For some people, energy drinks are the only way they can make it through the day. However, most of us don’t often stop and think about the effect that all that sugar and caffeine is having on the body.
One teenager in South Carolina actually died suddenly from a caffeine overdose caused by energy drinks. And now, a new father has been physically changed forever and is lucky to still be alive after having overused them for months on end to try and cope with his impossibly hectic schedule.
The man’s name is Austin and all this happened when his wife, Brianna, was nine months pregnant with their first child. She shared her harrowing story with Facebook and a photographer from Sacramento, California, took series of poignant photographs to document the young family’s struggles after Austin was hospitalized.
Continue reading to find out, in Brianna’s own words, what happened and share the story with anybody who still believes that energy drinks are not really all that harmful.
A new mother has the courage to speak out about how energy drinks almost killed her husband and changed both their lives forever.
My name is Brianna, and this is my story… Love is not really all those little things; the phone calls, dates or even memories. It is knowing that you would sacrifice things you didn’t even know you could. Love is truly selfless.
Have you ever thought you could actually feel your life shake? That you have been hit with such emotional turmoil that everything around you seems fuzzy and shaky. Your lungs are tight and you can’t do anything for the life of you. You can’t move, think, not even react in the slightest way. I have experienced all this and more, and all this while I was waiting for the birth of my first child.
Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the most amazing journeys you embark on. You are creating new life, experiencing unconditional love for someone you have not even met.
I can’t tell you how excited Austin and I were that we were finally going to meet our little boy, to bring him home and to be a family.
Austin had gotten into the habit of drinking them so he could cope with his hectic work schedule and had never imagined that they would eventually put him in hospital.
As I went to bed that night, I never imagined that in a few hours my whole world would be shattered. I will never forget my mother in law waking me up in the morning and telling me that Austin had an accident. The worst part was that I didn’t know why my husband was in hospital.
The drive to the hospital took two hours and when we rushed in, I learned that the father of my unborn child, my husband who I love so deeply, had a brain hemorrhage. And why? The doctors ruled out drugs and concluded that the terrible event was the result of his recent excessive intake of energy drinks, a habit he had gotten into when he started to work long hours and commute to work.
He was already undergoing surgery and we waited an agonizing 5 hours until we got to see him. His face was almost unrecognizable and he was hooked up to various tubes and machines, but I couldn’t take my eyes off his parents. I watched the light leave his mother’s eyes when she saw her motionless son in the hospital bed and his father holding tight to his wife as he broke down crying.
They watched their son, the life they had created together, without knowing if he would ever wake up. And I watched the family that I had become part of and had grown to love, now all shattered and broken and that is the worst feeling I have ever had.
After the tragic brain hemorrhage and many surgeries, Austin was left with a big and irreparable hole in the front of his skull, as well as a wife on the verge of giving birth.
The next day there was another round of brain surgery and then there were seizures, strokes, swelling, and even more things that nobody was prepared for.
At one moment, I was sitting by the hospital bed and just praying that he would be okay, I realized that I would never ever give up on Austin. I knew I would be by his side no matter how messy our life became
After two weeks in hospital, not knowing if he would be taken from us or if he would survive, we went back home.
The time had come for my baby to be born.
Still under great stress, Brianna now faced the huge task of bringing their baby boy into the world.
Brianna says – I won’t lie to anyone. It was just so hard. I had always expected Austin would be there by my side to hold my hand, to cut the cord and welcome our new baby into this world. Somehow, it didn’t feel right…. And then, as I delivered our baby, Austin woke up. Almost a week went by without me seeing Austin but he was in my thoughts every day. I cried when I looked at the tiny boy who looked exactly like his dad.
I left the baby with his grandparents when he was only a week old to go and see Austin. I really needed to tell him our baby was there and that we both needed him very much.
Austin miraculously woke up shortly after the baby was born, and he finally met his son 2 months later.
As the weeks went by, we were chasing him all around the state for more procedures and operations. I went to see him whenever I could.
When he was 2 months old, our son and his dad finally met. That was a day I hadn’t been sure I’d ever see and that was when my heart started to get a little of its happiness back.
A while after that, Austin finally came home to me. Our life is not normal. There are so many doctors’ visits and hospital trips that I have lost count.
But we are here. And we are fighting.
Brianna now spends her days caring for her new son as well as for her husband, whose disability is permanent. She accepts this role with strength.
Every day I wake up and take care of our beautiful little son and my husband. I cook the meals, do speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. I help Austin walk, with personal hygiene, with all aspects of his life.
The pain and the beauty of this young family are captured in these poignant photos, taken by Sacramento- based photographer, Sara Endres.
And in between all these tasks, I look after our very busy little eight-month old boy. It is really hard, and I am often tired, but we are making the most of it.
This is a harrowing story, but it is also a testament to true love and selflessness.
He definitely isn’t the same man that I fell in love with, but I am still falling further every day. We are all fighting to help his recovery. To make his life a little better. One day we will get to that and until then, I’m never giving up on him. Because true love is selfless, and I love Austin more than I love life itself.
Until then, I will never give up on him. Because love is selfless, and I love him more than life itself.”
Should people take the health risks of energy drinks more seriously than they do? What do you think?