Father paralyzed by rare, temporary condition

Mar 3, 2023, 6:40 PM | Updated: Mar 6, 2023, 9:33 am

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — It started with tingling in his arm, then Ryan McClain, 32, could not uncross his eyes. The young father was rushed to the hospital where his condition rapidly worsened.

“I pretty much was fully paralyzed within 48 hours,” McClain said. “By the time I was in the emergency room, my face started to droop and my tongue was starting to become paralyzed.”

Doctors diagnosed the husband and father of two with Miller-Fisher Syndrome, a rare variant of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. It’s a condition, believed to be triggered by an infection, where the immune system attacks the nerves.

McClain had a stomach bug two weeks prior to the incident in August of 2022.

“His nerves can no longer communicate, and he can’t get that signal to where it needs to be and so he can’t move,” said April McClain, Ryan’s wife.

Doctors told the couple that patients with this rare condition usually make a full recovery anywhere from six months to two years.

“They were saying maybe he can come home in 12 weeks, well then we hit 12 weeks and he was still on a ventilator until month five,” April McClain said.

After two months of rehab, Ryan can now breathe on his own, eat, speak, open his eyes and move his head and shoulders.

“We have more hope now than we’ve had before,” April McClain said. “Ryan continues to stay positive and that inspires me.”

Each day Ryan does hours of physical, occupational and speech therapies at Pointe Meadows Health and Rehabilitation in Lehi. Doctors are already seeing improvement and Ryan is hopeful that he will be able to regain movement soon.

“I should recover from this,” he said. “It is just going to take time.”

The couple is keeping positive throughout this journey and is sharing their story about this rare condition, to let others know they are not alone.

“If there is anyone else in our situation that we can say, you know we’ve been there and there is hope,” April McClain said.

The couple’s parents have been able to take care of their two young sons as April stays by Ryan’s side at the rehab center.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe* to help with mounting medical bills as Ryan was the family’s sole provider.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Father paralyzed by rare, temporary condition