Social media sites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are typically slammed for ruining people’s lives as well as their physical and mental health.
However, one Nebraska mother of three recently came forward to reveal the unexpected way one social media app actually saved her life when she had experienced a life-threatening stroke last year when she was just 38 years old.
A Normal Morning
On the morning of July 31, 2017, Darnisha Ladd got up and got ready for work just like she did every other morning. The mother from Omaha, who was 38 years old at the time, then left for work in the student placement office for Omaha Public Schools.
A Normally Enthusiastic Employee
“She’s always very vibrant and enthused about being at work when she’s at work,” co-worker Tisha Holland told KETV7. However, that day, Ladd wasn’t feeling like herself. Ladd wasn’t feeling well, and as the day went on she only felt worse.
Working Through The Discomfort
According to Ladd, she started feeling light-headed and dizzy while she was at work. Ladd tried to work through the discomfort she was experiencing, but it started to become too intense for her to focus on anything.
Time to Go Home
At one point, Ladd experienced a pounding headache. Yet Ladd still tried to keep working. It was only when her arm started shaking uncontrollably that she decided it was time to go home. According to Ladd, the shaking in her arm was so bad that she couldn’t even control the cursor on her computer.
Call An Ambulance
At that point, Ladd decided to go tell her supervisor that she wasn’t feeling well and needed to go home for the rest of the day. But as she tried to stand up out of her chair, Ladd fell back into her chair and was unable to stand on her own.
The First Examination
The 38-year-old was rushed to the emergency room at the Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha. When she arrived just after one in the afternoon, doctors examined her and found her blood pressure was higher than it should have been.
No Sign of Stroke
Doctors wondered if she was having a stroke, but they didn’t find any signs of any brain dysfunction. They also failed to find any other typical signs of a stroke like weakness in the arms, difficulty speaking, or drooping of the muscles in her face.
One Final Scan
To be sure that Ladd wasn’t having a stroke, doctors performed a CT scan. They found no sign of a stroke so felt sure she wasn’t in any immediate danger. However, the doctors insisted Ladd stay in the hospital until her blood pressure went down.
A Parting Warning
By 6:30 that night, Ladd’s blood pressure was finally back to a normal level and her headache had gotten better. Doctors told Ladd she was free to go home but warned her to come straight back if the symptoms returned or got worse.
Afraid of Being Alone
Ladd’s mother had been with her at the hospital and drove the mother of three home. However, Ladd didn’t want to be left alone as she was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to get help if the symptoms returned. So Ladd’s sister, Sherita White, agreed to stay with her.
Ladd’s Personal Nurse
White, who works as a nurse, had just finished her nursing shift but was happy to spend time with her sister that night. Yet shortly after arriving at the house, White noticed that Ladd still had an IV port in her arm.
The Snapchat Post
White filmed herself and Ladd while she removed the IV port from Ladd’s arm and then shared the footage on her Snapchat. Normally, Ladd teased her younger sister for using the video and photo sharing app.
A Relaxing Girls Night
Ladd had no idea, however, that the silly app would end up saving her life. Once the IV port was removed, the sisters turned on HBO’s Insecure. Once the show was finished, the pair continued to watch TV, but Ladd started getting drowsy and fell asleep.
Something Isn’t Right
“All of a sudden she woke up and something didn’t seem right,” White told the Omaha World-Herald. “Her eyes were (rolled) back, and she wouldn’t talk … I could tell she wasn’t breathing right.” White alerted the rest of the family and they loaded her into the car immediately.
Back to The ER
Ladd’s family drove her straight to the emergency room at the Immanuel Medical Center. According to the family, they arrived at the hospital just after 10 that night. By that point, Ladd’s entire left side was extremely weak.
While Ladd was conscious, she also couldn’t speak and couldn’t open her eyes. “It was scary,” Ladd later said. “I couldn’t say anything.” Despite ruling out a stroke earlier, doctors performed the tests and scans again.
The results from the new set of scans and tests showed Ladd had experienced a stroke. ER doctors called in Dr. Vishal Jani, a neurologist who wanted to treat Ladd with medication to save the 38-year-old’s life. But the medicine came with risks.
The Time Limit
According to Dr. Jani, the medicine needs to be administered within four-and-a-half hours from the first symptoms of the stroke. Unfortunately, doctors had no idea when the symptoms began and it had been more than that amount of time since she was released from the hospital.
The Difference Between Life And Death
“We can potentially save her life or kill her,” Jani told the Omaha World-Herald. The team treating Ladd had no choice but to assume that Ladd’s symptoms started when she left the emergency room, which meant it was too late to give her the life-saving medicine.
The Snapchat Proof
At that moment, however, White remembered the Snapchat she had taken. White showed it to the doctors, and they saw Ladd speaking and moving normally. Because of the time stamp on the video, doctors were able to prove Ladd’s symptoms had started less than four-and-a-half hours before.
With just 12 minutes to spare, doctors administered the medicine that dissolved the blood clot, which had been stopping blood from flowing to the brain. However, Ladd wasn’t out of the woods just yet. She ended up needing to be intubated and her brain started swelling.
Two Weeks Later
To reduce the pressure in her brain, doctors were forced to remove part of her skull. For the next two weeks, Ladd was kept on a ventilator. “There was a point in time where the doctors had told us we need to start thinking about her wishes,” Ladd’s sister, Danita Webb, told KETV7.
A Long Road to Recovery
Yet the mother of three started showing improvements and was transferred to Madonna Rehabilitation. At the rehabilitation center, Ladd worked hard at her recovery and underwent physical, speech, occupational, and aquatic therapy.
Ladd had to relearn even the simplest tasks like chewing and swallowing her food, which was incredibly frustrating. Yet she never gave up. “On any given day, I would look up when I was in my therapy and one of my sisters or my cousins would be there cheering me on,” Ladd said. It’s been over a year since Ladd had a stroke, and she can speak and walk with the help of a cane. “I feel great. I feel very motivated to get myself back to 100 percent,” said Ladd, who is hoping to get back to work eventually.