Monday, November 07, 2005

RECOGNIZING A STROKE - A True Story

My friend, Tom Glass, is a great source of humorous stories and practical wisdom. He recently sent the following story to those on his mailing list. I paid close attention, because it relates to a subject that is both timely and personal - stroke or cerebral hemorrhage. The story is timely because all of New England has been followig the remarkable story of the return of Tedy Brusschi to the active roster of the NFL Super Bowl Champion Patriots. Tedy played last week - a mere seven months after suffering a stroke. He not only played - he won the League's award for the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Week! The story is personal because there is a family history of stroke in my family of origin; my grandfather was stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage while still a relatively young man.

I am pleased to share with you the gist of the story that Tom Glass sent last week:

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours, which is tough.

Susie is recouping at an incredible pace for someone with a massive stroke - all because Sherry saw Susie stumble and then she asked Susie the 3 questions. So simple - this literally saved Susie's life. Some angel had sent it to Suzie's friend and they did just what it said to do. Suzie failed all three questions, so then 9-1-1 was called. Even though she had normal blood pressure readings and did not appear to be a stroke victim, since she could converse to some extent with the paramedics, they took her to the hospital right away. Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps.

Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

1. *Ask the individual to SMILE.

2. *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

3. *Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (ie . It is sunny out today)

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions.

They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.

BE A FRIEND AND SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH AS MANY FRIENDS AS POSSIBLE; you could save their lives.

Al

1 comment:

Rick Mavrovich said...

Dear Al:

Thank you so much for your posting. Everyone should know what you wrote. Not too long ago I saw my mom acting strange at a dinner. From the little I knew as a layman, the word STROKE was screaming at me. Mom was disorientated and not coherent. Dad thought she was just tired. I insisted that we go to the hospital but being "Anti-Doctors" (out of fear instead of faith) they refused. I finally convinced them to see their family doctor the next day but his diagnosis was "Diabetes, eat less and here is an increase of insulin”...I was FURIOUS! At this point I laid down the ultimatum. “I am taking you to the hospital with or without your cooperation.”

When we got to emergency of NY Presbyterian, triage worked their normal slow self. But when they saw my mom's blood pressure on one arm - 265/120 and the other arm 240/108 - they moved into action. Her blood sugar was also at 475 + Luckily I was there to speak to the doctors because my dad in his own confusion told the doctors that she just started having these symptoms...BIG MISTAKE! If they would have initiated their protocol of medication and treatment within that perceived 1st 5 hour window they would have killed my mom because she was actually more than 24 hours at this point with her symptoms.

How did I know this? Well I learned it the hard way. My best friend's dad in perfect physical condition had a stroke 30 days ago and they gave him the "Life Saving" medication way too late and it caused massive hemorrhaging. He died about 10 days later.

We are blessed now. My mom is recuperating very well but she needs help through out the day. We anticipate her being self-sufficient soon but it will be a long journey.

Please educate yourselves on this subject...I will save a life.

Live your Passion!

Rick Mavrovich