NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Baton Rouge physician Bucky Elofson M.D., was in good shape and had no underlying medical conditions when he contracted Covid-19 in September. He got sick,but didn’t have to go to the hospital with the initial infection. About two weeks later though, something went very wrong.
“On September 14th, I got up to go to the bathroom at five in the morning, I just fell, my feet wouldn’t work,” said Elofson.
As a doctor, he had a good idea what it was, an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome that attacks the nerves. Sometimes it causes paralysis, and in his case, it was triggered by his Covid-19 infection.
He let his wife know he needed to go to the hospital.
“I said if it gets above my chest wall, I said I won’t be able to breathe and therefore I will be on a ventilator and I said if I’m on a ventilator, just remember I will come back, because we do, I said, but just understand I got to communicate with you someway,” Elofson told his wife. “I said if I blink twice it means I love you and I am coming back.”
Over the next few days his condition worsened.
“I was in the 20 percent that needed to be ventilated,” he said.
He was on a ventilator for 11 days, paralyzed from his cheeks to his toes.
“By three weeks I was walking and doing great. It was a quick recovery, now I was walking like Frankenstein, but I was walking,” Elofson said. ”My wife was there every minute of every day and night with me, so it was nice, I had lots of prayers, so, I got better quick.”
Elofson is now back at work. He reached out to FOX 8 after seeing our story on St. Bernard Parish District Fire Chief Rory Miller. Miller is currently hospitalized and paralyzed from the waist down with Guillain-Barre, also triggered by his Covid-19 infection.
“This has probably been the strongest I have ever had to fight for my life,” Miller said.
Elofson wants Miller to know he’s been there and is here to tell him he will get better.
“Just keep as positive of an attitude as you can. It does get better. Now, some people it takes longer, don’t go by three weeks getting better, I got very lucky that I was walking in three weeks, that’s unusual,” said Elofson.
The Baton Rouge liasion for the Guillain-Barre Syndrome and CIDP Foundation also reached out to us about Miller’s story. Jessica Schexnayder, with The GBS/CIDP Foundation wanted to make sure Miller and his family know they are not alone. She also wanted to share her personal experience. In 2012, she was also paralyzed for four days with CIDP, a similar, rare, autoimmune disorder that attacks the nerves.
“I just wanted to reach out to Rory and say hey, I’ve been there, I’ve been paralyzed, it chokes me up a little bit thinking about it, because I just want he and his family to know they are not alone in this fight,” said Schexnayder.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for Miller’s medical care.
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