It’s the first cold day of the year so there are more people in the shelter, bringing their contraband with them too. Different pockets of the shelter smell different. The bottom of the stairs smells like Listerine. The bathroom smells like pot. Intox is full and their combined body odour smells like vomit. Or maybe someone vomited. Hard to tell.
I walk on the floor and the morning guy is standing with his hands on his hips and nods at a man on the floor in a green cap. He sighs. The man’s ass is all wet. It looks like he might have wet himself although he doesn’t stink, so he might have just sat in something. He’s rolling around in a bit of pain and keeps talking to himself, and crying, and stuttering. Other guys in Intox keep yelling at him to shut the hell up.
“The police just brought this guy in. I think he’s got some sort of multiple personality disorder or some shit. He keeps switching mid sentence between talking normal and this weeping shit. Well, he’s all yours.”
The morning guy leaves and the man on the ground calls me over. Sure enough he’s bouncing between two different voices.
“Excuse me, hello, yes I don’t mean to bother you but I I I I I I NNNNNNNEEEEDDD A AA OHOHOHOHOOOH OH HENRY BAR OH GOD, you see I have diabetes, and if MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM”
He reaches into his pocket while violently shaking and I tell him to give me $1.25 and I’ll go get him a chocolate bar.
“Thank you, it doesn’t have to IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE OH HENRY. ANYTHING CHOCOLATE. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! OH GOD! Thank you.”
I bring back a chocolate bar and he eats it. Then he needs to go to the washroom and he needs me to help him to his feet. He can barely stand up, and staggers his way into the washroom while holding onto the walls. I think if I were to ask him where he is he wouldn’t be able to tell me. When he returns he flops onto the floor again and is writhing in pain. Except when he’s in his calm voice, then the pain seems to subside momentarily.
“I NEED SUGAR! PLEASE! I’m a diabetic, you see. I don’t think you understand. That’s alright. I HAVE NARCOLEPSY. WHY DON’T YOU MOVE YOUR STUFF OUT JILL? WHY DON’T YOU MOVE YOUR STUFF OUT JILL? WHY DON’T YOU MOVE YOUR STUFF OUT JILL? Can you please get me some food with sugar?”
A coworker is visiting and goes up to the kitchen and, after arguing with the chef, the kitchen eventually relinquishes some strawberries and bread. The man eats some of these and falls asleep. Everyone assumed he was completely drunk off his ass when he was brought in. My coworker and I discuss it and reckon between his blood sugar levels and multiple personality disorder*, he likely isn’t very drunk at all. Just completely disoriented.
After an hour, when he wakes up from his nap, he’s fine. He’s able to stand up easily and walks away. I see him later in the evening too and he seems in a good mood.
*Interestingly, many medical professionals actually feel there is no such thing as multiple personality disorder.