Giving Hope

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Recently, a Pasadena native was admitted to her nearest hospital for a heart attack. The woman, a middle-aged crack cocaine addict was released later that night with prescriptions to be filled that were vital for her recovery and future heart health. She returned the next day due to similar chest pains that she had experienced the day before, but she got a different doctor that night in the emergency room. This second doctor was ready to release the woman, but before doing so wanted to make sure she’d had the prescriptions from the previous visit filled. Their dialog for the remainder of the woman’s hospital visit went something like this:

“Why weren’t you able to get them filled?”, Doctor

“I don’t have a car”, Woman

“How did you get here?”, D

“I took the bus”, W 

The physician spent the following 30 minutes attempting to contact social services to arrange transportation and assistance with filling her prescriptions. However, it was a Friday evening at about six and they had all checked out for the day. So the doctor did something that only can be described as pure-hearted (possibly angelic), she took her patient in her car and drove her to the nearest target. When leaving the target with her medication, which the doctor paid for, the woman asked if they would be able to stop at a McDonalds before going home as she had not eaten in more than a day. They promptly turned around and her doctor bought her four bags of groceries. 

They first dropped off most of the groceries at her apartment, which she was avoiding that night and the few preceding nights due to lack of rent money, and then continued on to the motel she had been residing in short term. When she and her doctor entered her room with the groceries and medicine in hand the doctor spotted a crack pipe on the nightstand and she asked her patient if she would be using it that night. The woman picked it up walked back to the doctor and handed it to her. Her final words to the doctor were these:

“No doctor, you take it. You’ve given me hope”

What started as a normal shift at work for this doctor turned out to be the dawn after a very very dark night for a woman struggling with addiction. Whether you are a part of the recovery community or not you really never know just how much hope your act of kindness can give a stranger.