“My Husband Turned Blue to Gray”: Wife In Shock Over the One Drink That Killed Her Husband

energy drink

Cassondra Reynolds’ life was forever changed on what should have been a typical Saturday morning in February of 2011.

Instead, the alarmed wife awoke to John, her husband of 10 years, going into cardiac arrest in their bed.

Cassondra heard her 41-year-old husband gasping for air, and all she could think was, “Is this actually happening?” He was incredibly fit, worked out daily, and a thorough physical one month prior reflected he was healthy as could be.

Though she was in recovery from back surgery, she knew she had to manage to get her husband to the floor to attempt CPR, which she had no experience in doing.

“As I watched my husband turn blue to gray I cried to God to PLEASE not take my husband!” Cassondra wrote to Love What Matters. “I begged him not to leave me and the boys and told him how much we love him and need him.”

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Shortly after, 911 took her through the steps of performing CPR, and she recalls her 3 sons sobbing and questioning “What’s wrong with Daddy?”

What felt like an eternity ended up being a 3-minute wait for help to arrive. As the paramedics started their attempt to revive John, Cassondra recalls at one point crying out loud, “Oh God, he just left!”

“In that moment I actually felt his spirit leave his body,” said Cassondra.

Paramedics then had her leave the room, and the brother of a friend rushed her to the hospital. “I remember thinking, ‘was I going to walk in and have them tell me he didn’t make it?'” she quivered.

Facebook/Cassondra Reynolds

As she came up to his hospital bed, Cassondra breathed a sigh of relief that her husband was still alive, though unconscious.

It was at that point that the ER doctor unloaded a laundry list of questions on her.

“Does he use drugs?”

“Any health issues?”

“What, if any, medications is he on?”

…to name a few.

Cassondra replied “no” to all of them and remarked that he’d just passed a physical with “flying colors.”

While a tox screen revealed no traces of drugs, it did show John’s sugar level was through the roof. Doctors figured it must have been a diabetic episode, but his wife assured them he did not have diabetes.

The hospital transferred John to the Cardiac ICU and put him in a medically induced coma in hopes of putting him into therapeutic hypothermia and gradually warming him up over 3 day’s time. The procedure known as Arctic Sun is “a non-invasive system for controlling and monitoring body temperature within the range of 32°C to 38.5°C,” according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. “It is intended for use in adults who are comatose after sudden cardiac arrest in or out of hospital, with the aim of inducing mild hypothermia to reduce brain injury and improve neurological outcomes.”

The doctor told Cassondra, “Your husband is a very fit man and his heart is actually strong like that of a 25-year-old. It’s not normal for a healthy 41-year-old who doesn’t drink or smoke, who has what appears to be a strong heart and just had a physical with no findings, to suffer a cardiac arrest. We need to find what caused this.”

Cassondra continued to answer the doctor’s questions, explaining that John had no prior symptoms, lived a healthy lifestyle, takes vitamins, doesn’t smoke, and drinks a beer once in a while.

It was then that the physician questioned if her husband consumed any energy drinks. She replied that he did, but typically only one per day, since he worked nights.

Instantly, he knew where the sky-high sugar levels were coming from as well as his high caffeine levels. The doctor shared that all it takes is a single energy drink to mess up your heart’s rhythm, leading to arrhythmia. He further explained that his medical staff had started to see more and more cases of this, particularly when the energy drinks were combined with alcohol.

“His exact words were, ‘people drinking these drinks are playing Russian Roulette with their lives,'” Cassondra told Love What Matters. “I was blown away and couldn’t believe just one drink could do this damage.”

Though John was taken out of his coma, he was still unconscious.

“I couldn’t shake the feeling I felt that morning in our bedroom of feeling his spirit leave his body,” continued Cassondra. “All I could do was pray that I was wrong and that his body just needed time to rest and heal, but his brain was seizing.”

John stayed unconscious for two weeks, and she didn’t let her sons come to visit since she didn’t want to worry them further.

“I was told by a team of doctors that my husband had an anoxic brain injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain and he had [a] very long road of recovery ahead of him and he may not ever be the same if he wakes from his coma,” said Cassondra. “My husband’s brain continued to seize and 10 days after he was admitted I was told he was actually brain dead and there was nothing further they could do.”

Hope was slipping away for John day by day, and his heartbroken wife knew when the doctors started talking about organ donation, she would soon have to say goodbye to her soul mate and best friend.

In order to restore some sense of normalcy for her boys before telling them the most soul-crushing news they’d ever have to hear, Cassondra took them to Chuck E. Cheese to have some fun for her 9-year-old’s birthday. She didn’t want to do it ON his birthday and have his memory be forever tainted by it. It would already be hard enough.

The day after his birthday, she took her sons to say bye-bye to daddy forever.

“All that kept running through my mind is, ‘How is this happening? How is he not coming home with us?’ recalled Cassondra. “How is this going to be the last time we hug him, kiss him, touch him? How will this be the last time I will see his beautiful blue eyes?’ None of it seemed real but it was all very real.”

After her [three] little boys, family, and friends said their goodbyes to John, it was finally time to take him off life support.

Facebook/Cassondra Reynolds

She had her friends watch her sons outside of the room as she wanted to protect them from being scarred by that sight forever.

“I sat there squeezing his hand and kissing him for 31 minutes as I watched all signs of life slowly leave this beautiful man’s body,” said Cassondra. “This man who was my EVERYTHING! I went home in a state of shock. Mind blown and completely shattered. My heart felt like it was physically cracking open inside me.”

The grieving widow was even more shocked when the doctor called later, first to offer condolences, and then to offer some unsettling information that totally blew her mind.

After Cassondra stated she was in disbelief that these drinks haven’t been banned, the doctor revealed there are so many more fatalities associated with energy drinks, but doctors aren’t under obligation to report them to the Federal Drug Administration. He added that the very few fatalities people do hear about are only due to doctors actually deciding to report them or attention from the media.

Shocked and in a daze, Cassondra became angry and started to do her own research, which she also relayed to Love What Matters:

“I just couldn’t accept that one stupid drink had the ability to kill my healthy husband. I started doing my own research and found just how bad these drinks truly are. I found that these drinks were already banned in many Northern European Countries. I learned that on top of the already high amounts of caffeine and sugar in these drinks, that Guarana breaks down into its own form of caffeine. I learned that Taurine also in these drinks has caused brain damage in lab rats. I learned that several Major League Baseball teams have banned their players from drinking energy drinks but these organizations were having a hard time enforcing this ban because it’s not an illegal substance. I’ve learned that the DOD (Department of Defense) is discouraging our military from drinking these drinks which are rampantly consumed by our troops.”

And these aren’t the only facts she came across. One study suggests mixing alcohol with energy drinks has the exact same effect as cocaine; another found it may be worsening symptoms of PTSD; and yet another revealed just one energy drink can destroy blood vessels.

“I’ve had strangers respond to my posts telling me they have experienced kidney failure, holes through their stomach, heart arrhythmia’s and tooth erosion,” said Cassondra. “One woman told me her husband while playing hockey suffered a cardiac arrest and fell into a coma an hour after drinking an energy drink.”

The widow, whose husband has now been gone 7 years, is baffled that kids can walk into a store and buy one of these without a problem.


“I really want people to understand that it truly only takes just one of these drinks to throw your heart rhythm off,” she added. “People think it can’t or won’t happen to them, but it does. It can and it IS HAPPENING to many other people, you’re just not hearing about it. The facts of how dangerous these drinks can be [are] out there, people just have to google it.”

Even though her husband has been gone seven years now, Cassondra says life still hasn’t gotten a bit easier.

Facebook/Cassondra Reynolds

“The pain manifests in different ways with each son,” she shared. “Holidays, birthdays, school events are still SO difficult. My soul feels empty and half of me is gone. If by sharing our story prevents just one person from taking another drink, I can at least feel my husband’s death wasn’t senseless.”

She was “horrified” to find out that her husband, though an organ donor, was not able to give life to any others because a nurse failed to make the proper contacts. She prays that in sharing John’s story, at least something good can come from his passing:

“That is why I share my story – because if it helps just one person, his death wasn’t meaningless.”

**Read Cassondra Reynold’s full account of her experience on Love What Matters, and be sure to SHARE her story with the ones you love today. 

Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.