EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WYTV) – You’ve probably heard of Lyme disease but have you ever heard of neurological Lyme disease? Both are transmitted through ticks but it’s the difference in symptoms that sets them apart.
“It can be life-changing, it can be debilitating and it can kill you. It can kill you,” Nathan Barrett said.
For Barrett, it started with headaches and then there was numbness and tingling all over his body.
“It’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever gone through,” he said.
In mid-May, the 27-year-old’s life changed forever.
“I woke up and I had lost my mobility altogether,” Barrett said.
“We had to physically carry him out and he was just limp,” said Joey Shilot, Barrett’s partner. “He had no strength to do anything.”
Doctors were treating Barrett for Lyme disease but nothing was working. His strength weakened and he was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, which caused temporary paralysis to the left side of his face.
“Literally, I was learning how to live, and care for myself and dress myself all over again. It was like I just started over but with the mindset of a 27-year-old man,” Barrett said.
He was diagnosed with neurological Lyme disease in mid-June, which presents itself differently by attacking the nerves.
Doctors told Barrett he may never be able to walk again.
“That was probably the hardest day for me and equally the best day for me,” he said.
It motivated him to prove them wrong.
“At that point, I kind of just quit feeling bad for myself and really got determined.”
And he did. Now in his sixth week in the hospital, Barrett is walking with a stick cane and improving every day.
His determination didn’t stop there. In the middle of his treatment in June, with the help of his nurse, Barrett graduated from the John D. Rockefeller five career center as a licensed practical nurse.
“I felt like I had a whole new sense of pride,” he said. “Rolling up there in my little wheelchair, getting my diploma.”
“It’s not easy, it’s hard work,” said Chris Pavlick, Barrett’s nurse. “For him to try to accomplish that even with all the symptoms he was having with his Lyme disease — I give you kudos, buddy.”
Now Barrett is on the road to recovery and a new career.
Pavlick said Barrett could make a full recovery, but they’re not sure how long that would take. He is expected to be discharged from the hospital on Friday to finish that recovery at home.