For me, there have been so many changes and achievements between 2018 and 2019. I believe there will be more to come in 2020 also. But let’s just talk about what has changed over the last nearly 2 years and how those things have come to pass.
As many people know I have spent over 2 decades nearly constantly as homeless. And I honestly didn’t care. I tried several times to change that fact but every time it failed. You can’t just throw someone who has been homeless for 10 years into a unit with no support and expect everything to work out with no issues. Well, for me it failed within a couple of months.
During my time being homeless I had a lot of contact with people I had met online, most of these were back in the MSN Chat and MSN Messenger days. They didn’t even know about me being homeless, nor did I tell them. It wasn’t until a newspaper article was done about me having all my belongings stolen by some coward that made the front page of the Manly Daily and I took a photo of it with my phone and shared it to my Facebook account that people then knew. And I wasn’t thinking about it when I posted it. It was when I started getting messages about it that I realised what I had just done. I had just told the world that I was homeless.
Anyway, I got a little off-topic for a moment there, but that isn’t anything out of the blue for me. So let’s get back on track.
Back in late February of 2018, I had to go to the Emergency Department at Mona Vale Hospital. I had some serious issues with both my feet and being a diabetic that is not a good thing. Diabetes has a habit of affecting your feet, eyesight and other things. I could hardly walk without being in such pain. I shared a few pictures of my feet onto Facebook and my MJ told me I needed to go to the hospital. Stubborn me refused, at first. I hated hospitals. I also had issues at several hospitals in the past due to my homelessness. Within a couple of days, I literally could not walk and the pain was so bad and all I had for it at the time was Panadol, which did not a thing to relieve the pain. So, reluctantly I called an ambulance and went to the hospital. It turned out that I had 2 seriously infected diabetic ulcers on both feet. Both my feet were so red, swollen and had a lot of greenish coloured puss coming out of the ulcers. I was admitted to the surgical ward of the hospital. Things were not looking good.
Before I was moved to the ward I was put onto a strong anti-bodic drip and also a morphine drip for the pain.
Within a week things took a turn for the worse, even more. It turned out that I had osteomyelitis. Which is basically the infection has spread into the actual bone itself. There was then talk of them having to possibly amputate my toe, then the foot, then my leg below the knee. This totally scared the crap out of me. Being homeless how was I going to get around in a wheelchair? How was I going to survive? My Doctor, she was awesome and blunt. I wouldn’t have survived. I was only supposed to be in the hospital for a week. But it turned into a couple of months.
How things have changed:
Between the hospital social worker and my Doctor who were working hard to get me into stable accommodation upon my release from the hospital, which they were coming up with barriers in front of them left, right and centre. Nothing was working. They were also talking closely with Coimba, a Men’s Supported Accommodation Program on the Central Coast. I had already known of this program and had been trying to get in there for some time. But vacancies are far and few between.
After a couple of months in the hospital, I got the phone call on a Monday telling me a place would be available on Wednesday. This was the start of everything changing in my life. The Doctors and nurses began everything they needed to do to get me discharged and to the Central Coast from the Northern Beaches on Wednesday. That was the 9th of May 2018. I was placed into one of their bedsits later that day and this is still where I am today.
We have had so many barriers to overcome during this inter period from permanent accommodation, to a decent doctor, to counselling, to working on my health and other government agencies. Well to date we have so far overcome all of those barriers. I am now on the Priority Housing list for permanent housing (which shouldn’t be too far away now), to having a decent female doctor that I see on a regular basis, to also seeing the same counsellor, who I have just had my tenth session with. My health is slowly improving and also have just been accepted onto the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). How we have been able to achieve all these things have been remarkable. But I can honestly say without the help of the workers from Coimba I would not be where I am today and moving forward as I am.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am still struggling. Some times worse than others. But I am getting through day by day. I am just not giving up, no matter how much I want to. There is more to this story which I will cover at a later time. But for now, that will do and I will write more soon. But probably not today. So stay tuned …