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John Edward F.

January 13, 2011

I am ... A Survivor

My name is John Ferguson. I grew up in a family of chiropractors. My grandfather was one; my father and all of my uncles were licensed practicing chiropractors. The risks of stroke were never discussed. I was a healthy, active 40-year-old husband and father when, on October 30, 2002, my life changed forever. I had been traveling on business and slept on an unfamiliar pillow causing a pinched nerve in my neck. I drove to the chiropractor for an adjustment to relieve my discomfort. When he cracked my neck, I felt something pop and immediately felt like I had had the air punched out me. When he brought the table to the upright position, I fell off and onto the floor. He helped me to a chair and offered me a glass of water and left the room to see other patients. Through my eyes, the walls and floor seemed tilted. After about an hour, I called a family member to pick me up. I was able to drive to the chiropractors but not able to drive back. Upon arriving home, I tried to sleep it off, but I felt myself getting worse. My wife brought me to the emergency room later that evening, where I eventually was seen by a nurse practitioner. My head felt like it was going to explode, and I started to vomit. I have no memory of getting an X-ray or a CT scan. The hospital said that both tests were clear, and I was released after 1 a.m. with vertigo and a cervical sprain. I don't recall much of the next day -- I was so sick. I felt like I was dying. I was crawling around on my hands and knees and vomiting into the kitchen sink. My children saw me. I returned to the hospital via ambulance that morning after they said they now saw something in the CT scan. I underwent an MRI and an MRA that showed that I had suffered a brain stem stroke. I was told that two-thirds of my cerebellum was compromised... dead. I had suffered a vertebral artery dissection and stroke at the hands of a chiropractor. Three hospitals and countless bouts of physical therapy later, I am half of the man I once was physically but Stroke is also empowering. I struggle everyday to appear normal for I feel embarrassed that I am disabled. Why did this have to happen? Why doesn't the chiropractic industry tell the public of the risk of stroke? Why are they called doctors?

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