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Beginning last Wednesday, Kathy began experiencing weakness that we attributed to the colds we've been fighting for three weeks, but late Thursday she became progressively weaker and Friday morning it was very hard to even get her to the car for a doctor's appointment. Her doctor sent us to the Kaiser hospital in San Jose and after many tests they are treating her for Guillian-Barre Syndrome aka GBS.
She can't move any muscles below her neck, except for minute wiggling of her fingers and toes. Because of phlegm buildup she's on a ventilator. Just now she's resting and seems comfortable. I will try to update this page frequently.
She's had a urinalysis, an EKG, a Cat Scan, blood tests, a spinal tap and an MRI. They're sure there was no stroke or heart problem.
She was assessed for her ability to swallow in order to avoid food or liquid getting into her lungs and she did well with ice and water, but best with thickened water, so they planned to give her various foods with that texture. As phlegm built up we used a suction tube like that in a dentist's office.
Her neurologist is sure it's Guillain Barre Syndrome (aka GBS, pronounced gee-YAH-buh-RAY)
and ordered infusions of intravenous immuno-globulin, to stop any progression of nerve damage and facilitate regeneration. Because she can't manage the button to call the nurse, they gave her a sensitive pad, but it too was hard for her to operate and out of concern that she'd choke when we weren't there she was shifted to the ICU.
Saturday she needed auctioning more and more frequently and we worried anew that she'd choke so she decided to have a ventilator fitted. This means Chatty Kathy can't speak and the tubes are annoying, but she gets some sedation and we all feel she's safer.
It takes a few days or to see improvements, but this morning she was able to wiggle her shoulders. Regeneration starts at the upper body and progresses downward, so this is very encouraging.
There's a good chance she will make a full or fairly full, but very slow recovery, probably involving a stay in an acute rehab facility. So far we've had word from family and friends of six cases where there has been a full recovery!
You can copy and paste this link to the Mayo Clinic's description of GBS: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/-barre-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20025832.
This morning as I walked through the hospital lobby I saw a poster of Kathy's neurologist, John Neely. He first got a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, then to apply his cutting-edge research, got an MD in Neurology .... Kathy is in very good hands, all her doctors and nurses are skilled and caring.