February 19, 2010
There is so very much to tell you all...I will try to focus on one thing at a time and over the next several days I shall bring you up to date. I left Calgary last month with the intention of spending 4-6 weeks visiting various shelters in the big city. That plan has taken a radical turn and I will explain why. Last summer I re-damaged my knee, the original injury had healed up over a couple of months, so I ignored it hoping it would go away again this time. That did not happen, since last spring the condition has continued to worsen, until I was in varying degrees of pain 90% of the time. Once situated in my new city, I went to a clinic hoping to have the matter checked out... this is where things get weird (in a good kinda way). The clinic was not taking new patients (except in one event emergencies) so they gave me a list of 5 doctors who might take me on. I found one I liked (Educated in Canada, no language barrier and young enough to be interested in sports medicine), I called the receptionist at his office and she said,"Yes he could take me.". I went to the appointment only to discover that the receptionist was a temp... and he is NOT taking new patients. After a brief conversation with the Doctor, out of the blue, he said he would treat me for the knee problem only. woohoo! So for the next few months I will be in treatment to repair my damaged knee.
How does this affect Angels of the Road? I am NOT stopping Angels, I am just exploring another aspect of homelessness called SRO. Single Resident Occupancy hotels (cheap, old hotels turned rooming houses) this city still has about 70 or 80 of these type of buildings. Calgary like most of the cities I have visited has torn down such buildings to revitalize the downtown core. The building I'm living in is pretty average for an SRO, there are a couple of nicer places, many places are far worse. This building has a shared stove and toaster on the first floor, each unit has a mini-fridge and we are allowed to add a microwave. There is a shared bathtub (no shower) and 2 shared toilets on each floor... I'm the only woman here so I try very hard to remember to leave the seat up LOL. Our rooms also have a (bathroom style) sink, a bed, one large shelving unit and 2 small hanging shelves. On a positive note my neighbours are friendly and I have not seen any bugs in my room as yet ;-)
This is what Roger Miller meant by "an 8 x 12 four bit room". However now, they are $425 a month. These units are considered housing and for the purposes of statistics, reduces the number of (economic) homeless considerably. This may be housing but I am not sure if it can ever be a home. I am going to make a serious effort to achieve that end, the standard I have set is as follows... 1. I should be happy to return here at the end of the day... 2. I should be comfortable inviting a friend over for tea...3. The Gordon Lightfoot song "Home From The Forest" must stop popping into my head every time I leave or enter the building, LOL.