A spirited 5 ½-year-old, Reuben Hacker loves trains, monster trucks and Star Wars. He has miniature ponies, an infectious smile and a larger-than-life personality.
He also has a rare genetic disorder from the 13 genes he’s missing on his 17th chromosome. The disorder affects Rueben in many ways, including too-soft cartilage in his throat that requires a tracheostomy.
Mattoon-Charleston area mom Chelsie said Reuben hadn’t been able to talk for two years. During surgery in April, though, his care team got much-needed air to travel to his vocal cords.
Still, Reuben needs several pieces of lifesaving medical equipment, which makes the Hackers glad Carle Medical Supply re-located to Mattoon on Lerna. Now they have easier access to what they need so Reuben can live life to the fullest.
“We have to have the suction machine with him all the time because if his airway were to get blocked with secretions, he can’t breathe,” Hacker said.
An essential monitor tracks Rueben’s heart rate and oxygen levels and alerts his mom during the night if any of his vitals seem off.
“If some of our equipment gave out, I don’t have very long. I can’t wait for something to be shipped to me,” she said. “We get supplies from Carle Medicare Supply every month and anytime we need them immediately. After speech class, we go right across the street, and we can get whatever we need.”
Jay Russell, Carle Medical Supply, Mattoon branch coordinator, said being a Carle facility gives patients easier access to the equipment they need.
“When a patient isn’t feeling well, they don’t want to have to drive into Champaign-Urbana,” Russell said. “When a person goes to the doctor and gets a prescription for equipment, they can come right here to get what they need.”
But if you ask Hacker, Carle Medical Supply is more than just a place to get equipment.
“The people at Carle Medical are the nicest, kindest people. I can’t say enough good things about them. They’ve always been there for us if we need anything. They have been so sweet,” she said.
“They always bring suckers for all of my kids when they come here. They are like family.”
And so Russell and his team are there as the Hackers mark milestones, like Reuben learning to find his voice.
“He’s just now learning to talk,” Hacker said. “He isn’t mentally delayed at all, but he’s just now learning to make all these noises, so he is constantly hollering and saying the same words over and over. He has two great siblings who help him all the time.”
To learn more about short- and long-term medical supply needs, please talk with your care team and visit learn more online.