Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake is experiencing prolonged technical issues, so I'm temporarily posting back here on my old Stroke of Grace blog.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jennifer is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com. (Please see above temporary update note above!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Memory Lane

I've come across a few pictures and updates from earlier in my recovery.

It all started with a chiropractic injury that resulted in two massive strokes, unconsciousness an and ambulance ride.

On the 25th of October, Rick posted from the ER, "After over 6 hours on no response, Jenni tried to open her eyes, even a little, squeezed my hand, and was able to shake her head yes and no to a few basic questions. The Nurse, said she was looking better."

Here's my account of what happened during those same six hours, the most important part of this story!

A friend re-posted the day-by-day short updates that my husband was initially posting to Facebook. It is my best history of those first few days, that I have little memory of my own. (Thanks for documenting for me, Lisa!)

Sometime after I was moved down to the main hospital neurological wing (I don't know the date - probably late October or very early November), my shredded artery clotted and I had a third stroke. I was briefly (a few hours) "locked in," meaning I could only follow movement with my one non-paralyzed eye, but could move no other part of my body and could not speak, but I could hear and was fully away of everything going on around me. I was vomiting faster than the nurses could change my bedding or gowns and they had to keep rolling me on my side to keep me from drowning. (I was so incredibly dizzy, contributing to the vomiting, that I could only tolerate laying on my back, face up toward the ceiling. Turning my head even slightly sideways just contributed to the feeling of extraordinarily severe "car sickness.")

Cards on the wall, the first time I was in rehab. I was in three different rooms at the rehab hospital and all threee had frosted windows, where they are contracted to hold prisoners in need on rehab, with no view of the outside world. At least I never had a sheriff station outside my door, though I did have a man burst into my room in the middle of one night. "Help! Help! It's a catastrophe. I can't find my clothes." I was still unable to even sit up in bed on my own, much less stand on my own two feet! You better believe, a semi naked man, at the foot of my bed in a wheel chair in the middle of the night, so disoriented that he had pulled out his own IV and couldn't understand that we were both in a hospital, certainly had me urgently pushing my nurse call button! I kind of wished I did have a guard outside my room at that point.
Three more (smaller, but different parts of my brain) stokes in the rehab hospital (the main symptom that put me on bed rest in rehab and indicated the need for another MRI was continual, wild, involuntary head bobbing) send me back to the main hospital via ambulance, for two emergency surgeries that took place on Thanksgiving Day, November, November 24, 2011 and another terrible night in the ICU. (I am told these six area of brain loss/damage are permanent :( though some of the bruising to the brain is healing and the "rewiring" process has begun, training new areas of the brain to take over some of the tasks that the areas that died used to be responsible for.) After 5 days of mandatory full hospital bed rest following the surgeries, I was back to the rehab hospital.

Don't know the actual date? This was a prayer quilt ("Comforting Hands," West Virgina) that greatly blessed and encouraged me. You can also see my teddy bear (from my sister-in-law, requested from our house) and Tina Bunny (sent to the hospital by my friend), up on my pillow. <3 The room looks like it was from my second time in the rehab hospital.

On Dec. 5, 2011, Rick posted from the rehab hospital,
"Jenni does her first puzzle since she had a stroke - Blues Clues - bow bow bow."  

What my hair used to look like, pre-stroke. We had to cut it to shoulders (pictured above) as soon as I was transferred out of ICU to the regular neuro floor (about a week after the first strokes) because it was so mattered and tangled from all my days in bed and from the EEG gel.
Hospital hair cut, in December. More stylish and so much easier to shower, brush and care for.
Hospital snuggles with my little Snuggle Bear. :) "Mommy needs a snuggle."

Home coming Day! December 14, 2011. Hospital bed in our living room. The gift basket is from my writers' group, Reno Christian Writers. The prayer shawl, at the foot of the bed, is from a church prayer group, out of state. Medically, my doctor still really did not want to release me yet, but insurance said they wouldn't keep paying any longer. I was so glad to be home!

On Dec. 16, my mom posted, "Jenni's insurance approved a special walker for her. It is called a U-Step with 7 wheels. Pray that it arrives soon! She is stuck with the wheel chair until it arrives. Also her wheel chair is too wide to fit through the bathroom doors, so it is quite the dance to get her to the restroom. A narrower wheel chair has been requested! Thank you for your prayers.

On Dec.  21, she updated, "It arrived yesterday! She is so happy to be up and mobile on her own. We are with her, or some adult is, but she is doing the walking."

On Christmas day, I couldn't manage to keep down dinner. It was at least the third time that I thew up all over Rick. (That I know of. Once in the ER, I've been told, once during my 3rd stroke in the main hospital, once on Christmas Day. I threw up a lot of other times too, just not on Rick.) I'm so glad we don't have pictures of that! :P

I know there are other updates and/or picture that I may be editing into this post as I find them, but that's all I can find or figure out how to upload for now.

Here's my fun post of the day (from Facebook). Many of these, I did not know!

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. - Isaiah 42:16

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