I’m not celebrating just yet, but we got some amazing news this week. Through a lot of hard work from Elizabeth, the outreach worker that we have been working with, it looks like Anthony will receive his very own set of keys to his apartment next Monday!!!
Sadly I am not in the US to celebrate with him…I am in Bolivia on a business trip. I called him yesterday via and he was so excited and thankful for the hard work, kindness and support so many have offered to him.
He went on Monday to check out the apartment. “It’s got a really nice bed,” he told me. Thoughts of him no longer sleeping on the damp unforgiving pavement made my voice smile back at him.
I have to admit though – I am a bit worried about this transition. This will be a tremendous change for Anthony. I need to find out if they have services available to help homeless individuals deal with moving back indoors. I am certainly not the best option to give him support in that area.
Anyway…I will have more news at the latest by early next week! I hope that I will be able to go with him and watch him receive his keys.
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.
I’m getting tired of seeing Anthony in a hospital gown. I’m sure I am not as tired as he is though. He’s been in and out of the hospital since we started Anthony & Me. This time he was admitted due to some problems related to his feet, but G.W. Hospital ended up keeping him a few additional days due to his highly elevated blood pressure. Thankfully he was finally released last week.
While he was in the hospital he was supposed to have a meeting with a potential housing provider that we learned about through our superstar outreach worker Elizabeth. They rescheduled for today, but unfortunately the person from the facility either forgot about the meeting or didn’t have it scheduled because she wasn’t there.
Anthony called me from the bus ride home. “The good news is I know exactly where this house is located and it is a great location,” he told me with an enthusiasm in his voice that I hadn’t heard for weeks. But it faded away as quickly as it had returned. “The bad news is the program manager didn’t show up…so now we have to come back later this week or next week” There was a long pause and then I heard him sigh. “It’s like it never ends,” he muttered.
I hope to know tomorrow when the meeting is rescheduled.
Tomorrow morning I’m going to meet up with Anthony and take him to my podiatrist. A doctor of mine for several years, he agreed to see Anthony. The doctor doesn’t take Medicaid but he didn’t hesitate to offer to help. What a nice guy. I will let you know how his appointment goes.
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.
A few days after my last post about how Anthony’s health seemed to be doing better I called him only to find him admitted at George Washington University Hospital. His blood pressure was dangerously high and he was not feeling well. A customer of his saw him sitting near the spot where he sells the paper and, after seeing that he didn’t look normal, asked if he was feeling alright. He wasn’t…and they called an ambulance.
I learned about this the following day. My office is only a few blocks from the hospital so I walked over on my lunch break to check on him. I was his only visitor he told me. While I was there with him he opened Continue reading →
I have been so derelict in my blog writing. Sometimes I wonder how I wrote every single day back in 2010 when I did the Year of Giving.
So there are several items to update you on. First, Anthony is doing well. We got some amazing news recently. He was approved to receive a small amount of government assistance to help him as we prepare to move him into housing. What? Housing for Anthony?!?! Well, while I have been away there have been some people who have been very busy trying to find housing for Anthony. And with this small supplemental income, I think it will put him in a great position to get into some low-income housing. Special thanks and a shout out to Elizabeth for all of her help with Anthony!!!
Today things got a little bit clearer…in more than one way!
Not only did I wake up after my Lasik eye surgery that I had yesterday and could see better than 20/20, I also met up with Anthony and an outreach worker named Elizabeth who has been kind enough to provide Anthony with some assistance. Before I get on to Anthony, if you ever consider Lasik eye surgery or have keratoconus (a rare but treatable eye disease) you should definitely consider seeing Dr. Roy Rubinfeld in Chevy Chase, MD. He’s amazing!
The eye drops that Dr. Rubinfeld put in my eyes were starting to take affect when my phone rang. I moved the screen a bit further away than normal and read Anthony’s name on the caller ID. He was calling to say that he might be a little late for our 11:45 meeting – his pants ripped earlier in the day and he needed to get a new pair across town at a thrift store.
My eye exam wrapped up and I was cleared for Lasik eye surgery next Wednesday. I wandered out of the doctor’s office, my eyes fighting off the unwelcome sun that was bathing the sidewalks of Friendship Heights, MD. Although it’s only about a block to the Metro, it took me a few extra minutes to arrive as I kept my head tucked deep into the top of my coat looking straight down as I walked, using my hand to shield my eyes from the sun’s rays. I stepped into the underworld of the Metro and finally found my eyes relaxed in the cool dimly lit concrete world. A few minutes later I was downtown DC near Anthony’s corner. I grabbed a coffee and plopped down in a comfy chair at Caribou Coffee to burn some time until he arrived.
We met; he was upbeat and very chipper. A side of him that I hand’t seen in a while. In fact, I hadn’t really seen any side of Anthony in a weeks as he’d cancelled a few of our meetings.
He slipped me a folded up piece of legal paper – you know the yellow colored type. “We’ll talk about that over lunch,” he said with a smile. Before heading off to lunch, Anthony asked me to take a photo of him to send to a very generous woman named Joyce who has been following the blog and sent a donation to cover a night in hotel for him.
Over quesadillas and tacos we talked about the piece of paper he slipped me earlier. I unfolded it carefully – it seems that it had gotten wet at some point and could potentially tear so I wanted to be gentle with it. Inside I found a business card for an outreach worker that Anthony likes very much. He hopes that she will be able to help him navigate the housing assistance jungle. We’ve got several irons in the fire, but I believe that we really need to stick with one group and work more closely with them if we want to get keys to an apartment in Anthony’s hands.
After lunch we walked back to his corner. He grilled me on my book writing. I’m behind again, but still very committed. But Anthony suggested we up the stakes some. “You need consequences,” he said grinning about as wide as one can. “If you don’t get your draft proposal done in the next 3 weeks, then I think you need to come sleep on the streets with me.”
Not a bad motivator. I don’t have any interest in spending a night on the streets of DC. I nodded my head slowly knowing that Anthony’s suggestion was a good one, despite the fact that I wasn’t wild about the idea. But that is just the kind of consequence that we need to have – something to motivate me to meet my deadlines. So there you go. The clock is ticking and I need to get writing…so I will be back in touch next week.
I’ve had a good week working on my book. Taking time off from my main job has helped create space for me to concentrate on writing.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel as confident about the progress that we are making with Anthony. There were some really good signs this week. I got an outreach center which helps homeless secure living wage jobs and get into housing agree to meet with Anthony to see if they could help him. Good right? Well, Anthony didn’t seem t0o excited about it. In fact, when I spoke to him today two hours before his scheduled meeting with the center he said he wasn’t sure if he was going to go. I encouraged him to go and told him that if he decided to bail that he needed to contact them beforehand.
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 →