AFE Survivor Anita

AnitaI was in pushing phase of labor and was suddenly nauseous. I told my husband I was going to be sick, and he turned to get the little pink tub. When he turned back around, I was gone. My heart had stopped. It took three hits from the defibrillator and six minutes to get it started again, but now there was a new problem, my blood stopped clotting, and I was bleeding out. They did an emergency c-section and our son was rushed to the NICU. Jarrett lived for seventeen days. The six minutes without oxygen was damaging to my brain, but it was devastating to his.

I was in a coma for a month. When I came out of it, my husband was sitting by my bed. I didn’t know he was but I knew that I belonged to him, and he belonged to me. I had total amnesia – I didn’t know who (or even what) I was. I couldn’t speak, or walk. I’d lost the entire left field of vision in both my eyes. I even head to be taught how to eat and drink again. I didn’t know I had been pregnant,or that I was in a hospital. When I started walking again, they took for a walk outside the hospital, an as the automatic doors Sid open, I remember being completely overwhelmed by the outside…I had forgotten the outside! When my husband brought our daughters to see me , I thought that Shayla was Alex and that Alex was Shayla. I couldn’t understand why my husband was calling them by the “wrong names. As time went on at the hospital regained the ability to walk. Speech was slower coming back, but with a lot of therapy, it did. My voice doesn’t sound like used to, but it also doesn’t sound like it did when I came out of the coma, either, so I’ll take it!

AnitaWhen I was able to return to our home, I realized that the Shayla was Shayla and Alex was Alex. I think seeing their pictures in their bedrooms (their names were painted on th walls of their respective bedrooms). That made me feel better and less “out of it”. Most of memory has come back over time, I often refer to it as my “Swiss cheese memory”.

I’ve had years of therapy…physical,occupational and speech. My vision has almost returned to normal, with only a small blind spot remaining. My sense of smell was taken, which means that my sense of taste was ask effected, which means I pretty much can’t taste what I eat anymore. I’ve learned to focus on texture, and I eat really hot and spicy things, because those I can taste.

I’ve learned that what you choose to focus on is basically everything in life. If spend my time focusing on what I’ve lost, I’ll be depressed. If instead I choose to focus on what I have, I can feel joy. I’m very fortunate that my husband (who I refer to as Captain Patience) is still with me, and we have created a beautiful strong family. I have dedicated myself to living the life that Jarrett lost, and so far, I think I’m doing a really good job of it! I want very much to make him proud of me.