Always on time, Anthony was waiting for me outside the Starbucks at 22nd and K. Wearing his black and gold Steelers hat and matching backpack, he greeted me with a giant bearhug. We stepped inside, grabbed a coffee and took over a table in the corner. We had about 40 minutes until he needed to be at his doctor’s appointment.
We made two bets. The first one was whether he weighed more or less than the last time he and I went to see his doctor which was last July. If he weighed less than his previous 276 pound weigh-in I would pay him a dollar. If he was more, he owed me a dollar. The second bet was about smoking. Anthony had quit for about a month, but admitted this morning that he had started up again. I bet him that the doctor would tell him that the number one thing he could to positively affect his health was to quit smoking.
Overall the doctor said Anthony was doing ok. His blood pressure was high, then again it always is, but his other lab work looked ok. Except for his sugar. Anthony has been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. He’s been on medicine now for two weeks and is working on avoiding foods that spike his sugar levels.
As we walked out we both had the same amount of money as we did when we walked in. Anthony had lost weight – he was down to 263 pounds. But the doctor in fact did tell him that quitting smoking would have the largest positive impact on his health.
We made another bet for his check-up in August. If Antony loses 8 pounds to reach 255 pounds, I will pay him $2. If he’s above 255 he owes me $2. But, I wanted to make it a little more interesting. I agreed that if he loses 15 pounds by the August check-up, then I’ll make it $100. That would be money well spent in that it would be a solid start on getting his weight under control.
Fungus, bacterial infection and gangrene – all problems that can affect those who do not properly care for their feet. The homeless are particularly vulnerable to these health problems due to a lack of showers, access to proper shoes and socks and the inability to dry feet properly after they become wet.
As you remember, Anthony was admitted to the hospital last week because his feet became so damaged his socks were soaked with blood. After that episode, I thought I would talk to my podiatrist to see if he could treat Anthony. It would be really convenient for Anthony as his office is about 30 yards from where Anthony sells the Street Sense at 19th and M.
Although the doctor explained he did not take Medicaid, he didn’t hesitate to see Anthony. “Not a problem, I’d be happy to see him for free,” he told me. Wow…what a great guy.
So met up with Anthony this morning to take him to his appointment. As we sat in the waiting room I noticed that Anthony was not wearing socks! “You didn’t wear socks today?” I asked him.
“I ran out. I’m sorry,” he said pulling his pant leg up to reveal his bloated ankles.
So, Anthony gets out of the hospital, we go get him checked out by his physician later that week and then we meet with Elizabeth, the rockstar social outreach worker we have been working with to help get him housing.
Elizabeth had great news. Anthony has passed the basic qualification requirements for housing. And not just any housing. Now I haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds like an amazing opportunity for my friend. It’s a single room – so he doesn’t have to share it with others – which is important to Anthony. Next, it’s in Columbia Heights! For those of you who are not familiar with DC this is a great neighborhood with excellent access to public transportation.
Before I get started today, just a note to let you know that I have added some ad banners on the blog. Yep, there’s one just above where you’re reading now and another one over on the menu to the right. All proceeds go to help support the Anthony&Me project. If you see an ad that interests you, I encourage you to click on it as each click results in micro-revenue for the project. Thank you for your support!!
Anthony and I met up this morning for our bi-weekly meeting. First we went over to a doctor’s visit that he had. It seems that his blood pressure is getting more stable although it is still considerably higher than what the doctor would like.
We then headed across the street to the Whole Foods for lunch. We circled the hot and cold food bars surveying the various offerings until we both honed in on our prey. I made Continue reading →