Christopher Alan Benco, born July 4 1959. Chris has a number of health issues. Myloproliferate Polycthemia Vera Disease (which usually occurs in older men of 70 plus years - he is 56. It will turn into acute leukemia), has an immovable blood clot in his left arm. He is right handed and has suffered a number of TIAs causing partial paralize of his right arm and leg. He does not need constent care but he cannot do much without another's help.
Right now, he is merely renting a bedroom (on his extremely small disability) which is soon to be sold. He needs a real home where he can be more comfortable, not merely have kitchen priviledges and a shelf or two for food. He is close to being independant yet he needs help getting to doctors, shopping for microwavable food and getting medications. A two block walk is a 40 minute ordeal.
Since his first large stroke 5 years ago. He had been bed-ridden for a number of months in the hospital, having blood removed every three weeks or so to lower his red blood count, and unable to speak or move. He was unable to tell anyone my name, number or address and I was able to track him down thorugh an online magazine he use to frequent, although, that too was silent. I was able to go to "The Wooden Boat" site and ask if Chris could be found. With the help of that community, we were able to find each other.
His speech is somewhat slurred at this point and gets worse after an episode (last one was at the end of this past May). He can slightly move some of his right fingers but he must lift his arm and support it in some manner. He can shuffle to walk but cannot move up or down except for an occasional curb. He cannot manage any stairs. He also has sever neuropathy in his feet, legs and arms, causing a great deal of pain and sleepness nights. He has been unable to find a dentist on his own and he is in great need of dental work.
I went to visit him this past month and it nearly broke my heart to see him is such pain and his medical condition making it impossible to be the man he once was and to see his quality of life severly limited. I cried when I left and for many miles as I drove back to Ohio. I have tried a lot of ways to find a place that we can afford together. He has no friends, no companionship nor the simple touch of another's hand (even if it is his sister).
I wish to go to Florida and be his caregiver so that he does not have to swicth doctors. He needs a ground level home with laundry and to give him some quality of life, near or on a body of water or canal. I too am on Disability and have no savings. I am in Ohio and cannot easily find a place for him.
He is a lover of nature, especially aquatic, a fisherman and his primary work has been Sailmaking and canvas work. We both worked at Yardarm Sailmakers out of Needham Massachusetts. We worked on sails for wooden ships touring the carribean, many of the Tall Ships that can be seen at the "Tall Ship Parades". The USS Constitution, The Rose, The Rose Two and the one viewed world wide, the "Black Pearl" from the "Pirates Of The Carribean", among many, many others. Sailing clubs for youngsters hoisted our sails during their training.
He had been a fantastic artist with woodwork - finishing, boat construction and repair, traditional nautical knots, a great cook and reading. Right now he can barely move a mouse or work a keyboard and only with his left hand. He is trying to build a computer that will allow him to try to "play" games. He likes the farming and civilization games at the moment, where he can build a farm or village to cities.
I have Elhers-Danlos Syndrome. I experience disclocation of all my joints, with tearing of ligaments and tendons. Prolapse of bladder, uterus and kidneys. Arthritis in all of my joints with disintegration of my knee caps. I have just had shots of synvist in both knees and cortisone shots in my big toes. On top of all that, liver disease of unknown origin, pancreatitis, biliary stones and Major Depressive Disease.
My Disability payment is only enough for current rent, insurance and a juggling act for food and medications. It does not allow any savings but a few dollars a month. Nothing like what is needed to move both my brother and I and deal with the first, last and security payments and praying for a rental that we can cover.
Visiting my brother, in Florida, I found that my arthritis was less painful and I was able to cut down on medication. My disabilities force a sedintary life yet I can drive and I was able to give Chris rides to appiontments, more than his one shopping trip per month and some much needed companionship.
My life is quiet and simple. I spend my time gardening when my body allows it, a lot of reading, listening to audio books and I knit hundreds of scarves, hats, preemie hats, prayer shawls every year - all for charities. I also do some quilting at my home church. These go to world relief and help hundreds of families every year.
As I was driving home to Ohio It took me nearly 100 miles to come up with an idea to help him physically and mentally. He loves cats and dogs and being able to attempt to play and pet an animal is proven to help with depression and the improvement of physical movement. Neither one of us can care for an animal. There is not enough money for food, vet bills nor can we provide a home or a decent walk. But maybe there is a neighbor out there that owns a medium sized dog that can visit Chris for 15 minutes just a couple of days a week. Chris would remain seated as he has very little ability to keep his balance yet a medium dog pressing against his legs could help him move muscles that have forgotten how to tighten and flex. Petting and reaching for a furry back to hug, hold and touch could help with trying to gain better motor control of his left arm and maybe, just a little, with his right.