- A young woman, seven months pregnant and has yet to see a doctor. She notices my screen saver, “Girls are not for sale, ” and says “they need to stop advertising girls then.” When I asked her if she was in “the life” she said she was briefly at the age of 17, her pimp was 40. He would have men come down to the basement………. that’s all she wanted to say. After we got her set up with Medicaid, she asked me if we have DV (domestic violence) advocates. She said she needed a safe place to stay for her and her daughter. Tears came to her eyes. I quickly made a referral to the county DV advocate program and gave her the phone number to the DV crisis line.
- A 27 year old man recently released from prison. Because he was on disability and Medicare before he went to prison he has to go through all the red tape to get it turned back on. Its lengthy and it confusing. We are on a time line because he has mental health meds to refill and he only has a couple days left of the 30 day supply he received from the prison. My colleague and I take him to the local Aging, Disability and Veterans Services office and sit with him for an hour as we wait for the worker to get the paperwork started for his medical benefits. I am glad we went with him, he is impatient, short-fused, somewhat delusional and every other word is fuck.
- A 75 year grandmother who’s granddaughter died of the flu in December. Her husband has dementia and she takes care of him full time while her 50 year old recently released from prison son lives with her. If this isn’t enough she is now taking on guardianship of her great grandchildren 11 and 12. The strength of this woman who is barely five feet tall and maybe 110 pounds is amazing.
- She just got a temp job but unfortunately because she makes over the income eligibility limit for Medicaid ($1396 a month before taxes) she loses it at the end of the month. Meanwhile, she is having medical issues and finds out she needs surgery the following month with a two to six week recovery time. She has to have it but who it going to pay for it? She won’t have insurance next month.
This is a small sample of the clients I worked with within one week. They are are on parole or probation (except the grandmother, it was her granddaughter that passed that was on probation). You might have your own idea of what a parolee looks like. Some have done some really horrible things but the reality is the majority are victims of their trauma-filled childhoods. I have been working in this field a long time, it can be sad and emotionally draining. But I am lucky, I get to help them with the good stuff and see successes, here’s what I know:
- I saw her the other day and she told me she has a doctor’s appointment for next week.
- We were able to get him another 30 day supply of his mental health meds. He went to his appointment with Social Security to get his benefits going again.
- Her great grandchildren are doing well and have full medical coverage.
- We got Medicaid to cover for another month so she can have her surgery.
And this why I am still at it