Gary’s eyes gleam with joy as he tells of one of his most favorite celebrity encounters. He says he ran into world-famous at an event some 40 years ago. Back in the day, Gary was an avid tennis player, so confidently, he asked Mr. Connors if he would do him the honor of playing a set with him to which Mr. Connors agreed. Gary’s voice is happily animated as he tells me what a thrill it was to play him, and more so, beat the tennis superstar!
Every Penny Counts
“What I think is vital for people to know is that people in my situation or worse have health limitations,” Gary explains. “They have an inability to work or generate an income beyond social security – every penny counts. It’s sad that those people with health problems (like mine) have to worry more about money than about things that are right for them and that are necessary, such as meals, healthcare, etc.”
During the next 10 years, Gary got by, but his heart health issues and dental care problems persisted. In 2016, he underwent a triple bypass that left him in the hospital for five weeks. His sister flew over from England to be by his side. By then, while he was already on Medicare, she knew he would need much more to be able to live independently, particularly in San Francisco, so she got him enrolled in Medi-Cal to start.
When he got out of the hospital and returned to his apartment, he discovered it was extremely difficult to stand and cook for a long time. Even raising and holding his arm to shave was painful.
His sister did one other thing for him before she returned to England. She got him connected to Meals on Wheels.
“One of the great things about Meals on Wheels is that the food comes in containers that I can pop in the microwave,” says Gary. No dishes to wash. Even a small thing like that is meaningful to me.”
Peace of Mind
Gary now receives seven days’ worth of meals and sidebar items such as fruits, yogurts, and other items, each week. He says this helps him eat healthier and paired with the services, such as all provide him with peace of mind. He says his heart health makes it hard to exercise, and hard to walk his dog, Leo, whom he has had since 2017. But, if it weren’t for Leo, he wouldn’t get any exercise at all, and Gary very much enjoys the independence he has in getting out and walking Leo around some of his favorite dog parks in the City