I spent 5 mos. hospitalized and another 2 yrs. before I was really able to do most things “normal” people take for granted. That began in May of ’99. I still have residuals, including pain, today, over 8 yrs. out. I can fully appreciate what your dad is feeling/saying, ’cause I felt/said the same thing. And if you’ve not been in his place, you can’t understand why or how he can be ready to just “give up.”
My suggestion is to reassure him of your love and your willingness to do whatever it takes to help him get back as much as his body is capable of, no matter how long it takes or what it costs. But then you need to also tell him that not ever having experienced anything like what he’s going through, you can’t really understand how he feels or why he wants to quit fighting. Remind him of other battles in his life that he may have already fought and won and ask him if he’s really willing to let this illness take him down. If he says he can’t see any way to conquer it, remind him that God is all-powerful and can/will sustain him if he’ll continue to put his trust in Him. (I’m assuming here that your dad is a Christian. If not, find some other outside, positive influence that he can put his faith/trust in to help him recover.)
And then, hard as it may be, prepare yourself and the rest of your family to honor his wishes and let him go. I know how difficult that will be, but we all have to face our own mortality, and none of us knows what it will be that brings us to the final end. For your dad, maybe it is this bout with GBS.
Please don’t disregard what I’m saying because it’s unthinkable to do. Be positive with him about his chances for recovery and a meaningful life “after GBS,” but also be realistic that not everyone survives it. And unfortunately, many who do not make it after they’ve gotten as far along as your dad has succumb because they don’t feel the end result will be worth the fight to get there.
All that being said, if there is a survivor in your area who had it as bad as he does, try to contact them (maybe through a local GBSFI Chapter) and ask them to come see your dad. Nothing will encourage him more than to have someone WALK into his room and say, “You know, XX months/years ago I was in the same condition you’re in now, and I’ve recovered to where I can live an almost “normal” life.”
Sorry to be so long-winded. Hope something I said helps.
Best wishes, Byron