Wayne's beard is longer
I had a frustrating end to the work day today. A senior colleague, who should know better, rang me to approve the admission of someone to the high care part of the unit. Which is full, and with almost half of those in it having been admitted over the weekend, it had been decided by the treating teams that no one was ready to move to the ordinary wards. I accept and respect their assessments. The senior colleague was intimating that I should over rule them. He wasn't happy when I wouldn't and was even less happy when I expressed my disapproval that the person he wanted admitted had been in ED for most of the day without being given treatment to lessen his distress from the drug induced psychosis.
I got home to the apartment, changed and headed out with a camera for a walk along Great North Road back towards Ponsonby Road. Wasn't quite sure whether to go along Ponsonby Road for a photo, or head straight across into K Road. Just after Pollen Street is an elevated tiled area in front of the set back entries to some businesses. Providing a sheltered spot for some of the homeless Aucklanders, of whom there are far too many.
Looking towards those sitting or lying, I saw Wayne. There was no mistaking him. Nor, it seems, me. As I walked towards him, he said "I know you, don't I". I said yes, and reminded him of my name. He shook my hand and remembered that it was a couple of years ago (22 April 2017). He remembered that his beard was longer then. He wanted to know if I remembered that he had been attending AA meetings in Pollen Street. Which I did. He told me that he had been to two so far today and was intending to attend a third. "You get coffee and company".
We talked more, and he confided that the church next door (see the extra) provides free food on Monday evenings, and he could go there along with all the others who were steadily increasing in numbers as we spoke. However, he wasn't happy doing that as he has his own food. Some remaining feelings of pride in caring for himself. The AA meetings are different because he might be able to help a new member.
He then told me of his sadness that he has just lost a friend; just a friend nothing more. But she had got angry with him, he believes because he told her how important she was to him. He said he realises that he has to leave that behind as talking about it at the AA meetings is just making him cry.
This proud man, who has been homeless for more than four years, but still retains pride in doing as much for himself as possible, has lost a friend because he crossed a boundary that he didn't know existed. I wonder if this is the friend he was to visit in April 2017, when he told me that he would do odd jobs for her and she would allow him to stay a while.
He approved of my photo (which he again gave permission for), although he would have liked to have had his beanie further forward. He recalled his larger beard from 2017, and commented that it is now tidier. He was concerned to make a good impression.
How is it that New Zealand can leave the really wealthy with more than they need and deny the Wayne's (of whom there are too many) the opportunity to achieve their capabilities?