When Mrs. Loco asked me what I wanted for Father’s Day, I told her that all I wanted was to be at home with her and our daughter.
When I was released from the hospital, all of the physicians told me that some days would be better than others. I should expect to have good days and make progress towards recovery, but also bad days when I just wouldn’t feel good. The neurologists gave me strict instructions to call them immediately if I started trending back down in terms of strength or muscle control. So when, on the morning before Father’s Day, I tried to transfer from the wheelchair to the walker so I could take a shower and completely failed, I knew something was wrong. This was a maneuver I had performed multiple times per day, not to mention one that was critical to living day-to-day. As hard as I tried, and as badly as I needed to make it happen, I couldn’t push myself out of that chair and onto my
feet foot. There was just no strength in my left leg at all. Trying not to panic, I called the neurologist and confirmed that I needed to go back to the emergency department.
Arriving at the Emergency Department, Mrs. Loco parked us out front and went in for help. We had been there so many times at this point that she was instantly recognized – she had become something of an in-house celebrity for carrying Baby Loco around in various baby carriers. A tech came out to the car and helped me into a wheelchair, then whisked me into triage. New tests were ordered, which revealed that I had, of all things, a urinary tract infection, which appeared to have caused a resurgence in Guillain-Barré symptoms. Or the GBS was just pushing itself out. Getting definitive answers with GBS is often tough. The neurologists weren’t taking chances, though, and readmitted me for another round of IVIG treatment.
Being back in the hospital, while frustrating, wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. They were able to give me morphine for pain related to my broken ankle, and having the nursing staff taking care of me took a lot of pressure off of Mrs. Loco. Speaking of the Mrs, she ran into my orthopedic surgeon in the hall and brought him by my room. He ordered my cast bi-valved (basically, cut the front off of it so that it can be removed for examination) so that he could take a look at the surgery site and relieve the pressure on my foot. And besides, I had already paid my annual deductible, so the stay was covered by insurance.
I somehow managed to hurt my “good” foot during the second hospitalization, though. I tried to get out of bed with a walker and the moment I put pressure on my left foot, I felt like I was tearing whatever muscle is under my heel. It was really just a matter of nerve pain and muscle tension, but it would remain an issue for the entire stay. This made doing any real physical therapy while in the hospital pretty much impossible as I was limited to a few stretches and leg lifts.
I was able to work pretty steadily through the whole hospitalization. Most of what I was doing was writing test plans for a new product, so I managed to work it in around being poked and prodded. I started making notes in the margins like “4 mg Morphine” and “Benadryl going in now” to explain any strange steps I might have written. Mrs. Loco brought our loco baby in every day. Her smile brightened the room and kept up our spirits.
After another ten days of hospitalization, I was well enough to be released. But was I ready to go home again?