Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shelter Life: The Walking Wounded

It seems like every time I walk around the shelter these days I see people who are walking with the aid of walkers, or crutches, or not walking at all because they are in wheelchairs. I see arms in slings and legs in casts. The numbers are increasing, not decreasing.

I hear coughing all the time, and not just from me. The guy who just moved into the bed next to me coughed so hard that he passed out, and he says it's happened before. He refused to be taken to the hospital for whatever the reason.

People think of homeless as bums who just want a hand out. As one who is one of those walking wounded, I object to the stereotype. But my wounds are not obvious. I can walk, though with a limp. I walk in pain, though not a great deal of it, but if I go downstairs or upstairs, you may notice me taking them one at a time. I walk up a step with my left leg then bring my right leg with me. Repeat as necessary. The opposite is true, even more so, because stepping down on my right leg causes more pain and I'm afraid that the leg will give in.

My shoulder is even less obvious, unless I am requested to lift something. I got chewed out by another homeless guy because he didn't see anything wrong with me. Use your eyes, please.

The point is, though, that everyone's perception is different and you can't tell a book from its cover. Even though my body is not at 100%, my mind is. Give me something to do with my mind. I'll prove it.

In other news, I am taking the START Hospitality course at Wake Tech, and as the course draws to a close, the opportunities are starting to open up. For instance i had an interview yesterday at a Hilton Garden Inn in Raleigh, and the manager there apparently knew the guy who runs the Hospitality course. With my teeth the way they are (come on, Voc Rehab, get your a$$ in gear) I don't think I made a very good impression, but at least I am making the effort, and just getting the interview is an experience that will help with other interviews.

Hope is all I have left at this point.