When King David “KD” Davis scratched his lower left leg on a pipe 30 years ago, he didn’t know the resulting wound would trouble him for decades.
Despite treatment over the years, his wound never fully healed and by 2010 turned septic.
By the time he came to the Ascension Via Christi St. Francis ER for treatment, “I was almost too weak to walk,” says KD, who by then was homeless and living out of his truck.
KD was admitted and spent three days intubated in a coma-like state. Having been unable to shower for more than two weeks, he came to and was bathed by a nurse whose compassion left an enduring impression.
“I could feel that spirit through her touch,” he says, adding that he not only began his physical healing at that time, he also began feeling like a person with value.
Starting at the bottom
The kindness he experienced at the hospital led to improvements in both his physical and mental health. Says KD: “When you’re at the bottom like I was, you tend to stay at the bottom. You succumb to the stigma of the homeless lifestyle.”
By July 2018, the infection once again returned and KD began receiving treatment at St. Francis’ Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Therapy Clinic, staffed by doctors, nurses and therapists with specialized training in treating chronic wounds like KD’s. He now is seen at the clinic twice a week, where the team cleans, measures and debrides his leg ulcer and then applies fresh dressings and a layered compression wrap.
“KD and the staff have gotten to know each other in such a kind, professional and friendly manner,” says Marilee McBoyle, MD, Medical Director of the Wound Healing Clinic.
Despite the tedious healing process, some healing came in different forms. “Even though the physical healing is still happening, the staff helped me with the healing of my heart, mind, self-esteem and self-respect,” says KD.
In return, KD recently showed up at the clinic with token of his gratitude: A bucket of vibrant, white chrysanthemums in full bloom.
“When KD walked in with those flowers, we all paused and felt the magnitude of what we had given to him,” says McBoyle. “His attached message equally touched our hearts and has been read over and over.”
KD, who teared up at the sight of the staff’s reaction to his gift, says he can’t provide gifts to every associate who helped him, but hopes the message will spread. “I want Ascension Via Christi staff, from the doctors who treated me to those who changed my bed linens, to realize their small acts of kindness changes the lives of people like me every single day,” he says.
While he appreciates the entire team, Dr. McBoyle remains his favorite.
“She is a shining example of what it means not only to be a doctor, but also a healer,” says KD. “She’s humble, she treats you like an important person and she leads a unit full of people just like her.”
Paying it forward
As KD continues his treatment, he says he plans to continue paying the gift of heart forward, “especially to those who have tough days and continue to treat patients with unwavering kindness.
“I hope to recreate the healing therapy others gave me and hope my gift continues to give to the amazing associates at Ascension Via Christi. To me, wealth isn’t the things you have but the appreciation of what we have, and this place is rich in healing and kindness.”