A day before long nights - My fight with GB Syndrome
In 2017, I was diagnosed with GB Syndrome. This is my story of how it started.
I took my empty bag, I took my jacket, dressed in college uniform I started my ride. I was going to my college to give my final semester presentation for the project I had done in LTI, Mumbai. I was happy about the fact that after today, there will be no exams, no attendance and my college life would be over. I had my days planned. Since I had been on the flight from Mumbai to Delhi to come home, I had planned all my days. I wanted to learn driving at a driving school. I wanted to learn to swim. I wanted to go to the gym. I wanted to go on at least three trips in one month. I had all planned but I guess life had other plans for me.
I gave my presentation to a four-judge panel out of which three were ladies. They were chit-chatting and I don't remember any of them listening to me after I told them the company and brief of the project. My presentation was over as soon as they told me "Thank You". It was a moment of epiphany. My college was over with that sentence. I was very happy and I scampered on the stairs and reached the ground floor and figured out something was not right with my eyes.
I was walking on the road when I found out my vision was a little blurred. With the increase in step count my vision worsened. I had acquired diplopia, bipolar diplopia to be precise. At first, I thought it is the result of not wearing the specs but quickly dropped this possibility. The second possibility that I could figure out is that it has something to do with the projector's blue light. But I had given several presentations before and never encountered such problems. I met my friend Priya on the way home. She lives close to college, We went to a cafe near Clock Tower which I think is the most crowded area of Dehradun. The cafe called Just Cafe is my favourite cafe in Dehradun. Being very close to Clock Tower and in the peak rush hour, you cannot hear the sound of even the loudest Royal Enfield sound you have heard. Peace is always preferred as you grow up I guess. Coming back to my situation, I told Priya what I was facing. She consoled me by telling me her story which was quite similar to this but instead of diplopia she faced a blurred vision. She told me it would be fine within a day or two. She showed a great solicitude and I was no more infuriated. I was quite restless though. I averted here and there but I could see no improvement. I bade her goodbye and rode my bike approx 80 kilometres with that condition to my home back to Haridwar.
As soon as I reached home. I got off my bike and started walking towards my room. I collided with the chair as I was not able to walk straight at the normal speed but I could slowly. I slept expecting everything would be fine when I will wake up. I contacted my friend, Ruqaiya who told me to rub wet cloth to my eyes. I did. Nothing happened. My other friend, Gurpreet, told me that it could be due to the blue light from the projector and gave me assurance that it will be fine tomorrow. I slept at 9:23 pm after talking to him. Less than I knew that it would remain my "Last Seen" on Whatsapp for more than a month.
The next morning became the nightmare of my life. I opened my eyes around 6:50 a.m. and saw the fan above my face. I could see it as it was. Clear and single. But then I looked down at the door of my room and it was still not normal. I got down off my bed and stumbled upon taking my first step. I got really nervous. My hands were numb. They were so numb that it looked blood has not been circulating in my hands. They were not responding normally. It seemed that they were responding late. They were out of control and when I started walking I found out my legs were also not responding to how they should. The gait was not normal. My legs were trembling and I could not properly bend my knee while walking. I immediately asked my dad to tell me if I am walking straight or not. I walked on the straight green line of marble to give my dad a demo. He said no, you are not. I told him what has happened with my eyes and what is happening with my limbs. We rushed to an eye specialist who lived in the same locality about 1 kilometer away from my home. Her name was Drs. Vibha Trivedi. She was a retired doctor from BHEL hospital which was a government hospital owned and run by BHEL. She refused to check me because her clinic timings were from 10:00 a.m. It was at her clinic door I found out my voice is slowly losing its power. "It's an emergency", said my father in a slightly loud pitch to the doctress who was standing on the back of her other room's gate and said, "No, come after 10". I puked in front of her house, got on the scooter of my father and puked again after 20 meters or so. I went back to my house and I couldn't eat anything, drink anything. Anything that I took was refused by my oesophagus. I waited for the clock to strike 10. I waited for 3 long hours and as it was 9:55 a.m., I and my father went again to the clinic. She carefully examined me, asked me numerous questions and her countenance made me nervous. She told my father, "There is something wrong and it's not related to his eyes. His eyes are fine. I think it has something to do with his brain. Quickly take him to a neurologist in the Metro Hospital." Metro hospital was located about 6 or 7 kilometres from her house and neither of us has been there before. We didn't know the way. It took us more than 30 minutes to reach the hospital and found out they don't have a neurologist. The receptionist said, "We haven't hired one yet." I was really nervous at this time and scared too. "Where shall we go now?" I asked my father. He did not answer. We went back to our home and my father said we have to go to Dehradun to Max Hospital. It was a really big hospital and he was sure we will find a neurologist there. He quickly booked a private cab and in no time we were on our way at around 11:30 or maybe 12.
It was Kaavad Mela in Haridwar and all the roads were full of motorcycles and four-wheelers resulting in heavy rush and jams. I had never heard about the way that we took that day. The driver knew it and surprisingly my father knew it too. It was an odd way with villages and dirt roads. I was not listening to the conversation between my father and the driver. I was recalling the eye doctor's words, "I think something is wrong with the brain." Brain complications are not so easy to treat. I knew that. I was very worried about my condition and my mother constantly repeated that it is nothing to worry about. You will be fine as soon as we reach the hospital. My father kept telling me the stories of our relatives. The stories always started with the notion that none of us thought that he would be fine and ended with, he was fine within two days. I constantly kept on recalling memories of my past. Any random memories just to check my brain's condition. I calculated some really complicated multiplication. I assured myself that there is nothing wrong with my brain. I was confident. We reached the hospital and were immediately sent for an MRI scan. My MRI was found normal but on my way from home to the hospital, my voice was not audible, my right eyelid drooped, I could not walk without the support of my mother, I could not stand on my own. Dr Deepak Goyal examined me and within one minute he declared that I have acquired Guillain Barre Syndrome or simply you are GBS positive. Unaware of the disease, I asked the doctor whether I will be fine. He confidently said it is 100% recoverable. You will be fine. I was relieved but less than I knew, there were really tough days ahead of me.
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I am a senior software engineer. I write and I read and that is pretty much what I do.