(This is a continuation of posts about my experience with Guillain Barre Syndrome that began with the post called Heartbeats.)
After over two months at the hospital I was missing home. I guess the psychiatrist decided I was depressed and needed some cheering up. Jodi and some of the nurses came up with an interesting idea. They decided that one of the things I was probably missing was our puppy. so they devised a plan to get the puppy into the hospital. Having a puppy in the hospital was against the hospital rules, so Jodi just couldn’t walk in the front door with her. However, there was a side door that led to the ICU unit. Jodi just needed to call one of the nurses and he came down the stairs and opened the door. Up they came six flights of stairs with a puppy wrapped in a blanket. This of course was done without my knowledge that anything was being done. Suddenly Jodi appeared with our puppy peeking out from under the blanket. Next thing I know my bed had stopped rotating and a puppy was on top of me. She seemed as surprised as I was for her to be there, and I don’t think she liked it. I was unable to move anything below my chin, so I couldn't pet her or even call her name. This experience was more frustrating then rewarding. It reminded me of what I couldn't do or have. I was also reminded that it would be along time before I would be able to go home.
This next experience was not a surprise for me but for close friends. It took Jodi, one of her friends, several nurses and a few of our church friends to make this happen. My good friends Sue and Bob were getting married while I was in the ICU unit. I was disappointed that I would not be able to attend. My insurance would not approve a several hour leave from the hospital, and my condition made it somewhat risky. I was removed from the respirator, but I still needed oxygen. I had not been out of bed for about two months. Being upright would cause my blood pressure to drop dangerously. One of the nurses and Jodi came up with a plan to get me to the wedding.
It started with Jodi’s friend making his van able to accommodate a wheel chair. A nurse volunteered to accompany me to the wedding to monitor my health. Then came him commandeering a wheel chair that could be reclined. They dressed me in nice clothing. I felt like a Dapper Dan dress up doll. Hoping my blood pressure would not drop, they transferred me into the wheel chair. The nurse took me down the elevator and out the front door of the hospital as if it was an average occurrence. It was good to breath fresh air again. The van was waiting for me with two by fours stretching from the side door of the van for a ramp. With a little effort I was in the van and ready to go. It was a bit unsettling when the van began to move, but I got used to it when we were about half way to the church. When we arrived at the church, the two by fours came out again. I was rolled down the ramp and to the side door of the church. Several of my church friends were waiting to get me up the one step into the church and onto the wheelchair lift. The problem was that with the wheelchair in the reclined position and the footrests up, the chairlift gate would not close. Chairlifts have a safety feature that won’t let them move without the gate closed. It was discovered that the chairlift latch could be fooled into thinking the gate was closed, however it required someone to ride the lift with me. Up we went and finally reached the level of the sanctuary.
As they rolled me into the sanctuary, Sue was preparing to walk down the aisle. Suddenly she saw me and stared at me with a look of surprise and a smile on her face. She then rushed over and gave me a great big hug. It felt for a moment that I was upstaging the rest of the celebration so I thanked her for the hug and said something, I don’t remember what, so she would turn attention to the celebration of the love between her and Bob. She returned to her place and the wedding continued with Sue and Bob beaming at each other. During the ceremony we celebrated communion. Going down the aisle, I felt conspicuous and uncomfortable. As I write this I realize that communion was the first food and drink I had since becoming ill. The significance of this will become even more clear in a later post. For now I just need to say that I suddenly felt like I belonged there surrounded by the love of friends. I couldn’t pet our puppy. I couldn’t move anything below my shoulders and didn’t know if I ever would. But at that moment all seemed good, very good.
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