Thursday, May 3, 2012

My most fearful and panicked moment throughout my GBS ordeal

This is a warning for those who haven’t had GBS or might have a queasy stomach.
I am pretty frank about everything that went on during this and it involves vomit so read at your own risk. :)

My most fearful and panicked moment throughout my GBS ordeal

It wasn’t when I began losing strength, it wasn’t every day when I had to say goodnight to my husband at the end of visiting hours to be left alone in the hospital or rehab, and it wasn’t when the priest came strolling into my hospital room one night.

It was when I had been transferred back into ICU. They still needed to closely monitor my vital signs and breathing had become much harder but I was not on the respirator yet.

My hands could still move but not by much and I was pretty much locked inside my body, just waiting, always waiting, for everything to turn around. It was frustrating because even if I needed something my arms were too weak to move my hands to the little red panic button that sat near my right elbow.

By that time I had also had a hard time speaking beyond a whisper but I could still manage to swallow.

It was night time and at the end of the day, everything just seemed to burn.

A nurse strolled in and asked if I needed anything. I asked for something for the pain.

He walked out and came back with a pill called Darvocet.

He put it on my tongue and lifted a glass of water for me and I drank it down. He stood there for a moment and then told me to give a shout if I needed anything. He turned and walked out the door.

I sat there, waiting impatiently for the drug to set in when I felt my throat begin to tighten, felt my mouth begin to water and my cheeks begin to flush. I knew I was going to throw up.

I gave a struggled shout of ‘Help…”, I tried louder in a more panicked voice “Help…”

I could see nurses and doctors walking in the halls; my strained voice just not able to be heard above the general sounds in the hallway. I struggled to get my hands up to hit the little red button but nothing above my wrists would move.

Dammit, how could something right in front of me be so freaking hard to hit?! If I was going to die, like hell it was gonna be because I choked on my own vomit. It wouldn’t even be from the vomit necessarily, don’t people die from pneumonia? I could die from pneumonia because vomit gets in my lungs! I thought a thousand morbid thoughts.

More doctors and nurses passed; people, anyone that could help. I struggled to yell for help again and I felt it coming up my throat. Tears were streaming down my face, I couldn’t move my neck except to slightly roll it to the side, I struggled to make noise, anything to cause attention but all I could do was sit there, feeling the vomit fall across my neck and down my shoulders.

All I could really think was ‘Well crap… so I die alone in my own pile of vomit. Lovely…’ mixed with ‘I CAN’T BREATHE!!!’ An odd combination but I don’t think anyone really knows what to think when they panic.

A moment, what seemed like forever, later a doctor walking in the hall spotted me and came running in.

He lifted my head and my shoulders up and rolled me to the side some more and shouted for some help, the simple words I just couldn’t form.

The nurse rushed in and the doctor yelled “What happened?!” The startled nurse came up and helped lift me to the side, I could finally feel air hitting my lungs again, my breath was weak and I tried to gasp at the air. “I just gave her Darvocet and I stayed to watch to make sure she was ok… She was fine when I left, I was just in here.”

Eventually the heaving stopped.

Really body? You decide to deprive me of movement and you can still heave? Jerk.

Every shake and every shudder sent a wave of painful heat crawling over my skin.

Eventually I somewhat caught my breath.

And eventually I got cleaned up.

This is really just a moment that is burned into my brain and at the same time I can't help but laugh at myself for being so vain.

Sure, at that point I was really ready to give up on everything and just slip into the black, but die in a pile of my own vomit?

That is what panicked me?



  1. I was never a very vain person to begin with, but being paralyzed and in the hospital really strips any amount of vanity or modesty a person might have. Bathing w/someone else in the room? Sure. Whatever. Drooling? Gross, but fine. Having someone/something else in change of my bodily functions? Uncomfortable, but manageable.

    I am an insane control freak, though. So what got to me the most were surprises. Getting sent for tests without being told I was even supposed to get the tests made me hysterical. That was the most cringey part of my experience. Not being in control of my emotions. Having a crying FIT over changing floors. Not being able to make my own choices. Being in so much pain that there are full days I don't remember. Things like that really get to me.

    1. I remember waking up in different rooms a lot, I kind of bounced around between ICU and regular floors and it was like a little mini panic attack of 'Wait, where am I????"
      One of the things that just really bothers me now are just having the days I don't remember from the ordeal in the hospital... It just kind of freaks me out that I was doing things and was awake but I have no recollection of it.