Breathing Freely

Margarine. A nearly empty bottle of ketchup. Frozen bottled water. This was all the social worker discovered on her first visit to Jim’s* home. As she discussed Jim’s medical and equipment needs, all Jim and his wife could ask were “What will it cost us?” 

At 63, Jim could barely breathe without an oxygen mask and he needed oxygen almost constantly. Their electric bill had doubled due to his breathing needs.  Aside from this, they had to cope with their mentally ill son, who lashed out, physically assaulting Jim at one point. The situation was dire and comfort seemed like a luxury the couple would never be able to afford. 

The social worker and the Nathan Adelson Foundation went to work. The social worker brought a refrigerator’s worth of food and was able to connect them with Three Square to ensure they would no longer worry about food. WalMart gift cards and assistance with electric bills also allowed them to begin to focus on Jim’s care instead of bills.


The clinical team adjusted his medication and got him to the point of breathing without the constant use of the oxygen mask, decreasing his anxiety and pain. The heartbreaking choice to file a restraining order against the son was devastating, but the social worker and others supported them throughout the ordeal.


Jim’s wife’s eyes filled with tears as she thanked the social worker. “Why would anyone do this for us? I can’t believe it! You’ve helped save our lives!” 


We are honored to help our community during the most vulnerable of times do whatever is needed to make sure no one ends the journey of life alone, afraid or in pain. 


*All patient names changed to protect privacy