Here is a link to the original story on the team's website.
Oklahoma City — The Oklahoma City Dodgers and INTEGRIS Health continue the “Home Run For Life” series Saturday by honoring Adrianne Ayers of Midwest City, Okla., during the Dodgers’ 7:05 p.m. game against the Las Vegas Aviators at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Ayers, a registered nurse, fell ill with the flu in February 2018. Several days later her health spiraled to the point where one of her children had to call 911 and Ayers was taken to the hospital.
“They told us had he not called 911, I might not have made it through the night,” Ayers recalled.
In addition to flu, Ayers had developed pneumonia and strep throat so severe that her body went septic. She developed necrotizing pneumonia, a severe complication from a bacterial lung infection that can cause lung tissue damage. Her lungs, heart and kidneys were all shutting down.
It was determined that extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, known as ECMO, was necessary for Ayers’ survival and she was transferred to INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, which specializes in ECMO, to receive the last-resort, lifesaving treatment. ECMO provides both cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and/or lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer serve their function. The goal is to allow the heart or lungs to rest and recover while the machine does all the work.
“What it does is takes the blood out of the body on one side and puts oxygen into it and then flows back into your body through different tubes,” Ayers said. “It’s almost like dialysis — in one side and out the other.”
Ayers ended up on ECMO for an INTEGRIS Health record 119 days — just one piece of the extensive multi-disciplinary care she received during her five months in the hospital.
“Home Run For Life” recognizes individuals in the Oklahoma City community who have overcome a significant medical event with the help of their families, physicians and health care professionals. To symbolize the end of their battle against adversity, honorees take a prerecorded home run “lap” around the bases during an in-game ceremony.
“’Home Run For Life’ allows us to uniquely recognize some amazing Oklahomans who have endured significant health challenges,” OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes said. “Each month during the baseball season, we are proud to partner with INTEGRIS Health to honor the perseverance and courage displayed by these individuals and to help inspire others with their incredible stories.”
Throughout her five months at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, Ayers was also on a ventilator, had a tracheostomy and was on dialysis in addition to ECMO. There was talk of potential double kidney and lung transplants for her.
Ayers was enrolled in the ATHOS 3 Expanded Access Protocol for Giapreza clinical trial for a medication that regulates blood pressure, becoming one of 10 patients in the world to have received the therapy while on ECMO at the time. She also became the first patient in the OKC area to benefit from an off-label use of Olympus Spiration endobronchial valves, which were inserted into her lungs, opening breathing passageways like they would an artery during a cardiac procedure.
One special moment especially stands out in Ayers’ mind to describe the depth and range of care she received at INTEGRIS Health.
“The doctors and nurses at INTEGRIS are amazing. They are saints,” she said. “There was one point where I was tired and I was tired of fighting and I was tired of everything going on and (one of the doctors) took me outside just to get some vitamin D. Anytime they took me anywhere in the hospital it was a huge ordeal because I had the ECMO machine and dialysis and the vent and the chair, so it was like a small parade going down the hallway.
“Just for a doctor to do that, I can’t say enough good things about them…They are just amazing people.”
Ayers was released from the hospital in July 2018 and still undergoes frequent checkups. There is a possibility in the future she will need a lung transplant, but says she is doing well now. Ayers, 44, returned to work as a RN at St. Anthony in April 2021 and said she brings a new perspective with her to work after all she has been through.
“I have always been a patient person with patients and am even more so now,” she said. “I can’t even explain it. It’s like you walk into a room and see both points of view at the same time. You can empathize even small things, like tape coming off an IV. After it’s done 100 times, that hurts.
“It’s weird, but I am thankful for everything I have been through because I think it makes me relate to patients better.”
To read Ayers’ full story, visit the OKC Dodgers’ “Beyond the Bricks” website at: medium.com/beyond-the-bricks.
Tonight, the OKC Dodgers return home to open a 12-game homestand as well as a six-game home series against the Las Vegas Aviators at 7:05 p.m. The series continues at 7:05 p.m. Friday when Dodgers players and coaches will wear special pink jerseys and hats that will be auctioned off to benefit Susan G. Komen Oklahoma as the Dodgers and MidFirst Bank team up to “Pack the Park Pink.” A pink fireworks show will follow the game.
Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. game falls on Marvel Super Hero Night, presented by Courtyard by Marriott, and Star-Lord and Black Widow will make special appearances throughout the night. Ayers’ “Home Run For Life” will also be recognized during Saturday’s game. Kids can run the bases following Sunday’s 6:05 p.m. game. The series against Las Vegas then wraps up at 7:05 p.m. Monday and at 7:05 p.m. on a $2 Tuesday, featuring $2 select beer, soda and bottled water from a line of Budweiser and Pepsi products. COOP Ale Works draft beer will also be available at a special rate of $3. The OKC Dodgers then remain home for a six-game series against the Albuquerque Isotopes Thursday, Sept. 2 – Tuesday, Sept. 7 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Tickets can be purchased through okcdodgers.com/tickets. For general information or inquiries, please visit okcdodgers.com or call (405) 218-2182. Live radio coverage of each OKC Dodgers game begins 15 minutes before first pitch on AM 1340 “The Game,” 1340thegame.com and through the free iHeartRadio or MiLB First Pitch apps. All OKC Dodgers games are also available streamed live on MiLB.TV with a subscription.