About 8 hours later he woke up unable to move his left arm, he complained of worsening symptoms, and had profound weakness in his right arm, legs, and neck. He was taken to Memorial Hermann Greater Heights and seen immediately. The team there performed a spinal tap, a CT of the head and neck, and an MRI of the head and neck. They were shocked to find that Jeff had inflammation of his brain stem extending all the way down through his cervical spine and into the thoracic spine. The team immediately started testing and treating him for everything possible including brain eating ameoba, meningitis, tick borne diseases, mosquito diseases, etc.
The first night in the hospital Jeff's condition worsened. He started experiencing weakness and partial paralysis on his right arm, slurred speech, shallow breathing, and difficulty swallowing. The team decided to start him on high dose IV steroids, but told us there was nothing more they could do until we knew what the cause was. Eventually, most of the causes were ruled out and we were waiting on the results of one test in particular to come back. About three days later our questions were answered and unfortunately the diagnosis was confirmed. He was positive for West Nile Virus and became among the 1% of those affected by WNV who had neuroinvasive disease manifestations. Unfortunately, there are no cures or treatments for this.
The next day after the diagnosis we were transferred to the Medical ICU at Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center. They started his second of five rounds of plasmapheresis and told us that he would need extensive rehab. At this point he was paralyzed in both arms, was barely able to walk, nearly missed respiratory failure, had a feeding tube in, and was barely able to hold up his own head. They told us that he was likely to get better, but that there was a chance he may never get his arms back. After spending two weeks in the hospital he was transferred to TIRR Memorial Hermann a world class rehab center. We had a lot of hope he would recover. After about a week at TIRR Jeff started making progress in just about everything but his arms. He was learning to walk again, had managed to tackle stairs, he gained strength on his neck, he was able to get the feeding tube out and eat normally. All of these were tremendous improvements, but the lack of arm progress is difficult to swallow.
Jeff was discharged from in-patient rehab on August 5th, exactly one month later. He is still paralyzed and needs extensive rehab. We are moving to Atlanta, Ga and will be starting over. We need to help Jeff get back to the hard working and vibrant man he is! Right now he is unable to work and requires care around the clock. Please help us if you can to cover the cost of his medical bills, his rehabilitation, and specialized doctors. We appreciate any amount you can donate. Thank you, God Bless, and don't forget to wear your bug spray with Deet!
Lauren (Jeff's GF) and Jeff