Several years ago I was asked by one of my regular patients if I made home visits. I replied that I did when the situation called for it. He then asked what I was doing at lunchtime today. That day, he took me to meet a man named Jim.
Jim lived in a one-story ranch style home attached to the end of a 50-foot oxygen hose. The hose was attached to a machine that generated oxygen. Jim was captured in WWII and, while a prisoner of war, had pneumonia among other conditions. When he returned home, he worked refinishing gymnasium floors. As a result he was barely able to breathe at the time Jim and I met. He told me breathing to him was like trying to breathe through a drinking straw. He wanted to know if there was anything I could do to try to help him with the severe neck pain he was having. He was bluish in coloring due to the lack of oxygen.
I started working on Jim that evening after I finished with patients. I would go to his house three times per week. His neck pain improved, and he began to report that it was easier to breathe. Plus, his coloring was improving.
One day I received a call from Jim’s wife that he was in the hospital with pneumonia and would I consider coming there to help him. I did as requested and soon he was out of the hospital. I continued to make home visits.
One Monday evening as I arrived at Jim’s home, I noticed a lot of strange cars in the driveway. I carried my portable table to the door, which was answered by a crying woman. She apologized for not calling to cancel my visit because Jim was dying. I told her that I believed that I was supposed to be there, and she directed me to his bedroom.
Looking into that room revealed a panicked scene with Jim writhing on the bed fighting for air and his wife and daughter holding his hands. Jim was not on his foam wedge that he used to breathe better when he slept. He was too rigid.
At that moment, I had my biggest test as a chiropractor. I knew that he did not have the lung capacity for CPR, but I could not just stand there and watch. I said to myself, “You are a chiropractor, and you need to do what a chiropractor does.”
I analyzed what I needed to do and adjusted his axis. This produced immediate relaxation in him, and he calmed down. I was able to put the wedge under his back to help him breathe, then I did some lung reflex work on him as well.
Jim’s wife asked his daughter if she noticed anything different. His daughter replied that Jim’s hand was warming up. His wife said that was exactly what was happening to the hand she was holding.
After I did everything I could think of to help, I told Jim I would see him tomorrow night. He reminded me that I did not work on Tuesday afternoons. I smiled and told him that in this case I would be available. He thanked me for all I had done and for being his friend. We gave each other a hug, and then I went on home.
I found out from Jim’s family that Jim was able to get out of bed that evening. He then proceeded to talk with everyone there, saying what he had to say. Once he had done that, he laid back and calmly passed away. His family called to thank me for making such a bad situation better.
That night, I was shown what an adjustment can do—and that I had the courage to apply what I was taught. I am sure that my fellow chiropractors have their own stories like mine where they experienced the wonder of chiropractic. We have a wonderful gift in our ability to apply chiropractic for our patients, and we should how profound it can be.
Geoff Mohn, D.C. (Davenport ’85)