Onset of Guillain–Barré syndrome

Twenty-eight-year-old Asha’s life suddenly changed when one fine day she suddenly and unexpectedly developed Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), which is a rare medical condition that affects the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. It can be scary because it often causes people to have weakness or even paralysis in parts of the body. Most of the people who get afflicted with Guillain-Barré syndrome recover and return to their normal lives and activities.

Asha spoke about the trauma that accompanies this frightening illness and her gradual recovery. She mentions that the pillars of support in her journey to recovery were her parents, her brother, her husband and in-laws along with caregivers from Life Circle, a home nursing care provider.

Support from her family

During the initial stages of the illness, she spent a long period of time in the hospital. Her parents and brother were her caregivers. She mentions that her brother would stay up all night in the hospital massaging her legs because that relieved her from excruciating pain.

GBS was a severe disruption in not only Asha’s life, but also that of her family members. A newly married young woman well placed professionally, she had to temporarily stop working. Her husband sought a transfer to Hyderabad from Bhubaneshwar just to extend moral support to his wife. However, her mother who is a professor in Ethiopia returned back to her profession because Asha did not want to disrupt her career. That’s when the family decided to engage a professional home attendant from Life Circle.

Engaging caregivers

Asha was completely dependent on caregivers for activities of daily living because she was unable to use her hands and legs. She also experienced excruciating pain in her limbs. She experienced needle prick sensation, tingling and shooting pain whose intensity cannot be explained in words. It was a very demanding job for caregivers to support her during this phase. They would massage her, hold her hands and legs in a position that was comfortable, change her position from time to time, provide toileting assistance, feed her, assist with physiotherapy, etc. Her family stepped in at every stage to assist the professional caregiver.

The most important aspect of the recovery period was physiotherapy. She spent months undergoing rehabilitation at a physiotherapy centre where Life Circle’s caregiver Manjulata assisted her.

Asha thrived on the support from her “caregiving team”. If you step into her house, you can actually experience love, care, warmth and support. She has words of support for her brother: “He has been more than a mother and father to me.” Many a night, he has stayed up, assisted her in the toilet, and offered her mobility assistance. He provided immense emotional support during a tough period when Asha went through phases of anger and helplessness.

Recovering from GBS takes patience; from being completely bedridden to being able to walk with support, Asha has come a long way over the past year and is almost close to complete recovery. Her “support team” does not miss a chance to celebrate milestones in her recovery. Recently, they had all been to a movie.

The positivity factor

What is most striking about Asha is her positive mindset and good temperament. She and her “caregiver team” have done a great job in healing and regeneration. Life Circle wishes her a speedy recovery.

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