I May Not Be Dying After All

I still have an ugly cough and have to blow my nose an excessive amount. But that’s a whole lot better situation than I was in just a week ago.   As I’ve said before, homeless shelters are a lot like day care centers.  There are just too many people too close to each other for too long of a period, for people to be able to maintain their health.    A kid in a day care coughs and the next day all the kids are coughing.   Some guy comes into a shelter with the flu and within just a couple days, everyone in the shelter has the flu.   It’s the natural result of treating people like things that only need to be warehoused for a time.  In most shelters, the beds, (most often bunk beds) are placed just 2 feet apart.  So, as the homeless sleep they are breathing in what the others are exhaling.  And when one coughs with a mouth full of germs, those germs are going to make it into the mouths of the other homeless in the shelter.   Add to that that many of the homeless don’t make use of basic hygiene considerations.  They don’t cover their mouths when they cough, they spit on the ground, they don’t bathe but every few days, etc,

Well, I’ve been sick for over a month now, and it has been no picnic.  Some nights I couldn’t sleep for all the coughing I was doing.  And I’m sure my coughing was keeping others awake as well.  I spent a lot of money on, and took plenty of, over the counter medicines, but they did little good.  I guess i would have been much worse off without them.  Every breath I took was difficult.  My stomach muscles and side muscles ache from all the coughing I’ve been doing.  For a while I couldn’t lay down on my bed without setting off a major coughing event.  The only way I could get sleep was by sitting up in a chair.  Some nights I was lucky to get two hours of sleep.  Runny nose, coughing, stuffy sinuses, sinus headaches, the only symptom I didn’t develop was a sore throat.  Thank goodness.

The problem now is that we are just 6 weeks away from the closing of this winter shelter, and I am no where near the goals I had set for myself when I first got here.  I will most likely miss running in the 5k.  And the podcast I had hoped to launch at the first of the year is still just a file full of notes on my computer.

Having a place to stay once they close this shelter will be a trick, and I don’t have any magic on me.

At least the weather is getting better here.  The warm days help my breathing, although at night the people running the shelter still refuse to turn on the  heater.  Being cold from sunset to sunrise sure isn’t helping me, or anyone else in the shelter, get better.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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