Adam is a divorced, middle-aged man who has lived under a bridge somewhere in San Angelo for the past year. He has bone spurs in both feet making standing and walking very difficult. He is a diabetic and often shakes uncontrollably because he has no way to control his diet. The possibility of going into diabetic shock is constantly on his mind. He eats at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen every day which is usually the only meal he gets in a days time. Weekends are really hard, sometimes not having anything to eat except for an occasional orange or apple. He also suffers from several depression and other mental illnesses which he has recently been keeping under control (taking his meds as prescribed).
Sometimes suicide seems like the only way out when you are suffering from severe depression. Adam has had several stays at Big Springs and Rivercrest hospitals because of his mental illness and suicidal tendencies. Not being able to work because of the constant pain exacerbates his condition. He has been refused Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because of his admitted occasional use of marijuana which is the only thing that seems to give him relief from the constant pain caused by his bone spurs. He told me that he does not smoke cigarettes nor does he drink alcohol but will smoke marijuana when it’s available. Other pain relief medication is not within his means because of the cost.
One recent bright point in his life is when he received a restored bicycle from Rust Street Ministries a few weeks ago. He is now able to get around town without the intense pain walking causes him. Adam was one of the many people who received a free hair cut at The Ministerial Alliance. With his new bicycle, a roguish looking beard and a fresh haircut, Adam is ready to tackle life once again, albeit still living under a bridge.
I suggested to Adam that help is available for his bone spurs and that he contact the Wesley Nurse at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. She has a few options at her disposal, the most promising being a referral to the Department of Rehabilitative Services (DARS) where he can receive the medical care he needs (surgery to remove the bone spurs) along with training and job placement for a new career. With a job and affordable housing, Adam will be empowered to prepare his own meals to better control his diabetes and prevent the return of bone spurs in his feet.