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Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Psalm 103

15. November 2017

Columns, RP Living,

  —Cory Veldhuizen

The Beginning

I first heard the letters GBS put together in the emergency room of Aultman hospital on Jan. 26. While a neurologist looked for a reflex hammer, my wife, Kimberly, and I googled the acronym. We would learn that my diagnosis was a rare disease called Guillain-Barré Syndrome. My immune system was attacking my nerve cells, causing weakness and numbness. I had started feeling the symptoms five days prior; it felt like my feet and legs were slowly falling asleep.

I was admitted to the hospital that day and was told to plan on missing about two weeks of work. Though my wife is a nurse, the hospital felt like a foreign place to me. I had always enjoyed good physical health. Now, in one week, I had gone from a healthy, active 25-year-old’s life to a hospital room with a yellow “fall risk” sticker on the door. We were given a treatment plan, a very positive prognosis, and my first of many meals in the hospital.

I spent about two and a half weeks bouncing back and forth between the hospital and a local rehab facility, depending on how I was doing. By the end of my first week I could no longer walk at all, but I did retain regular use of my upper body. The doctors said this was normal and that I might get worse before I got better.

Psalm 103 became a daily companion: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.” This line stood out in ...

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