They used to call him the golden child.
A blond, mop-top, happy-go-lucky kid, who seemed to excel at everything he did, whether it was athletics or school work. He had a photographic mind, would spend
countless hours studying how things worked. Taught himself to sign language at age sevenm, just because,
I called him 'my duck,’ because nothing ever seemed to affect him. He just seemed to let everything roll off his back.
I always knew he had an aptitude for mechanical work, and was working hard to become a welder and a crane operator. I was over-joyed when he found a job working on industrial grain dryers, but when work slowed down he was forced to go on unemployment. It was about that time when his truck broke down, and without any steady income we had to loan him our spare car to get around, so he could look for work.
In May he was able to get a temp job, through an agency, working for a large, well known business in their Shelbyville plant. For Luke, that is where the nightmare truly began.
The company required him to wear ear protection, a kind he was not used to wearing. Almost immediately, he began to suffer from nausea and intense dizziness. He had to go to the local emergency room twice, where he was misdiagnosed as having a severe case of vertigo and was placed on medication. The ER doctor believed that the ear protection may have caused some irritation of his inner ear, bringing on the symptoms. He said it would just take time. As a result, he lost a couple of days of work. When he returned, he was working on his blanking machine, when it began again. This time, the nausea was so intense, that I received a call from his job saying they were taking him to the ER. When I got
there, he still hadn’t been taken and he looked deathly ill. We immediately took him back to our ER for treatment. This time a CT scan was done, but nothing was detected.
After a few days he returned back to work. After four hours into his shift, he was called into the office
and fired. Apparently he had violated the temp agencies policy regarding absences from work, even though the last absence was at the direction of his supervisor at company he was working for.
He began looking for work almost immediately,l even signing on with another temp agency, but his symptoms persisted. He was now having difficulty walking and his speech was becoming impaired.
We took him to another doctor who assessed him and immediately recommended him to see a neurologist. At that time the doctor believe he might be suffering from focal seizures. It was during this period that the vehicle he was using broke down, (repaired later at a cost of $500).
On September 5th, he had to go to Springfield for an interview with unemployment. The temp agency was alleging that they had in fact not fired him and were contesting his unemployment benefits. Because his vehicle was inoperable, we went and picked him up to take him in for his appointment, as they were now saying he owed them over $1,000 in an over payment. When we got to his house, he could barely walk. We took him to the ER in the largest city by us, about 45 minutes away. They assessed him as a severe fall risk and he was admitted. That evening he was administered a CT scan and an MRI with contrast.
That evening the ER doctor came in and spoke the words that would devastate our world. Luke was preliminarily diagnosed as having Multple Sclerosis (MS). The MRI had shown abnormalities, lesions in the brain consistent with MS. He was admitted to the hospital for further treatment. While he was there, his condition worsened and he lost vision in his left eye. He spent ten days in the hospital and was discharged worse than when he came in!
The initial diagnosis was confirmed by the neurologist a few days later. He will have to give himself injections three times a week for the rest of his life. The medicine alone will run quite a bit of money. They have programs to help with this expense, but again, we do not know how much It will cost out of pocket. We want to get him started sooner, rather than later and waiting for the papoerwork to go through could waste precious time.
Since his released from the hospital, he requires either a walker or cane to get around in his home, he still cannot see, and is still undergoing physical therapy. His expenses have been mounting. Unfortunately, since he cannot work, he has lost his unemployment benifits. There is no state level monetary assistance that he qualifies for and he has had to file for SSI. This however can take quite a long time (months, maybe years) to be reviewed and we have no idea if or what he will be eligible to receive. He just wants to be able to live on his own and one day return to work. His landlord is very understanding, but each month he cannot pay his rent and utilities, just causes him more stress and that is one thing he needs to keep under control.
I’m asking that you please share this with your family and friends. We have no idea how long it will take to stabilize him, to the point that he can even think about work or if he will be able tio do the same type of work or if he will need to go back to school to retrain for something else. He is still paying on the student loan ($2,000) he took out to learn welding. He still needs to pay to have his vehicle fixed (it needs a new engine, see above), so when the time comes, he can look for work again. Our medical insurance should provide coverage for his hospital bills, but he does not have any prescription coverage. This also doesn’t include his rent, utilities, etc.
I have probably repeated myself many times in telling his story, but as a mom you want the best for your children and you suffer right along with them when something like this happens. I want to thank each and every one of you in advance for helping my son should you choose to, if not please keep him in your prayers and may God richly bless you all!
At 23, his life has been irrevocably altered and changed.
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