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January 12, 2011

I am ... A Survivor

I was 55 years old, the State Park Superintendent of Redwood National and State Park in California. I didn't have any of standard risk factors for stroke. The day after a particularly stressful public meeting, coupled with an announcement that we were having a 17% cut back in State Parks, I had a TIA at 6 am. A cat-scan didn't show anything so I was released from the hospital and told to see a Dr. within 2 weeks. I went home at around 10 am and got ready for work. At around 2:30 pm I was talking on the phone to a local newspaper reporter about the plans for Park closure, when I began to experience symptoms of a stroke. I returned the hospital at around 3 pm. There I was told to take a seat in the waiting room and wait my turn. Meanwhile the symptoms progressed. Around 6:00 pm a Dr. saw me and looked in my eyes and told me that I had had a "completed stoke" and that they would admit me. I was given a bed nearly 2 hours later! I went to sleep with a slight difficulty walking and difficulty touching my thumb quickly to my forefinger. The comment the Dr. made to me was "we will see how much you've lost by morning." In the morning I was paralyzed on my whole right side. After 3 weeks of acute physical, occupational and speech therapy, and about 2 years of 2 to 3 hours a week of out patient therapy, I am able to walk unassisted or with a with a NESS L300 orthosis to minimize stumbling, but I have hemiparesis in my right foot and my right hand. My speech is minimally affected, and short term memory is affected. A received a disability retirement from my job and I live with my wife in Arizona.

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