Empty Stocking: Seizures leave dad unemployed

LIMA — Josh used to make his living on the road until a seizure brought everything to a halt.

Josh and his wife, Barb, had been able to make ends meet for their family, which includes Katie, 8, Tiffany, 8, and Steve, 6, thanks to Josh’s job as a transport driver and Barb’s work as a preschool teacher. During a trip in February, however, the family’s financial outlook turned on a proverbial dime.

“I ended up going into a full-blown grand mal seizure as soon as I hit Troy on Interstate 75,” Josh said. “So I’ve been off work since February.”

A grand mal seizure involves loss of consciousness and violent contractions.

Barb’s work suddenly became the family’s sole source of income, and even that income was reduced once the summer months hit, leaving unemployment payments of $160 per week, with Josh all the while still suffering from two to three seizures per day.

“After all of our bills, I had to go up to the VA and ask for some assistance,” Josh said. “We were fortunate that, for one month, they paid our rent, gas, water and electric and gave us some food vouchers.”

After examinations in Columbus, it was determined that Josh’s seizures were episodic, meaning that, with medication, he was able to reduce the frequency of them to one to two per week. This meant on one hand that he could look for work, but it also meant he could not gain any disability benefits.

“When I was off work, I felt so small,” Josh said. “When I was growing up, my dad was the breadwinner, and also my grandfather, and I couldn’t do that.”

After cutting as many costs as possible, the family has been getting just enough to pay their bills and have some food, leaving nothing to help give the children a good Christmas.

“I even told my wife, ‘Don’t get me anything,’” Josh said. “I want the kids to have a good Christmas.”

Katie, who loves the color pink, art supplies and crafts, wears size 5-6 pants, size 6-7 shirts and youth size 12 shoes. Tiffany, who enjoys Legos, Barbies and Monster High, wears size 8 pants, size 7-8 shirts and size 2 shoes. Steve loves radio control cars and monster trucks, as well as Legos, and he wears size 7 pants, size 7-8 shirts and size 2 shoes.

One piece of good news the family just found out recently was that Josh was hired for seasonal work, but it was not clear how soon he would be able to start.

“The light’s at the end of the tunnel,” Barb said. “We’re just not sure how far away it is.”

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By Craig Kelly

[email protected]

The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies, Bradfield Community Center, Mizpah Community Center and the Salvation Army. Money can be donated by sending it to The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, OH 45807, or by dropping it off at any Superior Credit Union branch. Donations of toys and nonperishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy. See past stories at LimaOhio.com/tag/emptystocking.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.