Stroke - the end of "Life as You Know It"

Serve Daily - - THOUGHTS ON ZION - By Ken Wright for Serve Daily

Re­cently, my wife was clean­ing out the house of a loved one in prepa­ra­tion for sale af­ter it was de­ter­mined the owner would need to move to an as­sisted-care fa­cil­ity. Dur­ing this, she came across a cal­en­dar with X’s in­di­cat­ing days past. How­ever, the last day “Xed out” was Oc­to­ber 13, 2013. That was the day life “as he knew it” changed for the hard­est work­ing man I’ve ever known.

Af­ter work­ing in the yard all day the day be­fore, he felt more tired and weak than usual- prob­a­bly a lit­tle de­hy­drated, he sur­mised. His wife sus­pected some­thing was wrong and tried to con­vince him to go the ur­gent care to get checked out. He didn’t want the ex­pense.

She asked him to let her call a doc­tor in their ward. He didn’t want to bother any­one.

In­stead, he went to bed early and over the next eight hours of sleep, the stroke he was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing de­stroyed the use of the left side of his body. He woke un­able to move in a co­or­di­nated way. Within a short time, he lost the abil­ity to speak or swal­low.

Ex­ten­sive ther­apy even­tu­ally re­turned his speech and abil­ity to swal­low, but his left limbs re­main al­most com­pletely non­func­tion­ing. The sim­plest trip to the re­stroom is ex­haust­ing and many func­tions re­quire as­sis­tance. Ac­tive life, as he knew it had ended, and he now wishes life as he now knows it would.

De­lay in health care be­cause of con­cern for cost or re­luc­tance to bother any­one is very com­mon among the older gen­er­a­tions. Of­ten, they have put off health care in the past with­out se­ri­ous con­se­quence dizzi­ness, or weak­ness may also pass. But stroke will not pass and the ex­pense about will mul­ti­ply ex­po­nen­tially. Miracle “clot buster” drugs and pro­ce­dures can stop a stroke’s de­struc­tion, but only within the first 3-4 hours.

Know and HEED the warn­ing signs of stroke: 1. Sud­den, se­vere “thun­der­clap” headache, pos­si­bly the worst you’ve ever had. 2. Sud­den vi­sion im­pair­ment; dou­ble vi­sion, blur­ri­ness, loss of vi­sion 3. Con­fu­sion, dis­ori­en­ta­tion, con­fused con­ver­sa­tion 4. Sud­den weak­ness in an arm or leg or both arms and legs 5. Dizzi­ness, loss of bal­ance, pos­si­bly with nau­sea 6. Pain is not a typ­i­cal stroke symp­tom, but sud­den pain in one limb, one side of the ch­est, or one side of the face should be cause for con­cern. 7. Sud­den one-sided fa­cial weak­ness and droop on one side. 8. Sud­den fa­tigue and weak­ness 9. Sud­den, un­ex­plained hic­cups can re­sult from a stoke af­fect­ing the brain’s breath­ing cen­ter. 10. Sud­den breath­less­ness or heart pal­pi­ta­tions.

Know the F.A.S.T method of field stroke as­sess­ment: F: Face- Ask the per­son to smile or show his/her teeth. Do the cor­ners of the mouth rise equally or does one side droop. One-sided fa­cially weak­ness and droop are strong in­di­ca­tors of stroke. A: Arms- Lift the per­son’s arms to ch­est level (straight out) and di­rect them to hold them there with­out look­ing at them as you re­lease them. One arm drift­ing down is a strong in­di­ca­tor of stroke. S: Speech- Ask the per­son to re­peat a sim­ple phrase and watch for slur­ring and cor­rect re­peat of the phrase. T: Time – Time is of the essence. If there is any pos­si­ble sus­pi­cion of stroke, DO Call 911. Do not worry about both­er­ing us at many of the South Utah County EMS agen­cies, are vol­un­teers who aren’t in this for the money. We are in it for the times we can make a dif­fer­ence in some­one’s life. We’d rather be “both­ered” 100 times for one chance to part of the med­i­cal miracle of rapid stroke as­sess­ment and treat­ment than not be “both­ered” while we did some­thing less im­por­tant.

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