Mum with rare illness accused of being drunk at daughter’s school
A mum accused of being drunk while picking up her daughter from school has discovered a rare illness was to blame for her symptoms – which ultimately left her paralysed.
When Charlotte Debieux, 25, went to pick up her daughter Poppy, three, she found herself unsteady on her feet.
But it wasn’t alcohol that left Debieux stumbling and paralysed just weeks later – it was autoimmune disease Guillain Barré syndrome.
Mortified by the accusations and fearing her daughter would be taken away by social services, Debieux realised that her symptoms were a sign of something serious.
She said: “I’d been walking around for weeks, looking drunk. I was finding it hard to walk because my feet felt numb.
“My daughter’s school was asking if I’d been drinking, and I was mortified.That was the point where I realised something was seriously wrong.”
A month after noticing a loss of sensation and numbness in her back and lower body, Debieux was finally admitted to the hospital in September 2017 and diagnosed with Guillain Barré syndrome – after doctors had originally thought she may be experiencing symptoms of early-onset Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The autoimmune disease, which affects one in a million people, attacks the nerves and can cause numbness, weakness, and pain in the feet, hands, and limbs according to the NHS.
In Debieux’s case, the neurological condition left her paralysed within a month – and forced her daughter to move in with her grandmother, Michelle Debieux.
“My feet and hands felt like pins and needles.
“My back pain was ridiculous,” she recalls.
Guillain Barré syndrome, which medics believe can be brought on by an infection as common as food poisoning, can typically be treated – with most people eventually making a full recovery.
But for Debieux, the disease has been debilitating.
After spending a month in a hospital in Southampton, Charlotte, she was given an intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) transfusion directly into a vein.
She said: “My arms and legs were completely lifeless for about eight days. I could move my right leg after four days of receiving my IVIG, as well as my left arm, and I could squeeze my hands.”
The small improvements led doctors to discharge Debieux from the neurological ward in October 2017 but the illness has left her confined to a wheelchair and unable to care for herself.
She moved to Gloucester, to be close to her mum and daughter following her discharge, but in the weeks after, her mother had to help her out of the bath.
In addition to being unable to walk, Debieux has been left with droopy facial muscles which make her look like she’s had a stroke and fatigue that leaves her bedridden.
But despite the slow process, she hopes she will be able to make a full recovery so she can play with her daughter again – even if it takes three years, as it does for some patients.
The single mum said: “I just want to be able to pick my daughter up and swing her around in the summer. If I did that now I’d have to sleep for two hours afterwards.”
“I want to be able to push her on the swings,” she said.
Read the full article online: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/mum-drunk-school-guillain-barre-syndrome-autoimmune-a8313086.html
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