It had been another sleepless night. Emma was still screaming from pain during the night; I was completely numb from stress and not being able to do anything to help her.
We arrived at the pediatric clinic early that Friday morning. My husband and I wanted to confront the robot (our incompetent, soulless resident doctor) about Emma's diagnosis. She was getting worse every moment, and we wanted answers. We arrived well before our appointment time, and waited for long after that time had passed.
Forty-five minutes after our appointment time, I went up to the desk. "Look," I began angrily." Our daughter was just in the hospital a couple of days ago. This is our follow-up appointment." The receptionist looked at us nervously. "She is 45 minutes late. She made this appointment, and now she is this late? Our daughter is much worse, so she wasn't even helping her."
"No other doctors are available right now," she said, timidly.
"Is there anybody available we can see?" I was tired and stressed and beyond angry.
"Well ... " she began, looking off towards the offices.
"What?" I demanded.
"Well, there is someone here, but it's a Nurse Practitioner."
I had completely run out of patience. "Ok, let's see her then!"
The receptionist hurried from around the counter and walked back to the offices. She was only gone a couple minutes before she returned, followed by an older, dark haired woman. We knew immediately that she was our angel.
She asked us to follow her to her office and I told her that Emma was having trouble walking and that it would take her a minute to get back there. The NP stopped dead in her tracks. "Trouble walking?" she asked, gently.
"Yeah. She can hardly stand up," I said as Emma struggled to make it to the NP's office.
The NP asked Emma to walk toward her. Her face never betrayed what she was thinking - she told us later she initially thought Emma had Polio - but she did ask us to wait in a room for a few minutes. She came back with an older army officer. A pediatric neurologist.
"Emma, can you walk for me?" he asked, leading her out into the hallway.
Emma's mobility was rapidly decreasing. Not only that, but she told me that she couldn't feel her right arm. She held onto the wall with her left arm as she struggled to walk just 20 feet down the hallway. The doctor told her that she had walked far enough, and told us we could take her back in the room.
"We have to admit her to the hospital immediately," he said, with a look of grave concern on his face.
The next couple of days was a whirlwind. They made a preliminary diagnosis quickly, but told me they would have to perform a spinal tap to be certain it was Guillain Barre Syndrome. Having had two epidurals, I knew how scary that would be for my daughter. They said they had to be certain, but they could give Emma a drug to calm her and make her forget it ever happened.
She was still suffering from acute constipation because her bowels had completely shut down, so they decided to administer the Go Lightly yet again; Emma couldn't handle the tube down her nose again, though, and fought its insertion. For several years afterwards, it was not the paralysis, spinal tap, or hospitalization that caused her stress, it was the memory of the doctors putting that stupid tube down her nose. I wish I had known about the Verced when they all held her down and shoved that thing down her nose.
Emma became a top-billed side show attraction during her hospital stay. Dozens of doctors - save for the robot and her mentor - dropped by her room just to get a peek at the GBS Girl. None of them were short on questions. Mostly, they wanted to know her symptoms, and whether her GBS had been triggered by a vaccine.
"I ... don't know." I thought it sounded like a strange question.
"Has she been vaccinated recently? In the past month?"
"No ... " I didn't understand what they wanted me to say.
"Are you sure? Maybe you were in the Well Baby Clinic and just don't remember it?"
I giggled nervously; I was more than a little offended by the question. "I think I would remember if I took my kids to get their vaccines."
And you know what? Those doctors didn't believe me and checked her records anyway! At the time, I didn't know there was any dangers from vaccines. In fact, I continued to vaccinate Emma even after she recovered.
- Paralytic illness of Franklin D. Roosevelt - Wikipedia
It was originally thought that FDR had polio, but a more thorough examination of his illness and symptoms makes it clear that he suffered from Guillain Barre Syndrome.
But then, after Emma had already long since been diagnosed with GBS and was in full recovery, a strange sign appeared in the Pediatric and Well Baby Clinics. Nowadays, I would have snapped a picture of it, but back then, I just made a mental note. The sign, posted just a couple weeks after Emma's hospital stay, noted that Guillain Barre Syndrome is a side effect of vaccines and to contact your doctor if your child is showing any strange symptoms after getting their shots. I think there was one sign on the counter in the Well Baby Clinic and two signs on the counter in the Pediatric Clinic. Signs that had never been there before my daughter fell ill with the disease.
I was overwhelmed. I had 24/7 morning sickness and my younger daughter was schedued for surgery to correct profound hearing loss; I was trying to take my stressful life day by day.
In one of our last visits with Emma's pediatric neurologist, he said he was pleased with her progress. By then, she had been in physical therapy for several months and was nearly back to her old, pre-GBS self. He had mentioned before that Emma could no longer get the flu vaccine, and that we would need to be careful about vaccines in general. We asked him about the Menactra vaccine, because we had watched an ad on TV that said that people with prior GBS should not get the vaccine.
He looked at us for a minute, then said, "They aren't as safe as they want you to think." From a respected pediatric neurologist with over 40 years as a doctor. We never vaccinated any of our children again.
Those months when Emma suffered from Guillain Barre Syndrome were some of the worst in my life. I had gladly given up so much for her, and was so utterly enamored of her, that the idea of losing her tied me up in knots.
We were incredibly lucky, though. The GBS only reached her midsection (and one arm); in some people, GBS causes complete respiratory shutdown, resulting in death. It has permanently paralyzed many of its victims. The only way to "cure" GBS is through a total blood transfusion that replaces all the blood in your body. We were blessed to have not experienced any of those issues.
I am terrified for people who are certain that vaccines are 100% safe. They laugh at people who believe vaccines cause autism, while ignoring the evidence that many vaccines are neither effective (flu) nor safe (swine flu vaccine of 1976).
One vaccine in particular has caused great harm in its victims: Gardasil. They stopped calling it by its brand name in news stories because they don't want you to make the connection between Gardasil and Guillain Barre Syndrome. It is the vaccine against HPV. The naysayers shout about "correlation or causation," but there are just too many young women stricken with GBS after getting this vaccine. Too many for it to be merely "correlation."
My daughter didn't get GBS from a vaccine, but vaccines can cause a recurrence of her disease. She is strictly prohibited from getting the Menactra, flu or Gardasil vaccines, but I refuse to let her be vaccinated against anything. I refuse to let anyone pump my other kids full of that poison, either. People in the healthcare industry who have not worked with the victims of GBS flippantly insist that all vaccines are not only safe but necessary; indeed, nothing less than our civic duty! And yet, every health care professional I spoke with who had first-hand experience with the victims of GBS said that vaccines are unsafe.
Most troubling, however, is the Zika virus and the calls for a vaccine against it. Zika itself has been shown to trigger Guillain Barre Syndrome, so why on earth would you want to pump people full of a concentrated version of the virus?
Pharmaceutical companies do their best to keep reports of Guillain Barre Syndrome under wraps. I fear that, through this atmosphere of secrecy, more people will be unnecessarily harmed by vaccines so those companies can profit from their deception.
You can read Part One here.
You can read Part Two here.