I never asked him his name, so I’ll call him “Mac” because he was sitting in a booth at McDonald’s on a Wednesday night, sleeping. He woke up and I asked him if he had eaten. He shook his head “no” and said he had to wait for a while because of his medicines. He held up a gallon zipper locked plastic bag full of prescription medicines. Mac’s face was blotchy, his hands puffy, and he said his legs were swollen.
Mac said he was diabetic. He had problems with his circulation. He could only get up off the ground by crawling on his hands and knees. He couldn’t see the print on his prescription bottles, but someone had marked them for him so he could tell what they were. He said he had a glucometer for his blood sugar checking but couldn’t use it, He couldn’t read the directions for it. He questioned why if “they” can treat so many things, couldn’t they find a way to fix the swelling in his legs? He had tears in his eyes.
Mac sleeps in a tent behind the McDonald’s. Alone. He doesn’t drink, and the only drugs he takes are his prescriptions. Healthcare professionals do screen patients when they come into the system, but I have to wonder if the screening system missed asking where does Mac live, and can he see to read? Teaching glucometer use could have been done easily by someone before Mac left with it-simply asking can you use this? would be helpful to Mac as he tearfully tells me about how sick he is. He said he has 20 days until he gets his next check. He had no money. I gave him enough to so he could get food later to work with his medication schedule and in the morning.
What happens with homeless and long term illnesses? Could there be some kind of service, a mission that would go out and work with these people so that they are not in and out of a hospital because they don’t understand their care? Jesus teaches us to care for the sick, care for the poor, care for each other. There is a definite gap and need for Christian medical care. There are folks with injuries and illnesses who are not being served or cared for when they need it. Surely there’s some way to fix this?