Guillain Barre & Me by Michael McCarthy

Nearly 20 years ago, I had Guillain Barre Syndrome.  Though it happened a long time ago, memory of it comes back to me like it was yesterday.

Two weeks ago I got a call from the hospital, asking if I could come in and talk with the family of a current Guillain Barre patient.  It had been a long time since I had visited with a family and I wondered what had changed and how could I be of help.  This is about what I learned.

I was reminded that patients and families in this situation have questions.  Some examples are:

  • Will I die?  Will I walk again?  Can I ever get back to work?  I have a family that depends on me and will I ever be able to support them again?
  • What will happen to me?
  • What is happening to my body?  How did I get this?

If you are a nurse, you may see Guillain Barre once, every couple of years.  It doesn’t seem to happen that often, and it varies in severity.  You do the treatments and monitor the vitals, and do the best you can with this odd and insidious condition.

If you are a doctor, you may have seen this a few times.  There are treatments to prescribe and they are somewhat limited.  This story is about the person lying in the bed and the families that have to deal with all the uncertainty of recuperation… Continue reading Guillain Barre & Me by Michael McCarthy

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