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  • Sara Martin

John's Story


White male, middle aged, with short blonde and grey hair and goatee beard. He is sitting in a chair outside of a large window with the curtains closed. The wall behind him is yellow and the doorway is dark. He is wearing a red long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves scrunched up above the elbows. His jeans are dark blue and spotted with dirt. He is missing half of his right index finger.
John, the Stoic

John is a spirited man on the verge of his golden years who says he is “coming back from being lost”. After separating from his wife two and a half years ago, John found himself without anywhere to go. When asked how that felt, John stated that he considered his circumstances to be a consequence of his own choices. When he first became homeless, he thought “I like hiking and camping, this will be fun.” However, John quickly came to realize that camping in a tent and living in one are two entirely different worlds. Not much time passed before he had lost sight of hope and succumbed to this new way of life. He eventually turned to heroine to ease his pain after his first year on the streets.


While dealing with an infection on his right index finger, John received plenty of sympathy at the camps. However, everyone had their own issues to deal with and no time or resources to spare to help him navigate life while keeping his wound clean. After a few trips to the hospital, it was determined that John had contracted an infection down to the bone. John was presented with two options: six-weeks of intravenous antibiotics or amputate the finger. Being the bold character he is, John decided to go with the latter and was back at his camp within a few days. All was going well until he crashed his bike and split his finger open upon impact. John had almost given up on doctors but was thankful when Shasta Community Health Center’s Dr. Patton was called out to the camp to conduct a medical assessment and quickly referred John for a stay with the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program.

John was provided a clean place to heal as well as ongoing medical care and case management. It took John a while to acclimate to life indoors before he was able to let go of his “street attitude” and embrace truly living versus surviving. Eventually, he was able to see that change is not always bad; change can mean growth and growth is good. John believed that if it were not for the team giving him direction and goals to accomplish, he would have just waited out the for four weeks and went right back to where he was. A lot of people have a difficult time knowing where to go, who to talk to, or what forms to fill out. Having a case manager guide you through the process can make all the difference.

After watching the Pathways to Housing and Shasta Community Health Center teams show up for him time and time again, John decided to start showing up for himself too. He began Suboxone treatment during his respite stay and transferred to the Visions of the Cross drug and alcohol residential treatment program. Like many of our clients, John was thankful to have had support in starting his new life.


When asked what he would like to share with future clients, John declared, “if they are lucky enough to have you come into their life, they better just be honest."
If they want to change, I hope they realize they can trust you to lead them in the right direction.” - John

 

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