(This is a continuation of posts about my experience with Guillain Barre Syndrome that began with the post called Heartbeats.)
The icicles began to form on the trees outside. They glistened in the sunlight. On any other day I would have appreciated the beauty. Everything was closing, so I would not have to go to work. But I was struggling to breath. Jodi (my ex-wife) decided to try and get to her office and suggested I call the doctor. I called; the doctor’s office was closed. It seemed my only option was the emergency room. But my difficulty breathing seemed to be getting worse, and I felt that I could not drive anywhere. Fortunately my mother was willing to take the risk to get me to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital safely. I knew my condition was serious, when I was taken back to the emergency care area immediately. I nor the hospital staff had any clue how serious things would be. They put me in a bed and started me on oxygen. They took blood and a chest X-ray as they often do when your admitted to the emergency room. I can’t remember how long it took and how many doctors examined me before a pulmonary specialist arrived. However, it didn’t take long for Dr. Kibelstits diagnosed me with pneumonia. I would need to be in the hospital for a few days to be treated with antibiotics and respiratory therapy. A few days was not an accurate estimate of how long I would be in the hospital.
Later that night I was alone in my room. I was permitted to get out of bed, so when I needed to go to the bathroom I tried to stand up. My legs gave out; I went down to the floor. Too far away from the call bell I began to call out for help. It took several minutes before anyone heard my screams. I was picked up and put back in my bed. It didn't take long before two residents came to examine me. I had no feeling in my feet and legs. I couldn’t move my feet and was barely able to lift my legs a few inches off the bed. The residents conferred, but could not give me a diagnosis.
It was almost morning before the staff doctor came. By that point I couldn't lift my legs at all. The doctor had an idea of what was going on but only one test would tell them for sure: a spinal tap. By the time they were ready to do the spinal tap in the afternoon I was barely able to move my arms. A spinal tap is done by sticking a needle into the spinal cord and withdrawing a small amount of spinal fluid to determine the amount of protein in it. Is was confirmed: the protein in my spinal fluid was elevated and I had Guillain Barre Syndrome.
Please stay on topic.