If there’s anything Danielle Ray is, it’s tenacious. You want her to do something? Go ahead and tell her she can’t do it.
Five weeks ago, Danielle went to the Western Baptist emergency room. She’d been complaining about tingling in her hands and feet. The tingling was a sign of something serious. Her family and friends were adequately freaked out when doctors told us she had Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a malady none of us had ever heard of.
Long story short, her body attacked her nerves after an infection, and she was temporarily paralyzed. Becky Ray, Danielle’s equally tenacious mom, managed her cell phone during her hospitalization, sporadically sending text messages to her friends who had little information and lots of questions.
After a trip to Vanderbilt Medical Center for special treatments she couldn’t get in Paducah, Danielle started a long stay in rehab. I went to see her when she got situated, and it was hard to recognize her. For someone who was constantly looking forward to the next big event, Danielle was defeated. She talked about her pain and little else.
Over the next four and a half weeks, instead of seeing her every day at work, I saw her in a hospital bed for an hour or two at night. She was generally exhausted, pale and not the smart alec I was used to. It was easier to see difference after the nights I couldn’t visit. Danielle’s progress was remarkable. Every visit was like a page in a flip book. Monday, her face gained more color. Wednesday, she moved her legs more and bent her wrists. Saturday, she smiled more. If Danielle could have worked for 72 hours straight, and it would have made her life normal again, she would have done it. But she couldn’t. With GBS, it’s easy to over exert yourself during rehab.
Although she’s made physical strides faster than average, it was more welcome to hear her discuss birthday celebration ideas. Danielle still has work to do before she’s playing with her Doberman, Zoe, and training for the marathon she still intends to run. But she’s looking forward and making plans.
Area residents: stay alert. Danielle Ray is back on the scene and plotting her next adventure. It’s a dangerous thought, really.
Call Rebecca Feldhaus, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651.