Dezzy is thankful for the home she has found at Catholic Charities’ Higher Ground Saint Paul, an innovative housing and shelter complex which provides necessary programs and services for individuals on their journey from the streets to stability.
Dezzy is one of more than 200 individuals served in the Medical Respite wing since it opened in January, 2017. There, guests receive quality care which puts them on the road to health at a cost significantly less than repeated trips to medical providers.
Dezzy suffers from blood clots and severe allergies. She relies on a team of doctors and EpiPens to stay alive. She clearly remembers the May day when her heart stopped and she thanks God she survived.
“I gotta take it easy and not push myself,” she explained. She was revived last year and had to spend extensive time in a care facility learning to breathe, walk and talk all over again.
When she no longer required extensive care, Catholic Charities provided her with a roof over her head, a warm bed and hope for better days.
Her room at Higher Ground is the closest she’ll likely get to independence, as doctors have said she shouldn’t live alone and going to work is not feasible.
“I am too young to go to a nursing home,” she said.
At Higher Ground, she has her own room with the support system of Catholic Charities staff. She relies on her case manager Marik Armstrong and said simply being able to leave a voicemail is reassuring.
“I can leave a message and just know there is a support system when he comes in,” she said. “Every step of the way, the staff here has been awesome.”
While she relies on the support of Catholic Charities, Dezzy is working hard on her own behalf. She regularly goes for walks and watches her diet due to her extreme food allergies and is working hard to lose weight and live a healthful life. She attends the Arts and Crafts club in the community room where she can not only express herself creatively, but let the stress go as she creates.
In addition to physical issues, Dezzy has also had to deal with the trauma of domestic abuse, rape and family strife.
Dezzy said she has learned coping mechanisms and found new strength. “When I get down, staff always says to me, ‘Dezzy, look what you’ve overcome!’”
Indeed, Dezzy has overcome so much. She has lost more than 100 pounds and hear health is improving. Dezzy no longer has blood clots in her lungs, though they’re keeping watch on one outside of her heart.
While perhaps not the life she imagined, Dezzy is content and thankful for the blessings she enjoys.
“It’s not about material items. It’s about the man upstairs. Don’t give up. I’ve survived the odds and a lot of obstacles,” she said. “I’m a walking miracle. Catholic Charities has helped me so much.”