June 30, 2016
“Everything,” Tom Wesley answers when I ask what’s ailing him. Diabetes. Multiple heart attacks. Chronic liver failure. “They’ve told me I’m dying.”
Wesley, a towering man in a salmon-colored corduroy shirt buttoned just at the top, is only 54. But for most of his adult life, he lived on the streets. He refused to stay in shelters because he didn’t like the structure; he says he also spent a significant time behind bars for heroin possession. “You could say I was using heroin,” Wesley says with a smirk. “But I don’t know who was using who—it sure used me up.”
He quit a few years ago—after losing two wives to overdoses. Around that time Wesley’s health problems started getting worse. Last year, a terrible pain in his abdomen brought him to San Francisco General Hospital, where he says he was admitted, via the emergency room, seven times in a matter of three months. At that point he was already used to the ER, having relied on it instead of primary care. “I wasn’t one for doctors,” he says. Click here to read the full article.