Beaten Down

I got to the CEC half an hour early this morning. Thursday mornings are usually quiet but before I could even get out of my car, Lee was standing there talking to me. I couldn’t hear what he was saying but it was obvious something was very wrong. His face was badly bruised and he had a look of fear and despair in his eyes. After I got out and had him start over, Lee told me a short story with many words and kept trying to hand me a wad of blood splattered papers. He was attacked last night, punched and kicked in the face and torso, and robbed of everything he had (which wasn’t much). The papers were his discharge papers from the ER. Someone likely called 911 because an ambulance took Lee to the hospital. The papers said Lee has a concussion, broken nose, and fractured orbital bone. They included prescriptions for antibiotics, nausea, and pain.
Lee looks like he’s been through hell. The ER released him as he was when they were done making sure his condition wasn’t life threatening. He was able to take a bus part of the way but he also had to walk quite a ways. He didn’t know where else to go, so he came here, where he knew he could use the phone to call his case worker and make a sandwich. He was in too much pain to actually eat but he sat in the quiet of the office and I was able to get ahold of his case worker who picked him up here a little while later. Lee has a case worker because he has an intellectual disability. He is one of the most vulnerable members of our community, a nice guy who isn’t really capable of taking care of himself. It was heartbreaking to see him after he was beaten down and then shown the door. I am glad he knew he could come here. Hugh often says we’re a place of “last resort,” a catch all for the most vulnerable and hurting folks in Raleigh, a place to be even after – especially after – you’ve been beaten down.
Update: Lee spent part of the day with his case worker and got his prescriptions filled. Another member of our community messaged me in the afternoon. She had read this and figured out who it was (despite the pseudonym). She saw Lee in Moore Square and bought him a hot dog. Even though she is facing eviction and is in serious need herself, she took care of Lee because that’s what community does. Last I heard, Lee didn’t want to go to the shelter and was going to sleep outside last night, even though the temperature was near freezing and he really needed to rest with his elevated because of his fractured face.