ten Hut!

I am off Thursday to fly to Denver for my youngest boy’s graduation from high school.

I am turning into a xenophobe these days. I am perfectly happy here at the ranch, but being forced even to go to town becomes difficult for me. And driving to SA airport is way down on my list of fun things to do; not to mention being degraded and abused by the TSA.

But we sacrifice for our children don’t we? We give up pretty much anything to be sure that they are happy and healthy.

My youngest was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis when he was an infant. It is an incurable nerve disease that can two different types: NF1 and NF2, where NF2 is the more severe.

It can be caused by spontaneous genetic mutation at the time of conception (his case) or it is inherited from a carrier.

The symptoms are what they call cafe au lait birthmarks all over his body, and freckling in the armpits and groin area. The spots can turn into tumors that  grow from outside in, attaching themselves to organs.

Another symptom is curvature of the spine, which he has about a 13% deformity. Also, a slight learning disability is common, as with him, but here he is graduating.

He has been lucky; he has never had a tumor, although he has plenty of spots. From what I’ve read, if the person makes it through puberty without problems, then will probably be ok for the rest of his/her life…mostly.

NF2 is when the tumors grab hold, the curvature of the spine is so severe requiring surgeries to correct. My son has been lucky.

I found out through a third party that he has signed up to  join the Air Force. He has already taken his oath, and had his physical. What? How can that be?

I looked up the military specs for “being healthy” and NF was named as a disease that they would not allow a recruit to join with that history.

I finally got a call from him about graduation details, and the conversation got around to his joining the Air Force. I asked him how he passed a physical with his NF. He answered that his mother told him not to mention it, as did the recruiter.

I figure that if he gets in anyway, and they find out later, he could get into some real trouble with the military for falsifying his application, and perhaps even go to prison.

I do not know if the strenuous nature of basic military training would cause his NF to maybe “activate”. I don’t know, no one does. I am sure it would not be good for him.

He’s my baby boy, and I will have to bring this up when we’re out to dinner tomorrow night. It’s really too bad. He was really looking forward to it.

I never got into the military. I signed up for the draft in ’74 where I was classified a 1H, and the draft was discontinued later that year.

So, that is what is on my mind today and the rest of the weekend.

I will be glad to see my boys. It’s been over three years.


4 thoughts on “ten Hut!

  1. Your concern is, at least in my admittedly limited and 25 year out of date experience, correct. I was injured in USMC basic training and while being treated for the injury the Navy doctors determined I had at least 2 preexisting do curious which should have been deal breakers for enlisting. I told them the truth that I knew nothing about those conditions until they told me and I had assumed the medical exam at MEPS would have discovered them. After threatening to courts martial me for lying on my application they eventually relented and accepted that I never knew about the conditions. However because of the training injury I was unable to complete basic under my contract and was discharged under a formula known as “for the convenience of the government” which is a non conditioned discharge essentially meaning “thanks for your time but we no a longer want you but don’t want you to benefit from the last 4 months of your life so we I will act like this never happened. Here is a bus ticket and there is the main gate.” As an a uncharacterized discharge (neither honorable, general, other than honorable, dishonorable or the one they were really trying to avoid, medical) my discharge did not entitled me to any VA benefits but also was not a stone around my neck. Another recruit I met in the discharge platoon awaiting my papers out was not so lucky. Unlike me he was being discharged for lying on his intake application, not about a medical condition but a misdemeanor criminal conviction. Like your son, he was instructed to lie about it by his recruiter (likely so said recruiter could not a quota in those non war time days) and others, and he did. When it came out in the security clearance background conducted due to his MOS he was called on the carpet. He admitted to the lie. He was a good recruit, and would probably have made a great Marine, but was instead dishonorably​ discharged (which can have lifelong consequences). This after he testified against his recruiter who was demoted to private, sentenced to a period of confinement and then dishonorably discharged. Good luck talking to your boy. I applaud his desire to serve and hope he still gets the chance.

  2. Many congratulations X. Never served, but I do fill a lot of forms out dealing with the government in my job. They take that lying on documents seriously. Good luck taking him out of going through with it, but his condition sounds like something that would get him caught and in serious trouble.

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