The reason behind Go Gray In May Because Gray Matter Matters
I'm a paramedic, been in EMS for 23 years. In 2010, I co-founded Minutes Matter!, which teaches the public stroke awareness, compression only CPR and the importance of early 911 activation.
On August 12, 2011, while lying in bed talking with my boyfriend, I became dysphasic with right sided weakness. I was in denial at first then realized what was really happening. I had a magnetic dry erase board with information about stroke on my refrigerator. I was able to grab that and point at it to my boyfriend. My boyfriend, despite all my teachings, took me via car to the local ED. (Later he admitted that he was scared and thought it would be better to drive the 15 minutes to the local hospital instead of the hour to the stroke center). I couldn't tell him otherwise, I couldn't speak correctly and I couldn't write anything. I just cried. The care and treatment at the local ED was less than acceptable. I am 42 years old and all I could think of was that I was never going to be able to communicate again. I was told things like: I was "just stressed"; that "the CT was negative so that means you're not having a stroke." Obviously it cleared. My guess is after about an hour and a half. I was sent home after being given Ativan for rest. I had suffered a TIA and I knew it. I was terrified.
On follow up with my PCP, an MRI confirmed a 1 cm area of ischemia in my left parietal region. I was referred to a neurologist at the stroke center for further testing.
I called my good friend, colleague and someone who I have heard referred to as (and well deserving of the term) "the godmother of stroke in WNC". We are teaching the public to be aware, I said, but if this is still what happens when they get to the hospital, we have to do more! And of course she does do more. In fact, I don't know how she does all that she does do. She has made some dramatic changes for the better in our region and continues to make a huge difference. So "we" was relative. What else could "we" do? Once I finished all the testing to see if there was a reason for the TIA (there wasn't), it was October. I found the answer.
Every one of us that is out there; every fighter; every stroke victor; every stroke educator; everyone with the passion to make a difference for stroke patients; we need to unite. We need to make a HUGE noise all at once. So there it was, my idea. So simple. May 2012. National Stroke Awareness Month. We will all unite. Together, we WILL make a difference!!!!!!!