Dad woke up paralysed after 'food poisoning' turned out to be rare condition

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Asam Iqbal first fell ill 11 months ago (Image: Asam Iqbal)
Asam Iqbal first fell ill 11 months ago (Image: Asam Iqbal)

A dad of four is trying to stay positive after what he thought was food poisoning turned out to be a rare illness which has left him paralysed.

Asam Iqbal, from Keighley, was healthy before he fell ill 11 months ago and ended up being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a serious condition which affects the nerves and often starts with symptoms in people’s feet and hands.

His brother Asif said Asam had eaten little with apparent food poisoning, so they thought he was just weak when he fell out of bed and couldn't get up.

"He had a fever," he told YorkshireLive.

Dad woke up paralysed after 'food poisoning' turned out to be rare condition eideeidediqxzinvAsam was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) (Asam Iqbal)

"He was recovering from food poisoning. I went to see him and he didn’t look that well. When he fell off the bed he couldn’t get up. Me and his wife had to get him back up. We thought it was weakness because he hadn’t eaten."

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Asam became more ill and as they were told they had an eight hour wait to speak to a nurse on 111, Asif spoke to a cousin who was a doctor and told them to go straight to hospital.

"We thought it was too long so we called a cousin who is a doctor who came and said we had to call 999. We had to get him to the hospital. At this point, he could only move his upper body. It was a nightmare. When we got there later he couldn’t move his arms at all," said Asif.

Dad woke up paralysed after 'food poisoning' turned out to be rare conditionAsam was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a serious condition which affects the nerves (Asam Iqbal)

It was at hospital that Asam's family was shocked to hear he had the rare Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

"He has an overactive thyroid. It made it worse. A decision was made to put him in a coma," said Asif.

Asam is still in hospital 11 months since he fell ill.

"I was in a coma for six weeks. It was only around two months that I realised what was going on and what had happened," he said.

"And at the time I could not talk and I had lost the use of my neck. Being in a coma is a weird experience, it is like living in a different world altogether. It’s one hell of an experience."

Still paralysed, he says he misses the simple things in life. "It’s been a long time. Am trying to just get on it. It’s hard to describe everything, especially when it has been this long. The illness is getting better slowly. No quick fix," he said.

Dad woke up paralysed after 'food poisoning' turned out to be rare conditionAsam Iqbal had not been eating or drinking much after falling ill with food poisoning and later fell off the bed and couldn't get up (Asam Iqbal)

"Of course, you miss everything. Driving the car. Walking the shop. Going to the barbers. You miss everything."

But he is not dwelling on what happened and is keeping positive, even managing to raise £3,000 for the NHS by cycling while on his wheelchair.

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"You can’t sit and think about everything," he said. "You just learn to adapt, don’t you? You can’t let your mind take control. You can’t latch onto that.

But he needs physiotherapy which he cannot get at the moment on the NHS as appointments are fully booked up and his family have launched a GoFundMe page to help raise money for it.

Maynard Manyowa

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