A guy came into the hospital begging for a mental health assessment. He was homeless, had no family or friends and had fled the last place that he'd lived because he was frightened. He had nothing but the clothes that he stood up in, a space blanket in one of his pocket, a lighter and a few butt ends that he'd picked off the street. No money, no phone, nothing! Our lovely hospital receptionist didn't know what to do so she called upstairs to our office. My colleagues and I didn't really need to get involved. After all we're a team for people over 65 and he was a youngster. It would have been easy to wash our hands because he was outside our remit. After all we are very, very busy. But what do you do when something like this happens?
Sod the proper procedures! After spewing out his story he was knackered so I ran off to beg bedding from the ward upstairs so he could have a kip on the therapy bench. Another person made a big mug of sweet tea. Someone stayed with him until an ambulance took him to be assessed by the 'right' people. He responded well to just that teeny bit of kindness. I wondered how much of that there'd been in his life.
We don't know what happened to him and probably never will. Let's hope he received the help that he was asking for. I've never come across someone so needy and it's left me terribly shaken. Of course it's also heightened my awareness of how blessed that I am. So much richer in every way. But how many others are there out there like him, devoid of everything in this supposedly rich country of ours? I shudder to think. And it got me thinking. Do I brush the memory under the carpet or do I use this as the wake up call that's telling me to focus away from myself and give a little more to those who are at most need?