This is only a recreation of what my mom describes to me, but it's real all the same. I was two-years-old, turning three in a couple of months. My mom was visiting her family with me in North Dakota, where she's from, with her two daughters. It was a normal trip. We were at her half-brother's wedding when my mom said I came down with a fever. We left and she took care of me the rest of the night.
The next week we were still spending time with family, a big reunion. She stated that I was running around the living room table when I started stumbling around like I was drunk. She obviously panicked and took me to the hospital in Minot, ND. The doctors claimed that it was nothing to be worried about and to just take me in again if anything happened again.
My mom and sister were out at the park playing with me when I jumped down from a short ledge and fell completely on my face. The two-year-old that usually runs around everywhere, jumping and skipping, couldn't even keep her balance.
My mom decided that I needed to see a doctor in a bigger city where they might have better expertise. She drove me an hour and a half on her own to Bismarck, ND. She said that she knew it was bad when she looked back and saw me in my booster seat passed out with vomit dripping down my face. I couldn't walk at this point. Whatever was happening, it was happening fast.
Luckily, once we got to the hospital, the head medical director of North Dakota just happened to be at the hospital. They did multiple tests to see if I had meningitis, but it wasn't that. Finally, I had a spinal tap performed where they determined I had Guillian-Barre syndrome.
Guillian-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks the nerves and causes paralysis. It's rare, fewer than 20,000 cases a year. It's extremely rare for a child under five-years-old to develop this as well, as it is more frequent in older patients. It paralyzes from the feet and up unless treated. I was given immunoglobulin for a week until I made a full recovery, thankfully.
I had to attend physical therapy after that for weeks to learn how to walk again and become potty trained again. Although I don't think about it often since it happened when I was so young, there are certain vaccines I was warned against because it could possibly trigger the disorder again. This includes the flu vaccine and meningitis B. This worries me because meningitis B is extremely contagious and can be fatal, especially since I'm going off to college.
Overall, I'm extremely thankful and blessed that I made a full recovery because I know there are many people who don't. I don't suffer any repercussions and I'm sure many others would love to be in my position.