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Stroke Awareness Month

by Mary Beth Daley, Staff Accountant

Most everyone has been exposed to the devastating effects and aftermath of a stroke. Most all of us have a close friend or family member who has experienced one of the three basic types of stroke. My family has been personally affected by two of the three.

7 steps to help prevent strokeA number of years ago, my 69 year old mother suffered a TIA, or mini stroke, while she and my father were traveling to their winter home in Florida. Because they were “on the road,” and the symptoms, or warning signs were mild, she didn’t even tell my father they were happening. This resulted in my mother receiving no treatment for almost 48 hours. Because of this delay in treatment, my mother’s recovery process was longer and her level of restoration was less than it could have been. Not to mention what was a small TIA, could have turned into a life altering, full blown Ischemic stroke.

Far more devastating, and unforeseen, was the Hemorrhagic stroke my 28 year old son experienced in the fall of 2011. He suffered a bilateral (both sides) rupture of his Vertebral arteries. The blood shot, “like buckshot,” (the doctor’s quote) into his Cerebellum, or base of his brain. The Cerebellum is the area of our brain that controls our center of balance and our fine motor skills. My healthy 28 year old son, transformed overnight into someone completely dependent on others for the meeting of all of his needs. He couldn’t walk, had trouble communicating, wasn’t able to control/use a fork or spoon, push a nurse call button, attend to any of his personal needs, or even shift himself up in bed. That fateful day marked the beginning of a long, and arduous, recovery/restoration process.

Recovery began with 5+ months of intense inpatient rehab, followed by several more months as an outpatient. He also required surgery on one eye as the stroke affected and optic nerve and left him with double vision. I am pleased to say, if you were to meet my son today, you would never know he had suffered a debilitating stroke or that he had to learn how to walk and feed himself, a second time, at the age of 29. A quick response, and LOTS of hard work and determination, made for a happy ending to my son’s story. How about yours?

You don’t need superpowers to be a Stroke Hero! Stroke Heroes are all around us, ready to help at a moment’s notice. You can be a Stroke Hero by knowing F.A.S.T., the warning signs of stroke, so you’re ready to take action.

F – Face is Drooping
A – Arm Weakness
S – Slurring of Speech
T – Take Action, dial 911

For more information about strokes, check out the American Heart Association’s list of 5 things everyone should know.

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