Listening to life-saving warning signs
Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017 06:00 am
I learned a very important and life-changing lesson this summer.
It doesnít happen every day but when a medical emergency does occur, itís not only vital to know what to do but to understand that something isnít right and act quickly.
Thatís what I believed helped save my life this summer when I was at home enjoying a day off from work after a busy Canada Day weekend. It was July 4, just before 1 p.m. I was relaxing and watching television when out of nowhere it suddenly hit.
I had a stroke.
It was like a tidal wave of numbness and tingling that began in my fingertips and quickly swept up my right arm into my shoulder, neck and face.
I froze for a minute not sure what was happening but I knew right away something was very wrong. My husband came in from outside at that point and saw a look of panic on my face as I sat on the couch frozen with fear.
I called our family doctor in Innisfail, described what was happening and was told to go to the emergency department at Innisfail Health Centre immediately. Within minutes I was diagnosed with having a potential stroke and was rushed by ambulance to Red Deer Regional Hospital.
It was there that I received whatís called a TPA Ė a blood clot-busting medication after a cat scan revealed what doctors suspected.
I spent several weeks in hospital recovering in both Red Deer and in Calgary. Today I am stabilized, on medications and have recovered quite well. I will need surgery in 2018 but am back living life to the fullest.
I cannot express my gratitude to the doctors, nurses and specialists in Innisfail, Red Deer and Calgary who diagnosed and treated me and oversaw my recovery during the past four months. Their quick action and timely decisions helped saved my life.
Iíve also learned that I played an important role in my recovery as well.
In fact, if I didnít listen or pay attention to what was happening to my body, I would be telling a very different story today. With a stroke, timing can mean the difference between life and death.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I did not hesitate. Although I did not understand everything at the time, I knew I needed immediate medical attention.
Listening to those early warning signs can make a difference. Iím proof it does.
Kristine Jean is a reporter for the Innisfail Province.