Long post alert!!
Hellaversary, eh? 😉
My 18th “hellaversary” was September 12, 2009. I can vividly recall the downward spiral of GBS. I was under a great deal of stress; my father had passed away almost one month to the day my first symptoms occurred. I was very close to him as he raised me and my siblings (my mother passed away shortly before my 2nd birthday). So, it was like losing both parents at once. Additionally, two of my cousins were killed in an accident on the way to my dad’s funeral.
I worked in Downtown Detroit. I was very active and (somewhat) fit, and realized that I was plodding along instead of my usual fast paced walk. I also started feeling weird sensations/pain on my arms and legs. So, I went to the doctor. She stated that it was probably stress, prescribed Naproxen for the odd pain and sent me on my way. The pain can only be described by saying; my skin hurt.
Later that week, while at work, I was squatting to put files away in a file cabinet. I could hardly stand!! 🙁 I realized something was wrong but had no idea what.
I noticed what I thought was a Charlie Horse in my right calf. My friend laughed and called me old lady because I couldn’t keep up with her while walking to lunch. I shrugged it off and while attempting to eat, I had a difficult time chewing. At this point, we’re both becoming concerned.
Again, I shrugged it off. I went to my second job. :rolleyes:
At this point, I’m struggling to walk and keep my balance. Literally sliding alongside the walls. Again, my lovely co-workers laughed…not maliciously. I laughed too, though in my heart, I knew something awful was occurring.
[B][I]You know, while typing this, my palms have gotten sweaty and I’m crying. I guess it’s painful to relive this, but I’m going to continue.[/I][/B]
Anyway, by the time I left my second job, one of the co-workers I carpooled with had to help me from the car. He also had to help me up the two flights of stairs at my apartment building. I was beginning to panic. Especially when I had to fight to get the key in the door.
Still not accepting that something was wrong, I propped myself up against the wall and ironed. I had to get my clothes ready for the next day. At the same time, I was on the phone with my Godmother. My speech was becoming affected and she begged me to call off work. I promised to do so if I didn’t feel better the next morning.
The next morning arrived….and that was it. I couldn’t get out of bed. I grabbed the phone, called one of my sisters (she worked at a local hospital) and left her a message. Basically I said, I can’t stand up. I couldn’t even crawl. I hope this next part isn’t TMI, but I had to go to the bathroom. While awaiting my sister’s call, I slid to the floor and slid on my stomach to the bathroom. I was able to use the sink to pull up and sit on the toilet.
Two of my sisters arrived approx. 5-10 minutes later. The manager of the building let them in. They saw how weak I was, and begged me to let them call an ambulance. I talked them out of it.
I cannot tell you how many times all 3 of us almost fell down the stairs. They physically supported me on each side, but almost dead weight is heavy. When we arrived at the emergency room, I stood long enough to fall into a wheelchair and that was it. Done. No more walking for a while.
I stayed at that particular hospital for a week, mainly because my doctor was affiliated. She was at my bedside in tears as I’d just been in her office two days earlier. That entire week, they did absolutely nothing. I couldn’t eat as I couldn’t swallow anything. They allowed me to fall. Yep….horror story there. They ran numerous tests. Eventually, they ordered a lumbar puncture, NCV and EMG. That was the first time I heard of Guillain Barre Syndrome.
My sister had me transferred to Harper Hospital as she worked closely with one of the neurologists. He admitted me to ICU as my breathing was becoming affected. Thankfully, I didn’t require a trach. However, the paralysis was far reaching. With the exception of the left side of my face, I could move….nothing. I had six series of plasmapharesis. Not sure how much good it did as I didn’t have it until two-three weeks after my first admission to the hospital.
To make a long story short (to late, eh), I spent 2 weeks in ICU, 2 weeks on a regular floor at the hospital, 2 months at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan and 6 months of outpatient therapy. I still have one heck of a limp, but I’m happy to walk. I use a cane when out of doors and went back to work full time 14 months after the big bang. I have the usual residuals, but this has become my new normal. I’m grateful for every day I’m alive, especially the pain free days.
I’ll end this lengthy post with a very heartfelt, God is good!!