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  • Sara Martin

Richard's Story

Updated: Jan 16


White male wearing dark blue Puma hoodie, with a green and yellow A's hat on, sitting in his wheelchair.
Richard in the Sun

Richard is a kind, optimistic man who moved to Redding, CA from Northern Idaho in 2019 to build a healthier life for himself and his children. Richard had lost the lower half of his left leg in June 2016 after an attempted suicide. He first entered the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program in December 2020 with lesions on his residual limb from the friction of walking around amid Redding’s infamous summer heat. Unfortunately, sores of this nature are frequently recurrent and often become infected with excessive prosthetic use, improper fitting, and a lack of wound care.


Richard said he was working with the social security office before but having an entire team advocating for his needs was invaluable. In his first four weeks off the street, Richard was able to sign up for Cal Fresh, apply for apartments, and begin his treatment at the methadone clinic. As someone who struggles with depression, Richard emphasized the importance of having frequent check-ups from the respite staff, which eased the feelings of isolation during his time in Medical Respite.

After discharging from the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program in January 2020, Richard tried to make do with what he had. With his resources being limited, Richard was unable to keep the sores clean. Within a few weeks, Richard was again hospitalized with new infections which had spread to the bone. After a month in the hospital on antibiotics, Richard was readmitted to the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite program in March 2021 for continued care.

Renewed with an unyielding determination to avoid returning to a life of unstable housing, and inevitably repeating the same cycle, Richard returned with firm goals in mind and a strong will to get his life on track. From the day of his intake, Richard was fully engaged, working diligently with the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program Case Manager, Sarah Till, to complete the necessary forms for permanent housing, collect crucial documents like his California ID and birth certificate, and sign up for mental health services.

“If I were out there, using and homeless, I never would have been able to get these things done”. - Richard

Richard was even able to build a few positive relationships during his time in medical respite with others who provided positive influences and encouragement. In his down time between appointments, Richard studied positive-thinking and how to manifest success. He explained that utilizing positive affirmations enabled him to push through hard times and believe in his ability to achieve his goals; it is not a matter of “if” but “when”.

After discharging from the SCHC HOPE Medical Respite Program, Richard transferred to SCHC's Whole Person Care for case management and transition into permanent housing. At that point in time, the last items on Richard’s to-do list were to order an electric wheelchair and be fitted for a new prosthetic leg, which he has now accomplished. This equipment allows him to travel through town safely and efficiently, streamlining daily tasks and promoting self-sufficiency. Hopefully, this will allow him to take better care of his body and prevent his leg wounds from reopening and re-infecting, further reinforcing his independent lifestyle.

Richard expressed gratitude to the Pathways to Housing team, SCHC, and volunteers in handling all requests “with swiftness and tact”. Richard also boasted about Dr. Kyle Patton and John Lord, RN at Shasta Community Health Center, affirming that they are “on top of it”. Despite feeling nervous about life after medical respite, Richard remains hopeful about the future. He says that, even though losing his leg was traumatic, he is thankful that he found this program when he did. Richard reports feeling more “clear headed” with a few months of sobriety under his belt and is optimistic about living a clean and healthy life.


 

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