My name is Garry Goldberg. On June 3, 2013, I had a normal
workday in my office at Johnson & Johnson.
Driving to work in the morning, I suddenly had a rush of dizziness, but
this quickly subsided, and it wasn’t the first time that this had happened, so
it didn’t seem particularly noteworthy.
Eating lunch at my desk, I remember feeling like I had a bad headache
and felt lightheaded. I laid my head down,
thinking that I would feel better in a few minutes. The next thing I remember is waking up 2 days
later in a hospital bed.
I’ve since found out what happened.
Apparently, I was up and functioning again after lunch that day, had a
discussion with my supervisor and even sent some e-mails. About 4:00, my assistant needed me for something
and found me collapsed in my office. She
got my supervisor, Joe Bulvid, who quickly sprung into action. He roused
me and I apparently claimed that I could get up. However, he recognized
the potential signs of stroke despite my statement, and had our assistant call
911 immediately. When the EMTs came, they asked Joe what hospital to take
me to - he immediately said RW Johnson Hospital, which was the closest
hospital, only 2 blocks away.
Once they got me there, it was very clear to the medical team that I
was having a stroke, and the neurologist (Dr. McKinney) quickly called on a
neurosurgeon (Dr. Gupta) for help. They sprung into action and after a
scan that detected a clot, administered TPA - the surgeon removed a large clot
and several smaller ones during 5+ hours in surgery. The surgeon knew
that he had removed clots, but did not know what the result would be, because
this remains an inexact science. He
prepared my wife, family and friends for the worst, possibly death or
Amazingly, I apparently woke up the next day and had no significant
ill effects (I don’t remember anything from that day however). The decisive/quick
actions of Joe Bulvid and the extreme efforts of Dr. Gupta (who was apparently
exhausted after the lengthy delicate procedure) saved my life and luckily, my
mobility and "brain power". The only ill effect is a slight
loss of dexterity in my left hand. The heroic efforts were incredible.
The care at RWJ
and rehab at the Kessler Institute was fantastic. They made a harrowing experience much less
painful, and I’m happy to say that I was home and doing normal activities
(including driving) in a matter of weeks.
Since that time, I have recovered well, gaining more and more stamina
each day, with the help of my loving wife and terrific daughter, both of whom
have been patient and supportive throughout.
Also, support from my employer, Johnson & Johnson was key – they
knew my penchant for wanting to come back to work quickly, so they insisted on
making me take it slowly, going as far as not telling me the new password to my
work e-mail account. They have
encouraged my recovery while pushing me to take it slowly.
From my point of view, the moral of the story:
you have dizziness or other symptoms, don’t dismiss it – get it checked
out! Ignoring the symptoms almost cost
and decisive action like Joe’s can make all the difference in case of a stroke. It helped that there was a sign in our coffee
room about looking for the warning signs of stroke and the importance of
getting immediate help.
to a facility like RWJ with a stroke specialty and super-talented neurosurgeons
like Dr. Gupta is critical.
great support from caregivers, family and your employer makes recovery so much
bad luck of having a stroke, I couldn’t have had better luck!