Who could predict that the experience of contracting and recovering from this debilitating disease could teach so much?
ON January 9 of 2013 I found myself standing at the reception window of the emergency wing of our hospital. By evening I could no longer stand and by next morning I had lost the use of my hands, legs and abdomen.
Over the next three days I continued to lose the ability to work any muscle below my throat. I had Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a variant of multiple sclerosis, where the myelin coating on the signal lines between brain and muscle was being destroyed.
This was scary, to say the least, especially since I had GBS once before, in the year 2000, and knew I could lose ability to breathe, to swallow and to talk. I could die. I was afraid of those possibilities as I lay in the Intensive Care Unit. I knew too much, more than the medical staff, and it was not helpful to know those things.
When I awoke on Day 4, it felt like the deepest calm after the most furious storm. The stillness in my body was like a silent echo—a perfect kind of “from a long ways off” feeling. I wasn’t positive, couldn’t quite believe, until the morning of Day 5 when I could sense the reconstruction crew had begun its work. I was in recovery!
From that moment on I was likely the happiest patient in the entire hospital. From that moment my knowledge of my past illness led to elation after elation as the signs of the remembered path to recovery showed me exactly where I was—and how much closer to home. Wonderful! And confusing for those watching me as they could not quite figure out how a paralyzed patient could be so happy.
This time it took until Day 21 before I could again walk well enough to be discharged.
What did I learn? For me the answer is in the ultra-vivid dreams and messages that I received while unable to use my body. In surround sound IMAX 3D, these were symbolic dreams that repeated many times and provided meaning to me.
One dream, repeated often, showed the numbers 14, 17, 19 and then a flickering between 28 and 27. I was moved out of ICU on the 14th day, had my tracheotomy removed on the 17th and left the hospital on the 27th, though scheduled to leave on the 28th. Get the idea? Yikes! I was somehow ultra perceptive to communication that comes from that place I call “the other side.”
What did I learn? For me the answer is in the ultra-vivid dreams and messages that I received while unable to use my body.
Another repeated dream showed a black arbour that I seemed to have walked through and turned to look at. The leaves on the vines were black and on fire, but they did not burn. There was someone or something just behind my right side, watch- ing with me and supporting me. Every time the dream showed up, the arbour was further and further away, as if it and those flaming leaves were the disease abating. There were many more dreams.
I learned, or think I learned, about receiving guidance from “the other side.” The reason I believe this is that every time I ignored what seemed to be an insight, it came back to my awareness more strongly. Once I acknowledged an insight, the next one showed up. It was as if these were important enough to make sure I remembered them.
Not that I recommend becoming paralyzed, but it seems to have been an effective way to show me knowledge about the truth that resides on the other side. I have written a book, Up from Paralysis, available in June, sharing my entire experience.
More Inspiration: Check out this informative article on what integrated medicine is.
Author: Joseph Seiler, MCC, is a success coach who helps people to be clear about what they want and to then go get it.