The Hoggs chose denial. Derek continued working for the next year and half – until the day came when he could not carry a heavy fan up a ladder during department training, Holly said.
"His arm gave out on him," Holly said. "That's when he decided it was no longer safe. If you can't run into a building to pick someone up, it's probably not a good idea to keep in that line of work."
Derek was allowed to work a desk job for six months and then he was done. He was three and half months away from a disability pension, Holly said. The frustrating part of ALS is its unpredictable course.
In one month, Derek went from dragging one leg to being completely wheelchair-bound.
"Before he went in the chair he had four major falls before he finally said, 'Yeah, OK, I should probably get into the chair,'" Holly said.