She was crying so hard on the phone I could hardly understand her. She hasn't slept for days and here is why:
She was checked into the hospital at the beginning of the week to have some tests run since her stroke last month. This overweight 47 year old also has diabetes and high blood pressure. While she was in the hospital, her 14 year old son was admitted to the hospital. His bolts and screws that hold his leg together after he was hit by a drunk driver while crossing the street a few years ago, had become so infected that he became septic and almost died. So she checked herself out of the hospital to be with him.
Her 16 year old son was assaulted by 4 men and when he was able to get away, they decided they weren't done with him yet so he then became the victim of a drive by shooting. He was not actually hit by any bullets but he's so afraid they will kill him, he won't go to school. I'm guessing he's part of a gang but I didn't ask her.
Her husband decided he'd had enough of this and so he up and left the family this week. She's had terrible financial problems for a long time and today her car was repossessed.
I assured her I would get a doctor to write a prescription to help her sleep and told her I'd call her right back. In the 10 minutes it took me to call her back, she received a letter in the mail from her neurologist saying her tests for Lupus had come back positive.
After much coaxing, I was able to make an appointment for her to see our Social Worker.
I feel sorry for this woman and can't imagine living her life. She is part of the wheel that spins out of control. And now I think the real victims here are her 4 boys. They live in poverty and in fear. They have no father and their mother may not live much longer. I shudder to imagine their day to day life. I try not to think about what their house looks like, what they eat, what they can't buy, and if anyone ever said "I love you" to them. I wonder what will happen to them and to their children in this cycle of poverty.