Glenda Ford

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I asked him not to tell our families I was in hospital. I didn’t want anyone to see me like this. They still did not know what was wrong with me and I was afraid the children and grandchildren might catch it. My daughters however, came within hours of being told and were horrified to see my deteriorating condition. I became very sensitive to the light and it became hard for me to open my eyes, let alone see. My eyes were so very sore. My room filled up with flowers and I felt very humbled. I could not believe so many people had wasted so much money on me. I was lucky that I was still able to breathe by myself, but constantly required the oxygen which was always attached - that is, when I wasn't blowing into a little contraption trying to make the balls float higher and higher. I did however, often find the smell from the flowers very overpowering and would request them put away from the bed.

At last they knew what was wrong with me and the doctors said it was not catching. I was told I had GBS. I was not told anything negative, in fact I was told very little. I was however, assured that I would have a very good recovery and everyone convinced me that I was going to be just fine. All our knowledge came from family and friends who were able to obtain information from the internet. At this stage I was hungry for any information that anyone could give me. I didn't want Malcolm to leave my side for fear of what else was going to happen to me. Each day I became worse and slid further and further into paralysis.

The Red Cross were unable to supply Intragram, which is a blood product used to help in the recovery of Guillain-Barre, so it was decided that they would start to filter my own blood. The nurse who specializes in this field examined me. She then informed me that I had very fine and unsuitable veins for this particular procedure. They would need to use veins on both sides of my neck. Visions of Herman Munster ran through my mind. I was in a special computerised airbed which was considered to be the most comfortable in the hospital. I had tubes stuck inside me, tubes up my nose, tubes in my wrist and now they wanted tubes either side of my neck. The Chaplain was holding my hand and praying that we would be given the Intragam from the Red Cross. She had started to visit me the very first day I arrived. Her strength and prayer gave me so much hope. They were wheeling me out of the room and she was holding my hand and stroking my arm when they received a phone call. The Intragram had miraculously become available and they wheeled me back into the room.

My sister and a close friend were in tears as they left the room and waited in the corridor. I was so weak and they were really worried. I think they thought I would not last the night. I must admit I knew I looked bad. Within a few minutes Malcolm had returned to be by my side and they started the procedure. Over the next 5 days I received 27grams of Intragram each day. Each day they would also give me fluids and glucose via the line that was permanently attached to my wrist. I was finding it extremely hard to drink the amount of fluids that I was supposed to have.

A couple of days after the treatment began, I felt some movement and strength come back into my arms and then gradually my back. I was able to show off and demonstrate to Malcolm how I could slowly pull myself up from the bed, with the help of the support bar.