Name Witheld

I am from regional Victoria; May 2009

Some three and a half years ago, at the age of sixty (and recently retired), I became one of the GBS family, a rather exclusive group which randomly chooses new members and inducts them swiftly into a new life.

Thankfully, help was at hand through my alert local GP who knew immediately what was happening and arranged for specialist intervention at our local country hospital. For someone who had previously enjoyed excellent health, it was a rude awakening.

On my first day I was initially placed in a single room in a vacant ward and left to my own devices. Unable to walk (and no one thought of offering me a walker), I dragged myself across to my en-suite washroom and then back to sit on the bed - a massive effort at that stage. I must have managed to eat something for lunch, although I couldn’t use utensils to cut any food. In the afternoon I was given a lumbar puncture, with an interested audience of student doctors, and left to rest (there wasn’t any option to do much else).

Next morning around 10 a.m., I was told that an appointment had been made for me with a neurologist at an outer Melbourne hospital, some 250 km away, and I would need to pack up and get there by mid afternoon at the latest (how to get there was up to me)! I was in effect ‘discharged” at that point and required to vacate my room (but return directly to the hospital to be re-admitted that afternoon/early evening).

Within the hour my husband, daughter and self were on the road. At the next hospital I was moved by wheelchair for the testing, and before long, back on the road home. I was readmitted, unpacked and settled into the intensive care ward by early evening, whereupon it was decided to move me (in my bed) into the general ward.