On January 23rd, our Outreach team had to travel by boat to see a patient. Yes, a boat. It was an aluminum boat that perfectly fit three people. Terry, our Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Melody, our Medical Assistant of our Mobile Medicine team went to service a patient, located at an area called “The Island,” about a half mile from where our Health on Wheels (HOW) was parked. Terry has traveled many times in a boat, so he was comfortable with this type of traveling and Melody was excited to go on an adventure.
As seen on the picture on the right, they were guided by a homeless woman, who’s not an Elica patient, but she knew how to get to the patient who resides at “The Island.”
When arriving to this patient, a 58-year-old homeless male, who has been receiving treatment from Elica for approximately one year, has now become a regular patient our Outreach team tries to see weekly. He’s on top priority of the Outreach weekly rounds as he is someone needs to be indoors as he’s recovering from a recent hospitalization. But this patient refuses to be indoors, so Elica provides him with as much treatment and support as medically possible in his tent.
Melody said, “This patient always makes us feel welcomed! He smiles from ear to ear, calls us by our first name and always asks how we are doing.”
The patient was unaware there was a boat this year but nonetheless, he was happy and thankful to see our Outreach team and receive services. Terry and Melody saw him for about thirty minutes, providing him with a nebulizer treatment and a B12 injection.
As seen in the video above, there is a string Terry is holding onto as it leads him to the patient. The area becomes an island when it rains and floods, so that is how and why our Outreach team traveled by boat to service the patient.
To quote Melody, “Street Medicine isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is comfortable working in the conditions we work in Winter (rain, cold, windy), Summer (100+ degree weather with our 22-pound medical bag climbing up hills), and not everyone is comfortable with the population of people we work with. We have to remember they are still people. The most rewarding thing for me is building trust. I have been with Street Medicine going on three years and never encountered a situation I was afraid to be in. Our patients are always so respectful, grateful, and even in their circumstances, humble. Working in Street Medicine has made me appreciate the things I have. I’m lucky, grateful, and blessed to be able to do what I do.”
We thank you, Melody, for doing what you do for Elica, for the patients, especially their health and well-being.
Terry said, “The care we provide in Outreach at Elica has its greatest impact on how we connect with the people where they live. This connection may take several visits to gain their trust. It may be medical, psychosocial, or even a simple cup of soup. There is such a great need in the Sacramento area and our goal is always to reach the most, do the most, and leave them in a better place.” Beautifully said, Terry!
Thank you to Terry and Melody, this truly showcases Elica’s missions and values of “Healing with Heart.”
We strive to provide high quality, affordable health care for underserved populations, who are confronted with barriers to accessing care.