Unseen Wounds Can Have Life-Changing Consequences

Joseph Hughes served as a quartermaster in the Navy from 1984-1988. After finishing his service, he returned to his hometown of Hot Springs and worked in shipping for a local supply house until a car accident broke his leg, ankle, foot and a bad concussion.  Two years later another concussion led to having seizures and memory loss.

Joseph spent six years in Ohio to receive specialized neurological care. He was placed on various medications and filed for Social Services Disability.  Once everything appeared settled, he moved back home.

“My mom died in 2013, and I started having a different type of seizure. I would sleepwalk, lose time and sometimes get aggressive. I wouldn’t remember any of it. I quit taking my meds, and things got worse.”

During one of these episodes, Joseph was arrested for aggravated assault. Unfortunately, no one knew his history, and no one thought to request medical records. “I spent a year in jail before the trial, and if someone had asked the prison staff, they might have been able to help. I had episodes during that year, and they would just put me in the sick wing and leave me alone until it passed. But no one asked. I took a plea bargain and spent another three years in jail.”

Joseph was released on parole in January and came to the VA to receive help with his neurological issues. “I stayed at the VA until the end of May, and they referred me to St. Francis House when I was discharged. I’ve reapplied for SSD, and I’m doing the paperwork for Medicaid and my Veteran benefits.  I want to go back to Hot Springs once that’s done and I’m financially self-sufficient. I want to rebuild my reputation in the community, let people know what really happened and what caused it. The VA and St. Francis House both do good jobs. Don’t break the rules and be honest with everybody and you do fine. I am ready to get back home though. I like to have time to myself so living with a group can be hard. Some days I go down to the river and sit and think.”

Thanks for sharing your story with us Joseph and we know that soon, you’ll have that time. Until then we’re glad you’re at St. Francis House!