Hi, my name is Angel. I need a pig valve
I picked up a client while driving for ride-share who is struggling with addiction. His drug use had gotten so bad that he needs a pig valve replacement but his religion(Jehovah Witness )does not allow one to replace their organs due to the belief that other people’s organs should not be in your body.
At first I thought the reason would have been because some religions such as Islam believe it’s forbidden to place pig organs in one’s body.
Angel told me his addiction was heroin and his use of needles is what caused the infection, endocarditis.
We had a discussion about whether it’s true that hepatitis can be caused by using other people’s needles. I told him the story of how my uncle was a hippie in the 70’s and how he contracted Hepatitis. And Angel insisted that people don’t contract Hepatitis from re-using their own needles but from other people’s.
Angel used to go to treatment for eight hours a day, five days a week, but now he only goes for three days a week(six hours per day) and he’s hoping to minimize that time to one day a week .
“They make it impossible to work and qualify for programs that are income-based in Minnesota,” he said.
Addiction Minnesota is a program that also helps subsidize Angel’s rent . This rehab program helps him get things like food stamps (he was shocked to find that his food stamps were cut off once he started working).
“Does the program pay for your ride-shares?” I asked.
“No, but I got money. I’m working so I can afford ride-shares.”
“My surgery is going to cost $25,000. If I don’t get the surgery my heart will shut down,” he said, “But the surgery has two methods. “One is minimally invasive with a slit to the chest and the other is one where they have to cut the chest open from top to the bottom, and I hope I don’t have to get that one, because I already have a lot of scars.”
I’m not sure how we managed to talk so long about his drug addiction but I know that the ride-share app mentioned Addiction Minnesota and I made a joke and was like “Well it’s obvious where you’re going.”
I asked him how his recovery was going (a small assumption). I told Aaron how we often take heroin addictions to treatment centers.
“You’re one of the most clever people I met,” I said to Aaron.
“Well, I have to be,” he said. He went on to say how he is hoping to clean up his act.
“I wasn’t always smart. I had different life priorities,” he said.