Battling Back: FSU Trustee Allan Bense Fighting Guillain–Barré Syndrome
December 17, 2013
Allan Bense badly wanted to be at Saturday’s ACC Championship football game in Charlotte, N.C.
Bense, chairman of the Florida State University Board of Trustees, also yearned to be in Gainesville the previous week to revel in FSU’s beat down of archrival University of Florida.
But Bense has been focused on far more basic and important matters, such as relearning how to dress himself in the morning and relearning how to walk.
Bense, 62, a Panama City businessman who was speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 2005 and 2006, is spending his days in a clinic in Atlanta, recovering from a debilitating ordeal that began without warning almost 100 days ago when Bense was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré Syndrome.
One day he was fine and playing golf. The next day his fingers and toes started tingling out of control. Two days later, he couldn’t move. His brain was fine but his body had betrayed him. He couldn’t communicate, and he was in constant agony.
“The pain is very intense. I’ve experienced some of the longest nights of my life,” Bense said during a telephone interview. “They say you can tell a Guillain–Barré patient by where the screams come from at night. I’ve kind of gotten beyond that now. My pain is at a minimum.”
“It’s been a rough ride, but we’re hanging on and improving every day,” he added. “I think I’ve turned the corner. I still have a long way to go but I see some daylight.”
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