I work at a community college and do some part time teaching as well. My stroke happened on November 8, 2009. I was one of the fortunate ones and after recovery, decided to tell my story any chance I got. Here's my spiel ...
The purpose of this talk is simply to inform you of the warning signs of stroke and hopefully offer you some valuable information that literally could save your life or that of a loved one.
The National Stroke Association is constantly campaigning to educate the public with their F. A. S. T acronym which very clearly states the common symptoms to recognize if a stroke is in fact happening.
F. FACE Is there the presence of facial drooping or numbness?
Does the face look uneven?
Is there any vision disturbance?
Is there an uneven smile?
A. ARM & LEG Is there weakness or numbness typically on one side of the body?
Does one arm drift downwards?
Is there difficulty in walking?
S. SPEECH Is the speech slurred?
Is there trouble speaking?
Does the speech sound strange or unintelligible?
T. TIME TIME IS CRITICAL WHEN STROKE STRIKES.
CALL 911 FOR HELP WHEN THESE SYMPTOMS ARE PRESENT YOU NEED TO ACT ..... FAST !!
Stoke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the number one cause of adult disability.
It occurs when something in your body interrupts the steady flow of blood to the brain. That something could be a clot no bigger than the head of a pin to a burst in a blood vessel. The one thing that's for sure is that when a stroke occurs, brain cells begin to die -- AND they do not recover.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO ACT FAST??
There is a critical time window of opportunity to get help and treatment if there's to be hope in surviving a stroke. That time window is three hours of the incident. Like everything else, there's no guarantees but if help is made available within three hours, your chances are greatly improved to come out of the stroke with lessen disability.
The day of my stroke, I was at the kitchen sink washing my hands when suddenly my fingers in my right hand started to go numb. I was talking with my wife Helene and she noticed I started talking kind of funny. I sat at the kitchen table. She kept asking me what's wrong and I remember telling her I was feeling very strange and that I could not feel my right arm. My head then dropped to the table. She immediately called 911.
For those of you familiar with Somerset, we live houses away from Roger's Spa on Wilbur Ave and as luck would have it, a Swansea Ambulance crew was at that intersection when the call was made. They were at my home within seconds, had me on the gurney and off to Charlton in what seemed like an instant. Within a hour and a half on the incident, I was on a MedFlight to Mass General in Boston. I was later told that in my case, everything happened in classic text book timing. Helene's FAST reaction was key to my getting the help I needed!
Depending on the type of stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic), there is a medication that's been around since its FDA approval in 1996 referred to as tPA, a high potency clot buster. Still today, tPA is the only drug approved for the acute or urgent treatment of ischemic stokes. If you're fortunate enough not to be dealing with a blood vessel burst, tPA maybe administered to give the best chance of recovering. Only CT Scans or MRIs can determine this however. Like I mentioned before, the time deadline for getting evaluated and receiving the treatment is three hours.
STATISTICALLY, ABOUT 3% OF STROKE PATIENTS QUALIFY FOR THE TREATMENT SINCE MOST OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS DO NOT RECOGNIZE THAT A STROKE IS IN PROGRESS AND SEEK MEDICAL ASSISTANCE QUICKLY ENOUGH.
Why am I doing this? Believe it or not, this is part of my recovery strategy. I was extremely lucky that Helene and all the people that came to my aid acted as FAST as they did. I recovered with minimal deficits because of that one fact alone. If by passing along what I have leant about having a stroke (the hard way) can ultimately help someone else somewhere, someplace or sometime recognize the outward signs that suggest the possibility that a stroke is in progress, then I believe that can be considered a 'good day'.