In a workshop all week for work, I have been unable to celebrate an
important anniversary on the appropriate day. On January 9, 1986, I
entered St. Louis Children’s Hospital. I remained there for four
months. I wrote the below poem about 8 years ago
When I was seventeen I entered the hospital
And when I left it four months later
I was bound to a wheelchair
Until my legs found the strength to walk again.
I had been diagnosed with a disease
Called Guillain Barre Syndrome
Where the antibodies that formerly destroyed a flu virus
Went on to destroy the insulation around my nerves
And without the insulation, while my brain
could still send messages to my muscles,
the messages never reached their destination.
It was as if all the phone lines were dead.
The antibodies were quick and within 24 hours
I was paralyzed from the neck down.
Luckily the insulation around the nerves
knows how to regrow. But it’s slow.
The thing I tell people, noone believes
is I was the first in an epidemic of disabilities.
Before I entered the hospital, wheelchairs
were few and far between.
Oh, I would see them occasionally,
but after I left the hospital
the numbers grew exponentially.
It can’t be a coincidence.
Laugh, think me insane if you will
but how else would you explain
the phenomena of the few
before and the many after?