Day 20: 140.5 Hours Remaining

The days are growing colder at the shelter. Not a day goes by that I’m not asked if there are any donations of clothing or blankets. I’m surprised that donations are far and few between. With as much as I hear about homelessness away from skid row, I would have assumed they were being buried in hand me downs and leftovers.

I remember taking an entire truck full of donations to Tijuana when I was a kid. I assumed we give more to those within our borders than without. Then again, I think most people assume that if you’re homeless in the United States it must be your fault. Bad choices. Drug Addiction. Alcohol.

But I’m finding that’s not always the case. Along with the deaf folks I wrote about in a previous post, there are others with disabilities.

The neurologically disabled and mentally ill are everywhere.

Today there was a woman who paced the courtyard, Bible in hand. She looked like what I would expect a Berkeley or UCLA student to look like. Young, dread locks, neatly placed clothing, eating a spring roll. She was praying outloud, with her eyes toward heaven. “I will pray whatever you speak in my ear. I pray now for the death of Michelle Obama. He will give me what I ask for.” She was in another world. She wasn’t here. Her body was a shell and her diseased mind propelled it as she spoke to an unseen force.

Something was in the air today.

Another man: tall, heavy, bearded. He stopped in front of the baggage line as if someone alerted him. His hands suddenly stretched skyward as far as they would go. He began to shout while staring upward into the rafters, “Do NOT stare into the eyes. Do NOT stare into the eyes. Do NOT stare into the eyes…” driven like a psychotic break. Like a record on skip.

And then the man who stopped me while I carried laundry to ask, “Why did I stop doing pushups?”

“I don’t know, sir. Why did you stop?” I’ve learned to just answer directly.

And he walked away as if he hadn’t heard me, only to ask the next person he came across the same question. He repeated it to every person he passed in the courtyard. At least twenty times.

I got a little chuckle out of the elderly man who spoke to someone invisible. He was seat with his legs crossed, having a good conversation about the benefits of education with the unseen other party to his left. I could imagine he was speaking with his own teenage or college age son, “You will need to study law. Now, I know that it’s hard for your ego to swallow, but you need to know that you don’t yet know everything. Law is a noble profession and it’ll suit you just fine. Yes. Yes. I know, it’ll cost a pretty penny. Sho will. We’ll come up with that somehow. Don’t you pay no mind to that.”

I pass them throughout the day and think nothing of it now. They mean no threat and most of them don’t even know they have the ability to startle. Every once in a while I sit down, gaze distantly at the roar of the mass of them, and wonder what their mothers had planned for their lives. Surely not this.

And I think of my own autistic daughter. What will become of her when I am gone?


About supportmidwifekatiemccall

Katie McCall was born at Pomona Valley Hospital in Southern California by scheduled c-section as a frank breech due to the current medical system insistence that breeches should always be delivered that way. Katie's father's family was filled with teachers, her mother's family was filled with healers. It is no surprise then, that she went on to have her own two children and spend her adult life involved in a combination of teaching and healing through midwifery, childbirth education, doula work and serving families in Southern California. Katie attended USC for her general education and then went on to study with the American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth to become a certified childbirth educator. Shortly thereafter, she certified as a birth doula (labor assistant) with the Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators. Katie was also mentored through a pregnancy and birth support business called The Birth Connection in Glendale, CA, which Katie later purchased and expanded to include a 1500 square foot education facility, retail store and birthing center. She enrolled in midwifery school and apprenticed with the midwives who ran the birth center as well as with midwives who attended homebirths. She sold her business to pursue her midwifery education full time in 2006 and passed her midwifery (NARM) exam to become a Certified Professional Midwife in 2008. She went on to gain her Midwifery License from the State of CA Medical Board in 2010. Katie has received supplementary education in lactation to become a lactation educator, vaginal birth after cesarean support, support of sexual abuse survivors, aromatherapy and is neonatal and CPR certified. She assisted over 500 couples through childbirth education and attended over 550 births as of 2011. As a Southern California native, she has a wide range of experience, serving mothers from diverse backgrounds. She believes her job is one of empowering women to develop their own trust and connection with their bodies and their babies during their own unique journey into motherhood. If she has learned anything through her experience with birth, it is that every birth is as different as the women who are laboring. On August 17th, 2011 Katharine “Katie” McCall, a licensed midwife, was convicted of practicing medicine with out a license for a 2007 birth she assisted as a student. The charge arose from a home birth where Katie's supervising midwife could not arrive because she was at another birth. Instead of leaving the family to birth unassisted, Katie stayed. She recommended that the family transfer to the hospital and the family refused. They were aware that she was only a student midwife and that she was unable to secure an overseeing mid View all posts by supportmidwifekatiemccall

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