

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