Dad paralyzed after ‘food poisoning’ turns out to be rare disease

The father of four, who suffered from food poisoning and a fever during his illness for several days, was actually stricken with a “nightmare” syndrome that left him completely paralyzed.

Asam Iqbal fell ill 11 months ago, but his condition deteriorated rapidly and he was eventually diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).

GBS is a serious disease that affects the nerves and often starts with symptoms on people’s legs and arms, reports Yorkshire Live.

His brother Asif Iqbal said that Asam, from Keighley in West Yorkshire, actually ate and drank little after he fell ill with food poisoning, so they assumed he was battling weakness when he fell out of bed and couldn’t get up.

Asif said, “He had a fever. He was being treated for food poisoning. I went to him and he didn’t look very good. When he fell out of bed, he could not get up. him back. We thought it was weakness because he didn’t eat.”

However, according to Asif, when Asam’s condition worsened, they called 111 and were told the nurse would call back in eight hours. Asif said: “We thought it was too long, so we called our cousin, a doctor, who came and said we should call 999. We had to take him to the hospital. At this point, he could only move his upper body. It was a nightmare. When we arrived later, he couldn’t move his arms at all.”

At the hospital, Iqbal’s family received a diagnosis that shocked them: they were told that Asam had GBS, a very rare condition that their cousin said he had only seen or heard about once in his entire practice. And then things only got worse.

Asif says they were told that Asam has an overactive thyroid gland and they need to put a comma. He said, “He has an overactive thyroid. This made the situation worse. It was decided to put it with a comma.”

And Asif says their misfortune didn’t end there, as just hours later their mother was hospitalized with an intestinal volvulus that required surgery and left her in the same intensive care unit as her son Asam.

Asif said it was difficult to run errands between the two ICUs.

“The next day, his mother was hospitalized with an intestinal volvulus,” he said. “My sister and I ran around. We couldn’t tell any of them. We couldn’t worry about them. My mother was discharged after 6 weeks. She had surgery. My mother tried to call him at the hospital. She said she didn’t understand why he didn’t come to her. We had to lie that he didn’t have a phone. We couldn’t get it.

“This was hard. It was hard for us as a family in the intensive care unit. Both my mother and my brother. To see a member of your family like this.”

Luckily, their mother got out of the hospital just as Asam came out of his coma. Asam, who is still in the hospital 11 months after his illness, says being in a coma was a terrible out-of-body experience.

He said: “I was in a coma for six weeks. It wasn’t until two months later that I realized what was going on and what had happened.

“And at that time I couldn’t speak and I lost the ability to use my neck. Being in a coma is a strange experience, it’s like living in another world. It’s a hell of a experience.”

Asam, who is still paralyzed, says he misses the simple things in life. He said, “It’s been a long time. I’m just trying to understand this. It’s hard to describe everything, especially when it’s been so long. The disease is recovering slowly. There is no quick solution.

“Of course you miss everything. Driving, shopping, going to the hairdresser, you miss everything.”

Asam is on the mend, although recovery is still far away. He also has a new outlook on life and says he won’t dwell on what’s going on. He said: “You cannot sit and think about everything, you have to forget about the outside. You just learn to adapt, don’t you? on this”.

And he showed his big heart and willpower. Asam has raised over £3,000 for the NHS by riding his bike in a wheelchair.

But in order to fully restore the functions of the body, he needs physical therapy, which at the moment he cannot complete due to pressure on the NHS.

His family has started GoFundMe, which they want to use to provide private physical therapy sessions, which they say has shown they can help Asam.

Asif said: “The ICU staff were wonderful. He was there for 5 months. He couldn’t move when he woke up. He couldn’t speak. We couldn’t hear what he was saying. A speech therapist appeared in the hospital, and after 5 months he began to recover, his voice began to return, movements appeared here and there.

“He is recovering, but he needs therapy. The hospital is currently overcrowded. They don’t have enough staff. We can’t sign him up for sessions.”

But no matter what happens, Asam maintains a positive outlook on life that is contagious. He said: “Every day I wake up with a smile. People can’t even do that.”

To help Asam get the physical therapy he needs, click here.

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