10/9/18 Edit: We are now a CDC confirmed case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis. He has now been hospitalized for 66 days.
My brother in law Adam and sister Bridget got married on July 21, 2018 in a gorgeous ceremony at South Shore Pavilion. A few days after the wedding, they went on a road trip, and both of them got sick on their trip with some kind of respiratory virus. Bridget's went away on its own, but Adam did not improve (we think because of an immunosuppressant that he takes for Crohn's Disease AND because of his severe asthma). He ended up in the ER on August 5. He could not breathe and became increasingly paralyzed while in the ER, including his chest, lungs, arms, throat (swallowing muscles), facial muscles, and neck. He was admitted to the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit the same day, and we later learned he was on life support (intubated and with a ventilator machine) to keep him alive.
After almost 100 different tests and a few diagnoses, the latest suspected cause is Acute Flaccid Myelitis. The CDC estimates that less than one in a million people in the United States will get AFM every year (https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/index.html
) and only a few each year are adults. He was given a tracheostomy on 8/19 to help him breath more comfortably, but he is still on the ventilator. He is able to communicate by writing on paper, as his wrists and hands were (thankfully!) not affected much by the paralysis. He has been doing daily occupational and physical therapy and has made small gains to get more motion in his arm. He can slightly hold his head up on his own now, as well. They sent in tests for confirmation of his diagnosis and we are still waiting on the results. The paralysis may or may not improve with physical therapy. (A very small percent of people with AFM recover fully.)
Bridget was to start a new school two weeks ago, and her school has been understanding of her situation and told her to take as much time as she needs. People keep asking what they can do to help. We (friends and family) have been making sure Bridget has food delivered (thanks everyone!) & sending lots of happy thoughts/prayers Adam's way. Please keep reaching out to share your love! However, financial support is most helpful for the newlyweds at this time.
Adam has been in the ICU for 15 days and counting and will need intensive in-patient rehab for several months or even years. The financial burden put on them will be difficult. Even with insurance, the costs for this much intensive care in the ICU plus rehab will be expensive, and rehab is only covered for a limited number of days. Bridget will also have to take unpaid time off of work as a high school teacher to continue helping take care of him around the clock. The newlyweds also have a mortgage for their brand new house, and they are in the middle of renovating two of their houses, which Adam may no longer be able to do on his own.
The love these two share is incredible to witness. Bridget hasn't left Adam's side and has been sleeping next to him at the hospital every night. She helps him with everything and advocates for his care around the clock. They have become even more in sync and in love than they were before. Through his time here, Adam has also remained dedicated to Bridget, using his limited hand strength to write "did you get any sleep?" and "did you eat yet?" and "i love you."
If you are able to support them financially, please donate. If you are able to do other jobs or projects for them, please reach out. They are grateful for anything you can contribute!