One late night in 2001, a mother of three from Utah was nursing her 1-month old baby when she suddenly collapsed with a suspected stroke. By the next night after having been taken to hospital and suffering a further stroke, Nissa Smith couldn’t talk or move despite the fact she was fully aware of everything that was going on around her. Nissa fell victim to locked-in syndrome, a nightmarish condition which usually results from damage to the brainstem following a stroke.
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As Nissa lay lifeless in a hospital bed, apparently brain-dead, but in truth she was still fully conscious. Doctors feared the worst and told her family she would never recover and that they should allow her to die, as that would be the most humane decision.
But that’s when one nurse came in and said that she saw a spark in her eyes that made her believe that Nissa was still there. “If you can hear me, close your eyes twice,” the nurse asked Nissa. Nissa very slowly was able to close her eyes twice.
Within just a few hours, the nurses and family members learned to communicate with Nissa through blinking their eyes. Nissa, in turn, began to feel hope again and over the months that followed was slowly able to regain a lot of her movement and speaking abilities.
Though Nissa still speaks and walks with some difficulty, her amazing recovery continues to baffle her doctors. All thanks to the one very intuitive nurse who didn’t give up on her. Nissa lives at home with her three daughters and relishes in watching them grow up.