He appeared to be a paraplegic. His hands were cupped and he was unable to fully extend each finger as he sat quietly in his wheelchair. Urine soaked his jeans, but it was doubtful that he knew and he likely needed a catheter and a bag.
Paraplegic’s are typically paralyzed from their chest down, unable to move their legs due to a spinal cord injury. A loss of bowel and bladder control is quite common for many who are paralyzed, which is why they are often equipped with a bag for such bodily functions.
A man who was happily talking to him and pushing him down the street told us that he lives in the Nashville Rescue Mission when he is not overly intoxicated, but enjoys to have a few drinks when he is able to. My friend and I worked feverishly to put a pair of donated gloves on his hands and then a toboggan on his head in an attempt to stay warm.
Before we left he extended his arms and pulled us in tight for a hug and a nod of his head. He did not speak one word, he simply smiled and hugged.
“Morning drew on apace. The air became more sharp and piercing, as its first dull hue: the death of night, rather than the birth of day: glimmered faintly in the sky. The objects which had looked dim and terrible in the darkness, grew more and more defined, and gradually resolved into their familiar shapes. The rain came down, thick and fast; and pattered, noisily, among the leafless bushes.” ― Charles Dickens