The Fall and Rise of Mr. C

A Member Story

In 2005, when he was just about 20 years old, Mr. C was hanging cameras for a security company when he fell off a ladder. It was an accident that would change the course of his life for the next 15 years. Broken bones and a punctured bladder landed him in a Philadelphia hospital, where, while being treated, he suffered kidney failure.

Mr. C was released with some medical orders and a prescription for painkillers. His youth, lack of a primary care physician, and no care coordination from the hospital led him back to work, with random visits to the emergency department when he needed medical care. Mostly, he relied on Oxycontin for pain relief and his own wits to combat the anxiety and PTSD related to his accident. It is no surprise that this coping method led to addiction, which led to further trouble.

A decade and a half later in June 2021, at age 35, Mr. C came to us after multiple episodes of syncope. He’d passed out from a drop in his heart rate or blood pressure. While in the hospital, doctors took note of his advanced kidney disease and put him on hemodialysis. Fortunately, he was referred by his insurance company to AbsoluteCare.

Once Mr. C became a member of our Philadelphia center, we were able to help with every aspect of his life to get him back on track. When AbsoluteCare’s Behavioral Health Care Manager, Wesley Perry, first met Mr. C, he learned that Mr. C had been warned of impending eviction from his apartment. It was being demolished and had no running water, so it had been condemned. The City kept changing the date by which he’d have to leave, and it went on like that for many months. So Wes began scouring the city to find him adequate housing.

But there were additional challenges. Mr. C would be moving with his pregnant girlfriend, which altered a few details in the housing search. Once a place was secured, Wes learned that Mr. C had just adopted a pit bull puppy. The City gave Mr. C one week’s notice, so Wes found a short-term solution in a Philadelphia hotel that allowed pets. Mr. C located a room for rent on his own and took it, but a few days later, Wes found him, his girlfriend, and the puppy living in Mr. C’s car. He hadn’t told the landlord about the dog.

Wes found a place for the whole family relatively quickly, using our Member Fund to secure food and pay for two months’ rent and a security deposit. Because of Mr. C’s drug history and other issues with credit, his girlfriend’s name had to be on the lease.

Since moving to his new home in October, Mr. C has maintained his healthcare appointments, kept up his monthly rent payments, has not been to the hospital ED once, and has stopped using drugs. Gabapentin is prescribed for his pain. His job—now in home improvements—values him so much that he is allowed time off to attend his girlfriend’s obstetrician appointments. He remains upbeat and drug-free.

And when he is plagued by the PTSD and anxiety related to the trauma of his fall, he does what he needs to do not to mess up. “Addiction is always in the front of his mind,” says Wes, “so he doesn’t forget. And when he’s having a bad day, he calls. ‘I just wanted to let you know I was having a bad day. If I tell you, I’m less likely to do something.'”

Mr. C and his girlfriend’s baby is due in April. The team at our Philadelphia center has already sent him a basked of necessities for the new baby.