December 8, 2013 started out like any other Sunday on the golf course for Neil, a 63-year-old business owner. But his solo outing was interrupted when sudden numbness in the right side of his body caused him to drop his club, and then immediately fall to the ground.
"What scared me more than anything is there was no one around," explains Neil, who's entire right side seemed to be paralyzed while the cell phone he needed to call for help was locked in his car, ten to fifteen yards away.
At this point, according to Neil, he began to pray for help—and fifteen seconds later appeared the sound of a woman's voice. Neil recalls, "I told her to please call 911 and tell them I'm having a stroke. And after that, the EMTs arrived almost instantly."
Neil then found himself at the ER at Holmes Regional Medical Center, where he was told that he was experiencing a massive stroke due to a blood clot in his brain. Neil first received intravenous tPA to help dissolve his blood clot, but the medication didn't seem to be working fast enough—so Neil gave his interventional neuroradiologist the green light to perform the surgery needed to remove the clot.
The next thing Neil remembers is waking up in the ICU at 10:30 PM, where he happily discovered that both his right arm and right leg had regained mobility. He also received the good news that he'd suffered no brain damage, and was already 90 percent recovered.¬† By the next morning he was walking. Then on Friday, after doctors successfully located and removed the source of the clot behind his heart, Neil was officially released.
Neil has further accelerated his recovery by attending physical therapy sessions twice a week and doing physical therapy exercises on his own every day. He is now once again able to work, drive, swing a golf club‚?¶and is essentially back to life as usual. He is also nearly 100% recovered, with only the exception of a slight limp that is expected to disappear completely within the next couple of months.
Neil's most important message to potential stroke victims? Time is of the essence!
"If you get a stroke, you need to get the help as quickly as possible," he urges,¬† "because the quicker you get help, the quicker you'll recover—and the better off you'll be."
A 66-year-old male who came to Health First Holmes Regional early one morning in March. He and his wife live in Canada and during the winter months they travel south. They shared with me that their usual spot is in Mexico but this year they decided to come to Florida.
The reason he came to the ED was because he woke up at 6:30 in the morning feeling dizzy, having double vision and generalized weakness. The patient actually fell on the floor without head trauma and could not get up without help. He also complained of nausea. Neuroradiology was consulted to see him and discovered a life threatening basilar artery occlusion. With the quick work of Dr. Shaheen and his intervention team they were successful in performing a clot retrieval and IA-TPA in less than 5 hours from arrival and restored flow across the basilar artery. Because of this intervention we saved his life and he had a full recovery with absolutely no neuro deficits. He was released within 48 hours and has made it safely back to Canada.
54-year-old male married with 5 children was exercising at the gym on an elliptical He was on the approximately 20 minutes, where he experienced sudden onset of shock-type sensation in both of his arms. At that time, he noticed that his left arm was extremely weak; he was unable to grasp his phone, he had decreased sensation. He states he then got off the elliptical and felt as though he was very weak and his gait was unequal. He sat on the ground. Emergency medical services were called. He was brought to HRMC ED and was seen by the neurologist on call. He had a left facial droop and was having trouble speaking. He was diagnosed with a stroke and received tPA.
A year after his stroke he returned to this to seek out the SICU nurse who took care of him after he received tPA. The hugs and tears they shared were moving. He has had a fully recovery.