Developing Guillain-Barré syndrome was definitely the big story for May 2013, but it was far from the only story. May turned out to be a cavalcade of calamity, the likes of which we hope to never see again.
On the day after I was admitted to the hospital, our washing machine broke. For the fourth time. I convinced our landlord to replace it, but it took him a week to get sorted. That wouldn’t have been a big deal, but we’re using cloth diapers on our daughter, and without a washing machine we had to fall back to disposables.
While I was being treated for GBS, I broke my right ankle – both sides of the talus, fractured so badly that surgery was required to install a titanium plate and eight tiny screws. This is my biggest impediment to recovery – I’m currently limited to a wheelchair and a walker to get around the house, and working from home because travelling anywhere other than a doctor’s office requires way too much planning and effort.
Ants took over our kitchen repeatedly while I was hospitalized. We keep a very, very clean kitchen, but the ants kept coming back.
Our dog needed to go to the groomer to have his glands expressed, but his distemper vaccine was expired. If he didn’t get his glands expressed soon enough, they could abscess, turning a routine grooming issue into a very expensive veterinary clip and clean or even gland removal surgery.
On Memorial Day evening, I looked out the back door and saw a raging swarm of bees around the built-in grill. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that my wife is allergic to bee stings and doesn’t have an epi-pen. Luckily, I was able to get a beekeeper to come out and remove them the same night for a reasonable price. In fact, I count us lucky that I could get them to come at all, and that they were sober on Memorial day.
And finally, I got a call from Costco last night, notifying me that the CDC was investigating a Hepatitis A outbreak potentially linked to a frozen berry blend that we like to put in oatmeal or over ice cream. We’re not worried, but it’s just one more thing in the craziest month in recorded history.
What made May the best month ever, though, was the completely overwhelming support of our friends and family. My wife’s boss had a delicious chicken dinner sent to our house the evening after our first ED visit – taking the pressure off us to feed ourselves when we were exhausted and I was in pain. Our friend Shannon flew in from Ohio to help Mrs. Loco through the first few days of my hospitalization; she cleaned the house, made meals, ran errands, waited for the washing machine replacement and took a lot of pressure off of us. My mother and her boyfriend arrived in the midst of my treatment. They were coming in for a regularly scheduled visit, but turned their attention to supplying us with freezer meals and snacks. When our neighbors learned that I was hospitalized, they sprang into action. They cleaned up the backyard that I had neglected for weeks, sprayed for ants and made us delicious cinnamon-roll french toast for breakfast after I was released. Other friends set up a meal train. This is still keeping us supplied with delicious and nutritious evening meals, allowing my wife to focus on caring for our daughter and me. We have been helped in many other ways; friends took the dog in for his shot, picked up groceries and prescriptions and just generally did everything they could to make our life easy. This incredible, overwhelming show of support made me realize just how fortunate we are. I have an illness and an injury to overcome, but I also have a good job with good health insurance, we live in a comfortable house and we have some really amazing friends and family. I hope that one day I can repay their kindness and generosity, or at least pass it on when someone needs help.