Source: The News-Enterprise, May 26, 2021
In the United States, the Stroke Awareness Foundation says about 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year.
Recently, after vacationing in Florida for a month, Mark Mol and his wife, Shelley, were on their way home to Michigan when he started exhibiting stroke symptoms.
“I was talking to him and then all of sudden he started talking gibberish, which I knew was a sign of stroke because he had one the year before,” Shelley said.
She immediately pulled off the road and called 911. The dispatch center directed her to Baptist Health Hardin and called ahead to let them know Shelley and Mark were on their way.
“As soon as we arrived, they got him out of the car and right into a room and proceeded to do everything necessary for him,” she said.
Shelley said Stroke Program Coordinator Rosa Vittitoe, MSN, SCRN, and the doctors discussed the treatment of a clot buster drug with her. She said the idea scared her at first because of some of the potential side effects.
“Initially, she was terrified to give the go ahead on the clot buster drug,” Vittitoe said.
But after checking with her husband, Shelley said she gave the doctors the OK.
When Mark first reached the hospital in Elizabethtown, Shelley said he was unable to move his right side. Shortly after receiving the medication, she said he was able to move his leg and a little time later he was able to move his arm a bit.
“We started seeing things improve immediately. It was unbelievable,” she said. “They took such great care of him and such great care of me also.”
Shelley said Mark’s treatment at BHH went smoothly. Mark had his stroke Friday, March 19, and was on the road again headed for home by Monday.
“This was just God’s providence for us. We don’t have a stroke center where we’re from. It was a blessing to be in Elizabethtown at Baptist Health,” she said.
Baptist Health Hardin has been a stroke certified hospital since 2010.
A little more than two months later, Shelley said Mark, who is undergoing physical and speech therapy, is doing well.
Vittitoe encouraged everyone to be aware of stroke symptoms.
According to the Stroke Awareness Foundation, signs of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination; and sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Vittitoe said the stroke program uses the acronym BE FAST – balance, eyes, face, arms, speech and time.
When a stroke occurs, she also urged people to call 911. She said the hospital receives a prenotification from EMS when a stroke patient is inbound. Every second matters, Vittitoe said. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month.