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  • Sara Martin

Brandi's Story

A silver keychain with heart-shaped clasp lying on dark brown wood. The beads alternate between shimmery green and pink as well as pink flower blossoms.
Keychain by Brandi

Brandi is a hopeful, creative woman full of new-found life and determination. After six weeks in the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program, Brandi was able to recover from a series of illnesses, all while embarking on the road to recovery from drug addiction. Before admitting to medical respite, Brandi had been experiencing chest pain for a week, ultimately finding herself stuck behind a restaurant, too weak to even lift her head. After three days of deteriorating, someone finally called an ambulance for her. The hospital concluded she had pneumonia, a lung abscess, and fluid around her heart, all while suffering a heart attack.

Two chest tubes later, Brandi could finally breathe again, however, she was still in critical condition. After Brandi was released back onto the streets, Shasta Community Health Center’s Dr. Patton found her severely decompensating at her camp during one of his outreach expeditions. He knew she would not make it long without serious medical intervention in a safe and clean environment, so he advised her to enter medical respite while she regained her strength. She explained, “I was in so much pain that any time I woke up, I wished I could just get high and go back to sleep”. If the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program had not been available, Brandi would have continued shuffling between camps, further exacerbating her condition.

Brandi affirmed that her recovery in the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program was exponentially better than previous experiences she has had recuperating on the street. Initially, she was scared to death. However, once she learned to trust the SCHC and Pathways teams, something clicked, and Brandi flourished. She went from being isolated, sad, and afraid to someone who takes daily walks, chats up the neighbors, and wears a smile on her face. She occupied her free time by crafting handmade jewelry and even started selling it for extra income. Brandi was especially grateful to have the support of the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program Case Manager, Sarah Till, who kept her motivated to complete her paperwork and Social Security Disability Insurance interviews through her withdrawal period.

“I would have never gotten everything done if it was left up to me alone, given the state I was in.” - Brandi

Brandi realized her medical conditions, along with drug addiction, were taking a toll on her body. She decided early on to take advantage of her time in medical respite and started addiction treatment right away. Once she began Suboxone therapy, she was able to gain a promising outlook in life and maintain her sobriety. At the end of her stay, Brandi was transferred to SCHC's Whole Person Care for additional case management and connection to housing. She reported feeling “nervous but excited,” for the next chapter in her life, “like a kid waiting for Christmas”. She was relieved to have secured a spot in a residential Drug and Alcohol Recovery Treatment program, despite the uncertainty of exactly where her placement will lead her. She declared that her time in the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program was amazing; her only regret being that she did not reach out for help sooner.


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