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Friday, May 16, 2008

News Flash: Dorothy's Back

So, no, she's not dead. But she did pass out right here on the block and some kids went in the house and called 911. She's been in St. Bernard's Hospital in Englewood. She just got out.

I ran into Yup-yup earlier today. "You are a godsend!" he exclaimed at the sight of me.

"Maybe not," I said. "Don't get too excited."

He asked me for three dollars and I told him I was going to the store to get money and to look for me tomorrow. It's been so nice not having him around the last couple of weeks. I asked if he'd seen Dorothy and he said not for a week and a half.

"If you see her, tell her she's got to call her P.O." I said. "Somebody came by my house last night looking for her. If she doesn't call soon, they're going to put a warrant out on her."

He said he would tell her.

Just a few minutes ago, she showed up at my back gate. I was sitting on my back porch with a glass of wine, having just finished a phone conversation with a buddy who lives out of town.

"Hey!" she called.

"Hey!" I said. "How are you? Where you been?"

"I've been ringing your bell out front like five times," she said. Shoot. Poor Medicine Man just got back from some conference in Springfield and collapsed into bed. I know he's really tired of all these characters ringing my bell at weird hours--at least 9:15 wasn't so weird usually, but when you're trying to sleep it's a pain in the butt.

Anyway, she told me she'd been in the hospital. I told her that when the Probation Department showed up, I was afraid she was dead. "I'm glad you're not dead," I said, and reached my hand up over the fence between us. She took it and we squeezed hands for a minute.

(I don't have the key to open the back gate--I lost my old set of keys. I should get the spare from Medicine Man and make a new one.)

I told her she needs to call her P.O. right away. She said she'd call tomorrow and asked when he came by. "Last night, I think," I said. It was actually the night before.

"How much you need for a place to sleep tonight?" I asked. "Five bucks?" That's what Pamela used to pay somebody around here for space on the floor.

She did the classic shifty-eye, then said, "Ten."

"Let me see if I have it," I said, and went in the house for my wallet. The inevitable internal debate ensued--what if I gave her just five dollars? Would she get a bed and not drink or use? Does she have to pay off Yup-yup about something? Do I care what she spends the money on? In the end, I decided, what the hell, she's been in the hospital for almost two weeks, I'm not going to trouble my head about what the other five bucks is for.

Then we had a quick discussion of what happened with treatment. She says the staff told her they were going to give her outpatient, and she left. "They told me you were in residential but you left against staff advice," I told her.

Yes, she had been in residential, she said, but then said they weren't going to keep her. It sounds like she got mad and left before they could give her an outpatient plan. "I'm going to get it fixed," she said.

You do that, I thought. I sure hope she calls her P.O. If I thought she would get real services in jail, I would hope there is a warrant out on her already. But I'm afraid jail would just screw up her meds for HIV and not get her into a residential drug treatment program.

Next time I'll have to tell her the new University of Illinois Mile Square Health Center is open on 47th. She can get prescriptions very cheap there.

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