Starting October 25 of 2011, "InfertilityMom," 39-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder of Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes, all due to vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office. The largest two strokes were brain stem and cerebellum bleeds. Jenni remained hospitalized until nearly Christmas 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 (please read more and watch short video). Jenni is now walking (with a cane or wheeled walker), has recovered much eye-sight, some hearing, partial use of her hands, cares for most of her own personal/toiletry needs, and is currently writing three books, maintains multiple blogs, and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Near the five-year recovery mark, Jenni has renewed her pre-stroke excitement about the unique Lilla Rose hair Flexi eight jewelry she sells and has finally regained enough hand/arm function to regularly use! (The biggest ongoing losses at the 4 1/2-year point of recovery are left-side nerve pain, inability to drive, loss of homeschool teaching capability, significant sound processing issues (often triggering nausea), and some profound physical ability limitations such as a limp, balance challenges, clumsy use of right hand and only large motor function in left hand.) Here is her resume.

Since Jenni's chiropractor carried no insurance and moved out of the country soon after the accident (thus avoiding any legal or financial consequences), if you would like to help contribute to the Saake (pronounced like the two small words, say and key) family's massive financial needs (medical expenses alone are estimated to cost between $1- and $1.5- Million in Jenni's lifetime), please visit Jennifer Saake's Stroke Survivor GoFundMe Page. (This support information has been added in direct response to several reader requests.) The Saakes sincerely thank you for your prayers and if God prompts and equipts you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Jenni is clinging to God's grace through the entire experience. Here is her unfolding story, documented in her own words (typing with only her right hand), as she perceives it happening in real time, messy, honest and to the glory of God...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rewriting History

I guess I'm not actually "rewriting" my history, just trying to incorporate new-to-me information into the biographic history I thought I already understand about a month worth of time in late 2011.


My understanding of the timeline of my strokes was that I had:

- 2 massive bleeds at the chiropractor's office (not really scary to me, just confusing, somewhat humorous to me at the time, an utterly joyful and peaceful ultimate memory)

- My 3rd stroke a week and a half or so later, down in the neuro wing of the main hospital (the one stroke I most vividly remember and was most upsetting to experience)

- 3 more clots thrown in my sleep one night a couple weeks later, at the rehab hospital (significant and frightening new consequences, but I'm thankful I slept through the actual events)


What I have been told this past week was a more accurate timeline:

- 2 massive bleeds at the chiropractor's office

- 3rd stroke (first clot) while still in the ICU (I was there about 6 days). I didn't even know this event ever even happened! Apparently it was before I even comprehended I had had the first strokes. I have NO memories attached to this event at all.

- What I've been calling my "3rd stroke," during that week or so down in the neuro wing of the main hospital (the one stroke I most vividly remember and was most upsetting to experience), was actually my 4th stroke.

- It sounds like only 2 more clots thrown in my sleep one night a couple weeks later, at the rehab hospital (significant and frightening new consequences, but I'm thankful I slept through the actual events).


I guess it really doesn't matter, other than I have little memory of this entire timeframe, so it feels strange to think what I've "known" about the details has been wrong.

 
I've seriously tried to get my records, but two months worth of ambulances, ICU, neuro wing at the hospital, rehab hospital, ambulance trip back to main hospital, 2 surgeries, a return to the therapy facility and at least 6 CDs filled with MRIs, MRAs and other images, makes for rather expensive copies. I'm not even worried about records from months and months of all kinds of therapies and rehabs since then, at this point! I'm just talking about wanting to better understand what exactly happened those first two months!
 
While the records are available to me to request, the hospital would still charge me for copies. If we were talking about a shorter and less complicated hospital stay, it would be quite doable. Since my stays were so long and involved and at multiple facilities, we are looking at a hefty little price tag.  I guess before I go much further with my book, I will need to make the investment to make sure I have accurate "memories" of all the details. Maybe it's not a big deal to most, but to me, especially since the strokes, where I now rely so heavily on the left (organizational side) of my brain, it feels vital to me to fill in the gaps with correct information!
 

 
 
Either way, it sounds like a total of what I've said al along, six strokes, just on a different timeline than I thought, four distinct events, not three. But this shakes me up enough to make me question everything I "knew." Did I misunderstand as event transpired (very probably) or did my family ever receive full information?
 
The pieces of the puzzle that still confuse me are that I seem to "recall" (dreamed?) one of my doctors at the main hospital saying my "third" (really 3rd event, 4th stroke) stroke wasn't even a stroke, but it was the most traumatic, stroke-like memory I retain, unable to move anything other than one blurry eye for several hours, drowning in my own non-stop vomit, incredibly "see sick" spinning and flipping sensation. If that wasn't another stroke, what was it??? So did I leave the main hospital to go to rehab already having had 3 or 4 strokes? I remember only the doctor stating I had experience, "multiple, catastrophic strokes" or another termed them "brain events." I've said 3 all along, even as far back as to my therapists at rehab and the EMTs who transported me back to the hospital prior to my surgeries. Now I simply don't know!
 
And then, over at the rehab hospital, when I woke up one morning with significantly more left arm dysfunction and my head wildly swaying uncontrollably, I was sent back to the main hospital where I was told I had had "more strokes" and "several more areas of brain death." After two surgeries and some time of strict bed rest, I went back to rehab where I thought I was told I'd had "three more strokes." But at one point my doctor stated "6 more strokes." I questioned her on this at the time and she didn't have my records with her at the moment but said she thought the count at this point was that I had six strokes in total over that entire month. Now I don't know how many, when nor where!
 
I guess I really need to save up to make purchasing my medical records a priority. I feel so thrown for a loop by this "new" information!!!
 
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. - Psalm 94:18

3 comments:

  1. I was so drugged that some of my memories are very skewed. But, I've let it go cuz not even knowing WHY I stroked drives me even crazier!

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    1. Not knowing why would really upset me too, Kendra!

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  2. Wow! My Heart Goes Out To You. I'm Praying For You.

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