“Jennifer, I want you to blink once for Yes, twice for No!” Tears were streaming down my face. As I laid there on the hardwood floor in the entry way of my house, I looked around. Taylor was holding my hand, telling me how strong I was. Emilee was standing behind him, trying to comfort him and also telling me that I was going to be alright. Mike was talking with the first responders, telling them what had happened. There were two first responders trying to find a vein to do an IV. Why couldn’t I speak? Why couldn’t I move my body? The EMT next to me told me that I had gone into Adrenal Crisis, fainted and that they were trying to help me. He asked me if I could understand what he was saying and told me to blink once for Yes, twice for No.
I was completely paralyzed. The EMT said he was going to do an IO (Intraosseous infusion) so that they could give me medications because my blood pressure was dangerously high. I tried telling him no. I was screaming but nothing came out. My heart was racing. The last time they did an IO, I ended up with Compartment Syndrome, an Emergency Fasciotomy Surgery, where they almost amputated my leg, and went into Cardiac Arrest 3 times. I didn’t want to die. I have things to do and people that need me to stay alive. I quickly looked over at Mike, tears flooding my eyes, the look of terror on my face. “Please don’t let them kill me, Mike! Please say something!” Mike told him that unless I would die on the way to the hospital, they absolutely could not drill an IO into my knee. They loaded me into the ambulance. I could see Taylor out of the corner of my eye, as they were desperately trying to get an IV site going. All I could think about was how scared he must be. He knew that the last time he saw me in an ambulance, my spirit had left my body and tried telling Mike goodbye.
They got an IV going and we headed towards the hospital. They injected me with the steroid that was needed to pull me out of the Adrenal Crisis. My blood pressure started going down and suddenly I could feel my left hand. I squeezed the hand of the EMT who was sitting next to me, holding my hand. “We have movement,” he said excitedly. He gave me another shot of steroids, and then started asking me yes or no questions about how to save my life; we communicated with me blinking.
We arrived at the hospital and I was taken to a trauma room. Suddenly, I had several nurses and a doctor surrounding me. They kept asking me questions and I desperately tried moving my mouth, with no success. I knew they had to talk to the EMT in order to know how to communicate with me, so I blinked rapidly and looked over at him in the hallway, then blinked rapidly again. They looked confused. I did it again. “You want him?” a nurse asked me. I blinked once. He came over and held my hand, telling the doctor and nurses how to communicate with me. The EMT did his best at telling the doctor what had happened. I squeezed his hand when he got some of the information wrong and he was able to talk to me and ask me questions until he got the information I was trying to say right. The doctor tried asking me questions but he kept getting confused, and even laughed when he couldn’t understand what I was trying to say. The EMT then told me that he had to go and that I was in good hands. I started crying. He couldn’t leave! I blinked twice and squeezed his hand as hard as I could. He was the only one who truly knew how to communicate with me. He was my voice. He let me know that he knew that I was scared but that my husband was on his way and he promised me that he would make sure that he could come into the trauma room to be with me. I blinked once and he knew that I felt ok with that. He told me how brave I was and that he was glad that he met me. He said that he knew that I was going to be ok and that he hoped to be able to see me when I got better so that I could say hello to him. I squeezed his hand and blinked once, and then he left.
The doctor then came over to me and started talking. I was not prepared for what he was about to say. “Jennifer, you had an Adrenal Crisis. You passed out and hit your head. Right now, you are paralyzed. I have to send you to get some images done because I think you had a stroke……do you understand? Blink once for yes, twice for no….”
……to be continued.