Richmond Nov/Dec 2017

Page 21


as if I could hear. But

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

“My roommates and my

family would talk to me

the doctors would some times talk about me like I wa s unconscious. It was apparent from their co mments that they did n’t think I would make it.” – Joel Elmore

For Joel, the whole experience was surreal. “Although my eyes were closed and I couldn’t see a thing, I was having a continuous stream of bizarre dreams. In one dream, I was hanging upside down like a bat.” The mere act of breathing was the most stressful part of Joel’s ordeal. “I was on a respirator and when the staff had to move me for a test or a procedure, they would ‘bag’ me — manually breathe for me — while we were going down the hall. I would pray that they would keep me breathing until I could be hooked up to the respirator again.” Despite being in this terrifying state, Joel was able to maintain some semblance of calm and control as he tried to establish a rhythm to his altered existence.

I knew the neurologist MADE ROUNDS in the morning, so with every visit, I would CHECK OFF – Joel Elmore ONE MORE DAY. Immediately, the family wagons quickly began to circle. Joel’s father, Joe Elmore; his brother, Josiah; aunts and grandmother came to offer comfort and support. His uncle and aunt, both physicians, also lent valuable medical insights.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (gee-YAH-buh-RAY) An autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system begins to attack the peripheral nervous system. The first signs are typically a tingling sensation and weakness that start in the feet and legs and may spread to the arms and upper body. In the most severe cases, muscle weakness can evolve into paralysis, potentially interfering with breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.

March 16 | During these trying early days, Joel’s uncle, Dr. Jay Freeman, and aunt, Dr. Nikki Brannon, were searching frantically for an answer. They soon suspected that Joel might have a very rare form of Guillain-Barré syndrome called Bickerstaff


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.