Turns out Guy-yan Bar-ray Syndrome, really Guillan-Barré Syndrome, can be one little mean mo-fo depending on your symptoms. On Day Two, we learn Dad must have contracted an infection that caused his immune system to attack his nervous system and basically render him immobile.
From Desi Brother’s research (which is why he came back to the hospital in a panic last night) Guillan-Barré Syndrome can be fatal if the muscles around your heart and lungs slowly lose their ability to function. Unsurprisingly it is most dangerous for the young and the elderly because their immune systems are weaker. This is why the doctors asked us NOT to conduct our own research. Because Dad’s case is severe the doctors are keeping him in ICU for three days and beginning a five-day course of immunotherapy which involves an intravenous immune globulin.
So now we’re freaked out, going to and from the hospital several times a day. Because Dad doesn’t like the food, and Mom doesn’t drive more than 3 miles, every night I am taking her to the hospital with Dad’s dinner. When my niece comes to the hospital she makes it very clear that she does not want to be in the hospital either, and especially not in the room, unless she can play with the remote control to the bed. I wonder if she can sense something is not right with her grandfather.
I know this is not happening to me, but the first 48 hours are pretty rough because I don’t know what is going on. From continued online research I have learned that recovery can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months. But Dad cannot open a can of soda or sit up on his own, so his system has really deteriorated. I find myself unable to spend more than 10 or 20 minutes in the hospital room so I have begun pacing the hospital corridors and going to the lounge 3 times an hour for water. On one of my water breaks the nurse sees me and says, “He’ll be fine.” I drink the entire eight-ounce glass of water in one sip; remain quite for a minute and say, “Really? Because, I don’t know…” She nods and something in her eyes is the kindest, most empathetic gesture I have received in a long time. “He will. I see this all the time,” she explains.
When visiting hours are over, I leave Mom at the hospital and go home. Dad is having a hard time with this too, so, Mom has started sleeping at the hospital at nights. I get home and begin to feel very alone. I have a lot of friends. A lot. But as I scroll through my mobile phone contact list I don’t feel like I have that ONE PERSON to reach out to. I am at an age where having a best friend is juvenile, especially since so many of my friends are married. And there is a part of me that wants to be left alone.
I really don’t have the energy to get on the phone and talk about what is going on with Dad, mostly because I have no idea. And my normal support network of Desi Brother and Mom are gone too, because they are living this unsure footing too. I have never really NEEDED a boyfriend or a husband. I have never been that girl whose identity is determined by the number of men who are in love with her at one given moment. I have always WANTED a true and just companion, the real deal. But right now, I NEED and WANT a man, my man, to stroke my hair and comfort me. Assure me that everything will be okay.