Local man fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease

Hogan: ‘I will accept prayers’

When Morgan Hogan of Des Allemands was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s or ALS disease last year, a man full of life who loved to work and help others became the one who needed help.

“You go from one extreme to the other extreme,” said Hogan’s wife, Darlene, weeping over how their lives have changed. “He can’t go fishing with his sons anymore. He’s depressed. He used to do bass fishing tournaments to help others and he cries that he can’t do that anymore.”

Before Hogan’s health issues began, he made custom cabinets and he did it well.

“As years went by, he decided he wanted to go into this because people told him all the work he could do with this hands and he decided to go into custom cabinets,” Darlene said.

The business was called Hogan and Sons in Paradis, located near the Dollar Store on U.S. Highway 90. Hogan ran it with his two sons, Scott and Joby for eight years.

When asked why they didn’t charge for the work as much as competitors, Darlene wept as she explained, “ … because we like to help out people that wanted something. We weren’t in the business to be overnight rich. We helped people.”

But that’s when Hogan’s heart problems occurred and led to a major heart attack that resulted from seven blockages.

“He’s lucky to be living through all of this,” Darlene said.With Morgan unable to manage the business and the sons unable to run it by themselves, they agreed to sell it.“After that, that’s when things started to go downhill,” she said. “That’s when he [Morgan] started falling. We didn’t understand what was going on with him.”

Morgan wasn’t telling them about his falling.

“We were wondering why he had cuts and bruises,” she said.

A medical check verified his heart wasn’t the problem.

After seeing 21 doctors, it wasn’t until September of last year the answer finally came – ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. “That’s when he told us that it was just a matter of time,” Darlene said. In just the time it took to get the diagnosis, Morgan had gone from being disabled in one arm and hand to being unable to walk in that time.

Their situation worsened when Darlene herself was diagnosed with two kidney tumors.

Their lives are now about frequent doctor visits because Morgan’s constant falling also lent two rotor cuff injuries and a torn ligament in his left knee in addition to his medical problems that have left him in constant pain. With ALS, the doctors have advised against putting him through surgery.

“They feel your muscles and nerves are dying. Why spend thousands of dollars?” Darlene said she was told.

Morgan is in constant, severe pain. Pain management isn’t working and he’s unable to undergo therapy.

Their daughter was trying to help by raising $5,000 to buy a used handicap van to help her father travel to the doctor. Darlene’s father intervened and bought the van only to discover it needed considerable work. This cost in addition to thousands in medical bills and a leaking roof have left the Hogans struggling.

Morgan returned to the hospital, this time with blood clots.

While there, the ALS Association asked what his dream was, Morgan said he wanted to ride a train and they said they’d help, but it couldn’t be done. They were told Amtrac declined to provide any assistance even for people with disabilities.

“All he wants to do is ride on the train,” Darlene said. “He just asked for a ride to anywhere.”

Morgan recounted seeing the Amtrac trains passing near their house and seeing the people wave to them.

“All he says is, ‘I want to ride a train,” she said.

Morgan, who has typically been the one helping others, said the one thing he will certainly accept from everyone is their prayers.

About Anna Thibodeaux 1926 Articles
Managing Editor

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