So, back to those first few days of no sleep. While I did feel surprisingly good that first morning, eventually the bone weariness set in. As the days wore on I felt like puking, but I'd live. By the fourth of July it was getting rough. Heading towards lunch, my IC (Mission speak for the guy that has been here long enough to be In Charge of a work crew (everybody wants to be an IC, some love it too much when they get it, me, I hated it it.)) told me we where having a BBQ that lunchtime. He spoke dreamily of burgers, brats, chicken and Italian sausage, and as good as that sounded, I just wanted sleep. Ed Dorsey was his name and he told me flat out, no, I'm going. I thought about it and figured maybe all that red meat would help me sleep. There I was, sitting on a loading dock in the south Loop of Chicago, a bright sunny day with the smell of a BBQ wafting all over my body. If it wasn't for the Sears Tower looming in the skyline, this could have been from my previous life so many months ago, way out in suburbia. We where sitting on milk crates, drinking pops and watch a large fat guy that looked like a young fat Elvis presided over the grill. He told everyone he was a chef, yet every. single. guy. that walked by, homed in on it and tried to tell him what to do. Guys where popping out of garbage cans to try to be helpful. it was fun and I watched and tried to learn how these guys all interacted. After eating 3 Brats and a burger... or two, I dragged myself up the three flights of stairs to go hopefully go pass out. One impressive thing about the mission is how well thought out it is. It's one of the first and largest purpose built homeless shelters in the US. The windows are seemingly bullet proof, the door hinges are bank vault solid and many of them can only be opened if you have the right pass card. I get to the top of the stairs, pull my badge out and it was at that moment that the badge decided to not work anymore. I squint my eyes and try it six or 10 more times, but nothing, it will not unlock the door. Looking back, I could have banged on the door and gotten in, it happens all the time there. I was in a daze at that point and thought I needed to get it fixed right away. Shaking my head in disbelief, I trudge back down the three flights of metal stairs to go to what is known as office C for a new badge.
After all of that, I still could not sleep. The muscle spasms came back and I hadn't slept in at least 3 days now. I started thinking I'd have to leave, I knew there when't special beds for anyone, I was getting very sad. My thoughts where I had been finally found and now might be lost again. In talking with my IC I realized I had been drinking a lot of water and my feet where cold. I've known a few people that had their Diabetes come on due to stress, and I had had bundles of stress over the last few months. I stopped and prayed. I prayed to the Lord that it wasn't Diabetes, but if that what he wants for me, ok, I'd endure. Fortunately, the PGM has a good clinic with some absolute angles working in it.
The mission has some set in stone rules for the new guys, one of which is not contact with any of the women there. It makes it safer for both sexes, besides, you messed up your life so bad that you're in a homeless shelter, trying to hook up with a woman in the same situation just doesn't make sense. So after almost a week of no feminine contact, there I am sitting 3 feet away from Nurse Regina, a young blonde beauty with ethereal eyes. I had to look away so I could think straight enough to explain my symptoms right, LOL. Then there is Dr. D., an Asian sweetheart, so kind and caring. She really pays attention and is very thorough, I mean, I've never had anyone check as many spots for my heartbeat. She spends a lot of time with each patient, figuring out a health plan, talking with you about Jesus and praying with you. They, along with Nurse Bessie are amazing blessings, free of charge to hundreds of destitute homeless folks. The tests later showed I didn't have Diabetes (Thank God!) and she proscribed me some non addictive sleeping pills, vitamins and pills for high cholesterol. When I was tested at Chicago Read a month before, my cholesterol was at 460 according to the paperwork I kept from there. She took blood to test it again, and it came back showing I was at 181. I wasn't on any meds for it before she drew the blood for the test... I can only say it was another miracle.
Have you ever heard the old saying, find a penny, have good luck all day? I never liked having pennies pile up in my pocket, so on my way out of stores, I'd toss the pennies around. Spreading good luck so to speak. I don't think the pennies bring good luck... I just think that anyone that takes the time to pick up such a small thing will have the time to notice all the good that happens all the time around them.