Nigel Howe

May 11, 2014, Mother’s Day.

I had a heart attack, according to the doctors. Surgery that Monday to repair a ruptured main artery and insert a stent; rested on Tuesday; Wednesday following consults with an administrator who announced “Mr. Martin you didn’t have a heart attack you had a cardiac episode!” and a hospital case worker on recuperation facilities – concluding that the nation’s capital had none – I was released.

With no place to rest, I sat in front of a Starbucks two blocks away from the hospital and experienced a great deal of discomfort that I first attributed to anxiety. Thursday morning I returned to the ER in pain, disillusioned and frankly afraid. The hospital staff said

“Heart Attack!”

And after a barrage of tests they asked me to sign a document releasing them so that they could go in and found the problem. I signed. We went back to the table Friday morning. Performed surgery – no findings. They said

“Mr. Martin it was only a cardiac episode, not an attack, you’re discharged!”

“Whatever,” I replied. “So either you lied or you’re incompetent. How do I continue to trust you?”

Back to Thursday night: the longest night of my life. I spent it at Starbucks alone, but not alone. Oh there were the usual rodent population, both four-legged and two-legged variety. Fortunately, being homeless, I’m accustomed to their presence. Thanks to God I fear no man. The rodents have higher priorities than me: survival as they know it.

My fears originated within. Fear of my body’s response to my mind and vice versa.

Was it a surge in my adrenaline that triggered the “episode?”

What becomes of me- is my life even worth this struggle to remain among the living?

Would another experience in vulnerability lead me back to the place I do not trust or respect?

And If I should survive what do I say to my children about the world my generation leaves to them?

Am I too late to make a difference?

I got an answer to some of it. Before it say it, please permit me to preface it with a seat in front of a heavy trafficked coffee shop is not exactly prime location for epiphanies….

But here’s the Revelation “Stick to the plan.” Que sera, sera. Walk the path of a world changer and if you do, you will.

So I continue.

Nearly two years to the day I almost had attack number four. Where do I go? I live in undue (di)stress everyday dealing with people places and situations that normal domiciled people don’t – and a community that offers solutions like 10 housing vouchers a year to displaced disabled father’s of minor aged children when there are hundreds of us trying to reconnect with their families [As cited by my worker].

Am I frustrated? Yes.

Why should you care? Because what has happened to me can happen to anyone. And if those that can, refuse to walk the path of world changers, the world still changes.

Only for the worse.