Letter to the Editor

A mean disease with long-term effeccts

Monday, August 5, 2019

Dear Editor,

Discover magazine printed in Boone, Iowa, in May 2004 was on a shelf in El Dorado Manor's activity room. I checked it out.

On page 24 was a report written by Paul Austin under the heading of Vital Signs.

It was a story about Joey Jenkins, a 15-year-old athlete. He had been brought to the hospital suffering with a severe cold for over six days. When he tried to walk, he had to clutch a nurse's arm. He also had a headache.

When he was examined, hospital staff noticed that his neck looked puffy. He complained that lately, he had felt extremely tired. The nurse asked if he had hit his head. He answered that he hadn't.

He was moved into a room and given an intravenous dose of antibiotics and then taken for a CT scan. A lumbar puncture removed fluid from his spinal column. It was crystal clear. Their medical procedures brought back memories for me.

In 1993, I was hospitalized in Kearny and diagnosed as having Guillan-Barré syndrome. My spinal fluid was the color of egg yolk. I also couldn't keep my balance.

Joey was diagnosed as having epstein barr virus, which caused encephalitis. I had this same diagnosis.

I had a fever, vomiting and was drowsy. This virus spreads through the secretions of the mouth.

Ninety percent of American adults over 25 have developed antibodies to it. Those who do develop symptoms experience the body's defense against the epstein barr virus.

Complications include anemia, inflammation of the heart with the virus spreading through the central nervous system. This happened both in Joey's case and in mine.

Every time I have a virus infection, I have increased trouble walking and instead of semi-paralysis in my lower limbs, I am like a slab of cement. They have to use a lift on me. I can no longer use my walker then.

Joey had physical therapy and was discharged using a walker.

Guillané- barre is a mean disease with long-term effects.

Helen Arnold,

Trenton, Neb.

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