Harlon Matthews Was Shocked to Discover He Had Transverse Myelitis

Editor’s Note: After a major accident, illness or life-changing catastrophe, we have to find out who we are, who we are going to become and how we will get through life differently than originally planned. A wise person asks these questions and diligently searches for the answers to them. Some find the answers quickly, but for others, the answer takes longer. However, the answer is always there for those who seek it. Part 2 of a 5 part series.

As a teenager, Harlon Matthews was extremely athletic and excelled at football, basketball and baseball. “Our school was getting ready for spring football and actually had a scrimmage game on the Saturday that my life changed,” Matthews says. “I was staying home with my two sisters, Stephanie, who was 3, and April, who was 12. My mother was at work. I was walking across the street from my home to McDonald’s to get my sisters and me something to eat. I started to feel sick and very tired, so I sat down. When I tried to stand up, I couldn’t. I knew my sisters were at home by themselves, so I tried to drag myself back to the apartment.” Matthews realized he was in trouble. He managed to get someone’s attention and the paramedics and his mother were called.

Harlon Matthews was suddenly diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder.

Harlon Matthews was suddenly diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder.

Matthews was rushed to Clayton General Hospital, and after spending a few hours there, he was transferred to and then eventually to the ground floor there where Shepherd Center was located at that time. Matthews had no idea what was happening to his body.

After two weeks of waiting, Matthews was diagnosed with transverse myelitis.  The doctor said that he’d have paralysis, but weren’t sure how bad it would be. Matthews took hope in the fact that within 18 hours, after he’d felt the first effects of transverse myelitis, he then had mobility up to his left knee. He showed signs of recovery fairly quickly. Within a month, he could move his big toe on his right leg, but his right leg was coming back much slower. After a few months, he used crutches and wore a brace on his knee and an AFO brace that went from the top of his shins to the bottom of his foot, so that he didn’t drag his toe.

Within a year, Matthews could walk without crutches, but had a limp. He continued working long hours on his feet which was not good for his weakened body. Finally, he became so fatigued, that his legs did not work properly.

In late 2000, he became so tired while driving that he pulled over and fell asleep. When he woke up, paramedics rushed him out of the car and to the hospital. He learned that doing physical labor and not listening to the signals actually had worn out his lower body.

After eight months, Matthews was able to walk again, but was dependent on others to help him. He didn’t have a wheelchair or a car with hand controls. His boss, which happened to be his uncle, was not understanding about his condition at all and told him that he’d be demoted from his managerial position at work. The company also made the decision not to become wheelchair accessible once his insurance approved him to get a new everyday wheelchair.

Harlon was discouraged initally about his condition, especially since it negatively affected his work situation.

Harlon was discouraged initially about his condition, especially since it negatively affected his work situation.

Next: Harlon Matthews Gives Wheelchair Sports A Shot

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

One Response to Harlon Matthews Was Shocked to Discover He Had Transverse Myelitis

  1. kim Harrison says:

    Love the story I also live in GA and have Transverse Myelitis. I petitioned the state of GA and was able to pass Georgia Transverse Myelits Day every year on February 15th!, Love reading stories about others with TM.. thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: