On my first day rounding for internal medicine service I met Mr. J. Mr. J had an ascending paralysis. This left him unable to move his arms or legs and he could only sit up with the help of his watchman (a family member who comes to the hospital and helps the patient with their needs while in the hospital). Dr. Bill and I are pretty sure he has GBS. It is thought that GBS is a rare side effect of some viruses. The problem is that if the paralysis extends to the muscles of the chest the patient will not be able to breath and then would require a ventilator. Kudjip does not have a ventilator. We were quite concerned. Despite Mr. J’s dire situation he always has had a huge infectious smile.
After 5 days rounding with no change we stopped to talk with Mr. J. He could move his little finger and raise his hand off the bed. There is no easy way in Pidgin to explain such a complex illness. Dr. Bill began to share our earlier fears, that his lungs would stop working. That it was as if God had drawn a line across his body and told the paralysis to stop there and go no further. The smile on Mr. J’s face grew bigger as he more deeply grasped the situation and the goodness of God.
This weekend I had the opportunity to see Mr. J again. He smiled as I walked onto the ward and showed me he could lift a foot and his hand. There is no mediation to treat GBS. All you can do is support, provide oxygen, and pray. We serve a big God. Please pray for Mr. J that he will continue to regain his strength and be able to walk out of the hospital soon.