Editor’s Note: On September 27, our Mobile Medical Intervention Team will receive the prestigious Champion of the Uninsured award during the 15th annual Champions of Health Gala in Oklahoma City. The gala will honor six winners for making a difference and improving the health of Oklahomans.
Sarah Locke is among the 72 patients who received as-needed medical and mental health consultation from the Mobile Medical Intervention Team during the first half of 2018.
“When we first met Sarah, she was experiencing chronic homelessness and the inability to access health care on a regular basis,” said Jacki Sauter, of the team. “This made her chronic conditions almost unmanageable. Since we started working with her, we’ve been able to connect her to a regular source of medication as well as mental health and physical health. We’ve seen a dramatic improvement in her health.
This is Sarah’s story in her own words.
By Sarah Locke
I am now housed in a safe and beautiful home. I feel so very grateful but it’s not always been like that. After my mother passed, my depression continued to spiral and I ended up making some unhealthy decisions about where I was living and became homeless. The people who I have encountered with mental health — Jacki and Whitney — I wouldn’t be alive without them today.
I was raised in a traditional home and went to college. Then, I became a nurse, made money and was successful. I then went into sales selling heart pumps. I was blessed to travel the world and I got to see a lot of things, but I didn’t develop a community and a family.
My Mother’s Death
When my mom died, I took a real turn from my mental health perspective. I really suffered with deep, deep depression. It just really took it out of me. I was like a lost little girl.
I came back to Oklahoma from the East Coast and took my nursing back up. Eventually, my depression and life challenges caused me to end up without a safe place to live.
No Longer Taking Things for Granted
I had always thought I’d be able to make more money and have jobs. I was taking so much for granted then. Today, I don’t do that because I was homeless for two years. I lived at the shelter where I couldn’t walk because my hip would not support me. I was on a walker. I’ve since received one hip replacement but will need my other hip replaced soon. The Mobile Medical Intervention Team is working to connect me to pro bono hip replacement. I hope that one day, maybe I get this second hip done, that I’ll be able to go back to work. I want to go back to working and give back.
I call Jacki and Whitney, of the Mobile Medical Intervention Team, “my girls.” I really admire them. They are blessing us as they come to see us in our Mental Health Association apartments.
I had a bad skin cancer on my chest and they facilitated me getting into a dermatology clinic and having it removed. I have fallen down because of my bad hip and they’ve always been here to help me.
Jacki and Whitney are like my family. They’re so sweet and they know what they’re doing, they really know. That’s something to hear a former nurse say about another group of providers.
I am blessed. I want to provide the kind of support that Jacki and Whitney have given me. I want to do that for someone else. I want to be there to hold their hand.