Couple faces an uphill battle: Green faces long road to recovery from Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis
WORTHINGTON -- Officer Chad Green was on patrol on a Monday evening last February when he was dispatched to the scene of an accident on the highway south of Worthington near the "Flasher Light" junction.
A pickup truck had rolled over twice and landed upside down in the southbound lane of the highway. The driver was injured and an ambulance crew took him to the hospital.
A lot of people responded including deputies from the Greene County Sheriff's Department, officers from the Worthington Police Department (WPD), Greene County EMTs, first responders and firefighters from both Switz City and Worthington, along with Green, who was a reserve officer for the WPD at that time.
The truck was carrying a load of rabbit feed, and rabbits.
Green remembered, "There were rabbits scattered all over!"
Green helped with picking up the rabbit feed and as things wrapped up, headed back to his patrol car.
"I was walking across the highway going back to the car, when my feet started dragging," said Green.
Remembering that night, he said he would pick his feet up like normal, but his legs wouldn't lift high enough and his toes were dragging the pavement with each step. He didn't know why.
"It was embarrassing," said Green. "I didn't know what was going on."
He looked around to see if any of the other officers noticed that he wasn't walking right.
When both he and Deputy Marshal Don Richardson got back to the Worthington Police Department, Green told Richardson something wasn't right, he didn't feel good and he needed to go home.
That was the last night of patrol duty for Officer Green.
"When I woke up the next morning, I tried to get up. But I couldn't walk," said Green.
He has since been diagnosed with Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system.
Symptoms of MS may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.
In Green's case, it hit him fast and it hit him hard. He's confined to a wheelchair.
About a week or so before working that accident scene, he'd been to the WalMart Vision Center for a checkup and everything was fine.
Four days later, he noticed his vision was getting blurry in one eye. He thought a high pressure weather system might be to blame but he went back to see the optometrist. He was told to see a specialist right away because one of his optic nerves was extremely swollen.
Visits to a neurologist followed along with MRIs on his spine and brain, tests, tests and more tests, infusions and injections.
For six months, Green was giving himself an injection of steroids every other day.
Over the last few months, there have been times when he felt like he was getting a little better then he would backslide.
Whenever he has been able to take a few steps, it's extremely difficult.
"It's like walking uphill through two feet of snow," said Green.
He's been in pain and extreme discomfort every day for months.
"It's like my hands are asleep and my joints are glued together," said Green.
His legs won't work, he can't move his toes, his ankles and his feet are asleep all the time and he has constant pain in his hands and wrists.
When looking at a checklist of various possible symptoms of MS, he can check all the boxes.
Green is only 25-years-old. He grew up in Cicero, the son of a Greene County native. He spent summers and weekends helping his grandpa on the family farm in Smith Township and loved every minute of it.
Green's wife, Jaimie, is 21-years-old. She grew up in Arcadia.
The two met in high school and married in July 2006.
Jaimie was a city girl but she too fell in love with life on the farm and in September 2006, they moved into a house next door to Green's grandmother on the farm.
By October, Jaimie had landed a job as a teller at the main branch of MainSource Bank in Linton, where she currently works full-time, and Chad became a reserve officer in Bloomfield.
In the summer of 2007, Green became a full-time officer with the Bloomfield Police Department.
Early in 2008, Green attended the police academy but came down sick with a viral infection and wasn't able to finish.
In March 2008, he started a full-time job as a security guard at Greene County General Hospital and also became a reserve officer in Worthington, which was an unpaid, volunteer position.
Green's regular schedule was to work about five hours for the WPD then go to the hospital in time to work the night shift.
The Greens have medical insurance but it doesn't cover all their expenses plus there's the loss of Chad's full-time income.
Besides financial distress, Green struggles every day to keep his chin up and maintain hope for the couple's future.
Jaimie has had to learn how to drive a fence post and toss out hay while her husband watches and feels helpless. On Tuesday, Green posted a picture on his Facebook page of Jaimie learning to drive a tractor.
He says she hasn't complained but it bothers him.
"I tell her all the time I'm sorry," said Green.
Early in October, Green started a new therapy that requires him to go to the Bloomington Infusion Center for an infusion of medication every 28 days.
"It's supposed to stop it -- put it in remission," said Green.
The cost of each infusion is over $7,000 and it's not known how long it might take before he sees results.
After the first infusion, Green reported his vision had improved but he still wasn't able to walk.
Faith, and a positive attitude, is said to help the healing process and Green has that. He believes the new treatments are going to work and that he is going to get back up on his feet again.
Suggestions that he might never be back up to par again, should just go on disability and collect a check every month don't sit well with Green.
"No. I want to go back to work. I want to go back to work at the hospital. I love what I'm doing, I love all the people I work with and I want to be a police officer. And I want to be able to take my wife out to dinner again," said Green.
The community is invited to a "Benefit Dinner for Chad Green" featuring an auction and a beans and cornbread dinner on Nov. 6 at the Greene County Fairgrounds. For more information, see the "Benefit Dinner for Chad Green" event page on Facebook or contact Officer Eric Floyd at 384-5909 or Officer Don Richardson at 798-1068.