- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) - Ethan Menges went home for the first time in more than a year last month, after spending months in and out of surgeries and rehabilitation after the amputation of all four of his limbs.

Now, the 2010 Genoa-Kingston High School alumnus has returned to the area - he is staying with his sister, Brittney Menges, in Rockford - and said he is working to stay positive as he struggles with independence and daily tasks such as showering, brushing his teeth and cooking.

Simple tasks such as opening a piece of mail can take up to 15 minutes, he said. It can be a particular mental challenge, since the man was an athlete in his high school days. He ran track, played baseball and was the co-captain of the varsity basketball and football teams.

“Little things take a substantial amount of time,” he said. “Frustration can build quickly over those small things.”

It started last year when Menges developed a viral infection that quickly spread. He was in a coma for a week and no one knew if he would survive. After lying in the hospital for a week, he developed bed sores and his arms and legs had to be amputated because no blood was flowing to them.

Now he uses prosthetic limbs and has many goals.

“I want to be able to stand at my wedding,” Menges said. “And I want to be mobile enough on my legs that I can have some quality dances with my future wife.”

Menges proposed to his now-fiancee Jordon Mathieu while he was still in the hospital, hiding the engagement ring under a dinner tray.

“When I took the lid off to help him eat dinner, there was the ring,” Mathieu said.

Mathieu said that while she knows there are challenges ahead, she is optimistic about the future.

“I’m not looking for something to worry about,” she said. “I know it will be hard sometimes, and there will be difficulties. But I think every marriage has its difficulties. This is just one of the things we will have to deal with.”

One of the things Menges misses from the time before he got sick was how active he was, but after he dances at his wedding, he has more goals in mind.

“Hopefully in the summer, I will be able to jog and walk a 5K,” he said. “I really loved running.”

Ron Menges, Ethan’s father, returned home himself, to Arizona. It is bittersweet, he said.

“In a way, it’s like a little chick leaving the nest again,” he said. “I’m so happy to see him getting along, but it was hard in that perspective to realize my part in the situation was done. I did what I needed to do. . It’s going to be his determination and his goals that are going to get him where he wants to go now.”

Ron Menges said he is proud that his children have been there for each other through the struggle.

“I raised those three to be self-reliant but to also lean on each other,” he said. “I won’t always be here but they will always be there for each other. . All my kids are succeeders. I know (Ethan) is going to knock this out of the park.”


Source: The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle, https://bit.ly/1PkjMRM


Information from: The Daily Chronicle, https://www.daily-chronicle.com

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