Teen recovers from West Nile fever | NevadaAppeal.com

Teen recovers from West Nile fever

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

A Winnemucca teen who spent six days at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center recovering from meningitis brought on by West Nile fever is back at home, tired but ready to start the school year.

The family has opened a medical fund at Bank of America to help his mother, Lula Neal, cover medical costs and pay for back-to-school supplies for Joey.

Joey Neal is one of 11 cases of West Nile virus to hit rural Humboldt County since July, the beginning of the season. Humboldt has the highest number of cases of the mosquito-borne virus so far.

The total number of human cases of the virus is 26, up from nine this same time last year. Carson City has two human cases of West Nile virus reported so far. The season ends in October.

“I’ve had a hard time convincing him he’s sick,” she said Tuesday about her 14-year-old son. “He gets up and thinks he has all this energy. He went for a walk yesterday with friends and came back with a red face and was exhausted. Today, I wouldn’t let him leave the house.

“My stomach is in knots. I want him to get better.”

Doctors released Joey from the Carson City hospital on Friday night. He’s expected to recover fully with rest and start his freshman year at Lowry High School in a few weeks.

Her son’s illness and the costs associated with it has been a nightmare, Neal said.

Joey is on Medicaid, but it’s unclear how much of his bills will be covered. She works about two nights a week as a waitress and sells Avon.

“I’m a single mom and taking a week off work just killed me,” she said. “Plus I spent money in Carson, school is starting, and I’ve got nothing for him.”

Darlene Derington, Joey’s oldest sister, set up a medical fund for him and has raised $300. Derington lives in Pacific, Miss., and felt this was the one way she could help her family from so far away.

“My mom really struggles,” Derington said. “She has always been a hard worker. She makes things for people, bakes for people. My mom would never ask anybody for anything. When this happened to my brother I got scared because I knew I did not have the means financially to help her.”

Contributions can be made to the Neal medical fund at a local Bank of America branch.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1 212.

You can help

Make contributions to the Joseph Neal Medical Fund at a Bank of America branch router no. 081000032, account no. 003541687866