Please note: A portion of this interview ran in an e-newsletter from Bombas. All questions, courtesy of Bombas.
1. What drew you to street medicine?
Ever since I was a child I had a soft spot for the underserved community. I grew up in poverty (although I didn’t know it as a child) and I see what folks have to go through in life. The poor and the underserved are people, just like the rest of us and they go through hard times and they need help.
2. Why is the work that you do meaningful to you?
My mother was sick and passed when I was very young and so I decided at a young age that I wanted to be a nurse to help people who are sick. I wished I could have been a nurse when I was a child and taken care of my mother. Now, I try to treat my patients as if they were my own mother.
3. What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in working with the homeless community?
I have learned so much from my patients! They are so resilient. I’ve learned that we as people can take on so much more than we think we can. Seeing what my patients deal with everyday, the courage they have to get through each day, makes me see how much people can take for granted. Our patients have to worry every day about the basic life necessities, like toilet paper and personal hygiene. Those are things we just take for granted. No one chooses homelessness or addiction or poverty, but it happens, and they need help. I have learned to be available when my patients are ready to accept my help and I will meet them wherever they are.
4. What’s the best way for all of us to help during this time?
Of course, donations of food, PPE and money are always in need with our work caring for folks experiencing homelessness. Right now, during this COVID pandemic, I urge everyone to be gentle with each other. Pay attention to each other. Gently remind each other about infection control and taking care of themselves.