Patient Stories

My Wife, Caregiver and GBS Hero

My Wife, Caregiver and GBS Hero - Jim Yadlon

By Jim Yadlon

My name is Jim Yadlon and I am Recovered GBS patient. My battle with GBS was a long time ago, 1973-74. But one never forgets the gist of time with GBS even though I have forgotten some of the smaller details. One important detail that I will never forget is the love and the care that I experienced from my caregiver and GBS Hero, Rachel Yadlon. We were very young. I was 21 and Rachel was 19 and we were married just three months before I ended up in the ER on November 17th, 1973 with tingling feet and hands. I had a very sick feeling — I knew something was very wrong. Yes we were young but we knew what we wanted from our future lives. We both came from abusive homes and our main goal in our young lives was to have a loving and happy family. Nothing was more important.

Within a few hours of my entering the emergency room for diagnosis for my rapidly weakening body, I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. What in the heck is this condition or disease? I was rolled into an elevator and directly into the ICU! Why am I here and what is going to happen to me?  Rachel came in and told me that I will become paralyzed and but that I will recover. That statement was so important and Rachel made me believe that I will get better.

I did become totally paralyzed, as bad as it gets, with a tracheotomy and on a MA1 ventilator. The ICU that I was in was a semi-circular layout with 12 beds and a central nursing station in the middle of the room. As a result of this layout, visitors were only allowed in for 5 to 10 minutes every other hour. These few minutes, a few times a day, were precious to me as, other than the nurses care, this short visiting time was the only contact I had with anyone – but most importantly, my new bride. These six weeks in the ICU were a very lonely time. Rachel’s visits were so important to me and she never let me see her cry. Rachel came in the morning, on her lunch hour and all through the evening until midnight, and then again the next day for an entire six weeks, until I was sent to rehab in January.

I believe that this was as hard on her as it was on me. (Rachel was also dealing with a boss who was uncaring about our situation and mean-spirited.)

Rachel’s love and care got me through this awful time. When a near-death event occurred due to a respiratory-care employee’s negligence, she waged a battle to the highest management of the hospital and made sure that my care was at the highest level. She took over my life and dealt with seven or eight doctors and made all of the important decisions concerning my care including moving me to a rehab hospital after all of the doctors were against this idea. That decision happened to be the best decision for me as I recovered faster than if I had not been moved. All at just nineteen years old and on her own for the first time in her life.

Her love and care of me is now in its 45th year, as well as caring for our three daughters, sons-in-law and our four grandchildren.

Rachel is my GBS Hero and our post GBS lives has been extremely rewarding. Our goal of a happy and loving family has been achieved beyond our wildest expectations.  Thank you, Rachel Yadlon, for your love and care.