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September 3, 2009

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Coma just part of life

FOR more than 20 years, a man in northeastern China's Liaoning Province has been hoping before he goes to bed that he wakes up the next morning.
He suffers from the rare illness Guillain-Barre syndrome, Dalian-based Peninsula Morning Post reported yesterday.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system and can lead to total paralysis. Most patients, however, recover from even the most severe cases.
Xu Qingcai, 40, told the newspaper that he first passed out when he was 18 and woke up 19 days later. He was unable to control his arms and legs and fell unconsciousness.
After that he would suffer from an attack of the illness every few years, and his sleep would last from several days to several months up to a record two years.
Xu slept for two years when he was 22 and fell into a seven-month sleep at age 33.
His last episode was a five-month sleep when he was 35, which almost led to the breakup of his family. His wife took his twin sons to her hometown in Anhui Province, but they were reunited.
Xu didn't complete primary school partly due to his illness. But Xu and his family, including his 84-year-old mother, often obtained help from kind-hearted people.
An entrepreneur lent him money and a counter at a market to run a small business while neighbors and workers also lent assistance, the report said.


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