Hope offered as loved father battles ‘hell’
AS DEZ Ginns lies in a hospital bed battling an extremely rare disease, a complete stranger - whose husband faced a similar fate - has offered the family hope and guidance.
The larger-than-life Mooloolaba hairdresser has been in a coma at Sunshine Coast University Hospital since contracting Japanese encephalitis from a mosquito bite in Bali.
It was a bite from a tick that had Laura Penkalla's husband Kevin wasting away. But a 18 months on, his health is slowly returning.
Mr Penkalla initially lost movement in his left arm and, being a dentist, was unable to work immediately, but he is back in the chair now.
Mrs Penkalla did not mince her words: her husband went through "hell", but she said it did get easier.
"I know what this poor woman (Judy) is going through," Mrs Penkalla said.
"It's horrendous at times and there's no one you can talk to (about it).
"Encephalitis has no reverse. You can't stop the symptoms.
"It's just a waiting game for the virus to leave the brain."
Hundreds have rushed to the aid of Mr Ginns with an outpouring of money going to a GoFundMe Page which has surpassed the $41,000 mark in a week.
It is unknown how long he will be in hospital for or what recovery process is in sight.
Going off her husband's experience, Mrs Penkalla said Mr Ginns could take months to show improvement.
"She (Judy) will be feeling very confused, very numb," she said.
"What she has to do is take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. That's the only way.
"The worst you can do is trawl the internet looking for answers like I did. It doesn't help.
"But slowly it does get better. It does get easier.
"Four months ago, Kevin started to go back to work. He's slowly regaining control of his left arm."
Mrs Penkalla implored Mrs Ginns to ask doctors to seek guidance from Asian counterparts who regularly treat patients with encephalitis.