Debra’s first visit to BHCHP was in 2009, when she was referred to our Barbara McInnis House medical respite program to recover from a bone infection. Since then, she’s received care at McInnis House multiple times and gets all of her routine health care at our BHCHP clinics. Now housed, Debra has become a de facto ambassador for BHCHP within her community.
Below is her story in her own words:
I came to Barbara McInnis House in the winter of 2009 from nursing home rehab. I was unhappy there, so they transferred me to McInnis for long-term care because I was homeless at the time and had nowhere to go.
I was scared—it was a new place—but the atmosphere was really nice and everyone seemed really respectful. It was different because they came to you and were nice to you—it was about the patient.
I was going through a lot and I had a lot of medical issues. I have diabetes, I’ve gotten infections in my feet, been exhausted, sick, run down. I was on painkillers and I ended up becoming addicted to them. I’ve fallen many times from overdoses. I broke my ankle four years ago, last year I broke my right hip, the year before that I broke my left femur.
But BHCHP was always there. They’ve been with me through everything. I was never judged. The staff surrounds you with love and respect and try to get you the help you need. They always want you to get better. It’s life-changing, it’s life-saving—because there’s a lot of people out there who hurt us. We all go through trauma. We all just want to know we’re loved.
I’m proud of myself: two and a half years ago I moved [into an apartment] and I’ve been in recovery for eight months. But I will never give up my doctor at BHCHP; I’ve had her for the last eight or nine years. She’s very thorough. And no matter how many times I relapsed, she never gave up on me. I love the nurses here, my therapist, my psychiatrist. It’s hard telling your story over again to someone else, to trust them and have them steer you. So I’ll be staying with BHCHP.
There’s no other place like this. If I didn’t have it—a place to go when you are homeless and need to heal from medical issues—I don’t know where I would be. Not just me, but other people. My son was here and my husband was here; there are so many people I know that have been here and been helped.
It’s sad to see other people that I know go downhill. I want to help them. But you can’t change somebody. You just have to treat them like a human being. I tell them I love them. And I tell them about BHCHP, or bring them here—because BHCHP can lead them to the right place. You become bigger, better, healthier.