Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 13, 2006
A streetworker holds a trusting lion's paw
Vauxhall woman finds blessings in her Covenant House work
By MICHELLE CLAUSIUS
I felt as though my hand was going to break as the pain Evan was feeling was being channelled through his hand and clamping onto mine.
- Saskia Shopman
One afternoon I received a call from Evan in the hospital. He was crying like a child from the pain he was is in. He'd been in the hospital because of an abscess on his buttocks. (He would often get abscesses due to his drug use.)
My heart went out to Evan because he has such a sweet heart and he had no one to look after him or pick him up from the hospital.
Within minutes, another outreach worker and I went to the hospital to get him. He could barely walk because of the wound from the surgery he had undergone.
My partner and I helped Evan back to his hotel room in Vancouver's downtown east side. When we entered the hotel lobby, we discovered his room was on the ninth floor and there wasn't an elevator.
Evan could barely walk, so the stairs weren't an option. My partner and I looked around for possible solutions to the problem and finally came up with the idea of carrying him up to his room on a chair.
We made it up the first couple of flights of stairs, but our plan wasn't working. Evan was in excruciating pain, tears streaming down his face. My heart broke for him as he was trying so hard to be a trooper.
The seat of the chair was pressing against Evan's surgery wound, so we decided to remove it and allow him to rest on the chair's frame.
The hotel manager came to give us a hand and followed from behind as we attempted again to carry Evan up the remaining flights of stairs.
I could see that every movement was tearing into Evan. I didn't know what else we could do to alleviate some of the pain, so as the men continued to carry him, and the tears continued to flow, I asked him if he wanted my hand to hold. He looked at my eyes and with a shaking hand reached out to mine and grasped it.
It was a memorable moment for me as we journeyed for the next 30 minutes up those stairs. I felt as though my hand was going to break as the pain Evan was feeling was being channelled through his hand and clamping onto mine.
When we finally reached Evan's room, he fell onto his bed both exhausted and relieved. He looked at us with so much gratitude and thanked us so many times. Before we left, we made sure he was all set up with supplies.
I gave him his bandages for changing, hygiene supplies we brought from the hospital, stocked his fridge with groceries, and provided him with clean underwear.
It was so rewarding for my co-worker and I as Evan trusted us in his vulnerable state, like a small child, and reached out to the only people he knew would accept him with unconditional love.
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