I am settled in after Angela and Nate left me to handle Summers care for the next few weeks. I have said it before, but it bears repeating, that Summer does not have nearly the same energy level that she had when we were doing the Proton treatments earlier in the treatment. During those treatment weeks, she would be (mostly) happy to wander back and forth around St. Jude and then be OK for a quick stop at the store or an adventure chasing wild Indian mounds.
These last few months have been an entirely different beast. The first 2 treatments of full chemo have been energy-sucking blood killers. Summer lacks the energy to do much. These first two days with her have been an exercise in patience. We literally sat and watched a marathon of Naked and Afraid on Saturday… Culminating in Naked and Afraid XL Arctic last night. Today, we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, then about 5 minutes of FIFA before Summer decided it was nap time. After that… We watched Last Night in Soho.
When that was over… I looked at her and said I am not sure I can take much more of this!!! lol. We went through some previews and I told her I would write while she was watching whatever she wants. I asked her a few times today if there was ANYTHING she wanted to do. “Honestly, I’m exhausted… I could take a nap”. I think she is tapped out for adventures. We have a wall full of yarn for her to knit with.
Even if she wanted to go somewhere… It’s really not recommended because of her “counts” anyway. So, we stay home.
I did run to Walgreens today to pick up a case of water. Probably not the best financial decision. I could have saved a buck by going to Kroger… But it was worth spending the extra dollar to not deal with that Kroger parking lot.
That accidentally just led me to a story… Seriously.
Tomorrow we have 1 appointment. Physical Therapy. I will do my best to get her inspired to leave the apartment and see Terry. But if she is not up to it… I will then plan on a day “chilling”. Maybe I can help with some yarn or art projects?
The Kroger story. (Don’t get your hopes up, it is a blog after all!)
Angela told me this while I was back in Illinois but first I’ll lay some backstory.
There are 2 Krogers nearby. We have been to both but we have been told by a few people to keep away from Kroger on Poplar. It’s a bit run-down and has a rougher element. In other words. It’s in an area surrounded by the homeless. We have been there a few times during the day when we were still learning our way in Memphis, and honestly, it’s not that terrible of a spot (during the day). At night it’s probably not the best place to pull up in a new-ish car looking out of place like we probably do. (We probably went too far worse places in St. Lucia and the Yucatan)
Since moving into Target House, we have used the “nicer” of the Krogers per locals’ recommendations. It’s been a fine store, but the parking lot is in complete chaos. When you pull in, you have to make sure the car in front of you pulls completely off Union Avenue or you might get t-boned by a crazy Memphis driver. Once in the parking lot… You have to drive very slowly because that casual southern pace is what you will find with all the shoppers walking out of the store or in the parking lot lanes. It’s slow!
Once parked, you will likely get accosted by kids selling candy or the man who sells “The Bridge“. A newspaper that is used to support local homeless people with the cost of living in the local shelter.
Angela and Summer were here by themselves a few weeks ago when the “Bridge” man came up to them and asked them if they would buy a paper. I know who this guy is because I have encountered him before. He is probably 60, friendly, and on the low side of a threatening or scary homeless guy. But, he is on people quickly as they enter the parking lot. On this visit, he rushed to Angela and she looked at him… While putting groceries in the car and then reached for the cash that is clipped to her phone. The phone was in her back pocket and the body language must have looked like a defensive move because the newspaper salesman instantly started begging for mercy. “Please mam… I’m just selling papers… don’t shoot me”.
Angela told me later that she didn’t know what to think. She was in shock at his reaction. She told him she was getting him a donation. Maybe it’s a master-con by the salesman to go into threat mode… But intentionally or not, it got Angela to donate 20 bucks to The Bridge.
Angela called me right after it happened. She felt bad about the whole thing.
I know how much she donated because I had a similar conversation with her after running to Kroger myself this week. When the paper guy came to me I knew instantly who he was, and knowing what Angela had put him through, I thought I would give him 5 bucks for the newspaper with a 1 dollar suggested donation amount. Angela saw the magazine in the Prius Saturday morning before she left. I told her that I gave him 5 bucks… and she then told me that she gave him 20. So, I think we are good for another “No thank-you’s” should we choose.
I will probably give a donation again if it’s the same guy. He seems nice and the homelessness in this town is nuts. I have thought about posting on this issue but I don’t know what to say at this time. In Memphis, I have seen some desperate people on a consistent basis. I see the same people setting up their entire existence in bus stops or corners over the months we have been at St. Jude. I recognize them now. I have watched the shelter expel 50 people outside its doors in the morning. Only to see them congregate within a two-block radius waiting for the day to get over and let them back in.
My brain says “there are programs for these people”. That’s something I have said forever as a person who lives in Central Illinois who really is oblivious to this sort of thing. Then I see a guy day after day at a bus stop talking to himself. Two days ago, he was laying on the ground wrapping himself in layer upon layer of blankets because it is now growing colder. These people cannot function in society. They are a long way from being able to hold down a job and pay rent and utilities.
I don’t have answers… But I have a conscious.
My employer, Fort’s Toyota gives to the Salvation Army in Pekin every year and they have their gift matched by Toyota corporate. I know personally that the shelter does good work on Derby St. in Pekin. As a former Bell Ringer (and probably future), I think it’s a noble place to donate to this cause.