Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Busiest Weekend of My Entire Life

Last July, Erin and I took the van to Cleveland for the first annual Medworks event. One thousand people without health insurance were seen by doctors and physicians and were able to get diagnosed and treated. A few had put off going to the doctor for so long that they were taken straight to the emergency room. It was a firsthand close-up experience with the horrible experiences of the uninsured.

The event was in July because of a swine flu related postponement. So by last weekend it was already time for Medworks: The Sequel.

But first Erin and I made our first trip to lovely Ashtabula County. We were hoping to take in the covered bridges and the wineries, but instead we went to a food distribution hosted by the Manna Food Pantry in Jefferson. We served a handful of clients there and then holed up in a local restaurant to take care of some office work from afar.

We got back into Cleveland at around 4pm, so I had some time to kill. Erin was with her family (she is a proud Clevelander) and I had the entire city at my feet. After a quick run at the hotel gym, I decided to take in my favorite activity in the world: going to a baseball game. The Cleveland Indians (yes, racist, I know) were in town to play American League Most Valuable Player Joe Mauer's Minnesota Twins.

Let me make this very clear: Baseball is the greatest game in the world and I am always super-excited to see a game in person. Even when, like here, my hometown team isn't playing. The crack of the bat, the smell of the grass, the poetry of the game. There's a reason fancy pants writers wax on about baseball.

Because of the Indians' on-field incompetence, amazing seats were cheap and easy to come by. I was right behind home plate and had my breath taken away by Justin Morneau's first inning home run. That's exactly why baseball is so great. You never know when you'll gasp in shock or admiration.

By 10:30 it was time to walk back to my hotel on Cleveland State's campus. I was approached by a scalper. Was I going to the show at Peabody's a block from my hotel? I didn't think so, but he handed me a free ticket anyways. I guess even scalpers need to pack it in eventually. Not one to turn down a free ticket (waste not, want not!), I walked into the middle of an extremely loud and extremely hairy band playing thrash metal. OK then. I hung around for 30 minutes and left when the band's set ended.

Finally, Medworks! Like last year's event, Medworks again had around 1,000 patients who went to receive some form of health care or check-up. Unlike last year's event, every single one of these patients wasn't led to our table to talk about benefits. Instead, social workers met with every patient and many led them to us if we could be of service. We spoke to around 150 people, but a staggering amount of them (Erin and I independently guessed around 75%) were eligible for a federal or state benefit. By eliminating the number of people that we were seeing that already had benefits, we were able to provide a more complete service while not leaning so heavily on volunteers.

After nine hours at Medworks on Saturday, my weekend got even crazier. A friend of mine from Columbus had secured two Cleveland Cavaliers tickets. As in, two playoff tickets. Playoff basketball. And unlike the baseball game, my hometown team was involved. My Boston Celtics were playing in Cleveland. I'd get to see them in person on an enemy's court.

Of course, when you're rooting for the away team in a packed crowd of more than 20,000, there are certain precautions that should be taken. I did not take any of them.

This happened:

guess what color the Celtics wear

After meeting up with my friend (a Cavs fan who probably immediately regretted offering me a ticket), we walked to downtown Cleveland. Every single place we went, we were followed by boos and hisses.

So, the game. I have never been to a playoff game in any sport and the intensity was incredible. My team lost, but it was well worth it to be a part of something like that. (And, post script, the Celtics won Game 2 in Cleveland and now have home court advantage, so, HA!).

But the night wasn't done! My friend is looking into Cleveland State for a Masters so we walked around campus and found a karaoke bar filled with theater kids. It was the strangest mix of people I had ever seen in one place. I joked that maybe all of the patrons were actually ghosts or lost souls, and that was before the woman in her wedding gown walked in. Alas, I never got the chance to sing. I put my name and song in, (Avril Lavigne's Complicated) but I had to get ready for Medworks in the morning. Once it got to midnight, I needed to get my rest.

So, after checking out the next morning, there was still another nine hours of Medworks and a two hour drive to look forward to. I really think we performed over 100 Quick Checks over the weekend and (atypically for most two day weekend events), Sunday was even busier than Saturday.

After leaving for Ashtabula County on Thursday at 2pm, I got back to my apartment on Sunday at 8:45pm. One concert, one baseball game, one basketball game, one gym visit, karaoke, a food pantry, and two days worth of one of the best events for low income Ohioans that the state has to offer. Action packed.

And I was so glad to get Monday off. I slept in.

No comments:

Post a Comment