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Garry G.


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 significant disability.

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:

  • If you have dizziness or other symptoms, don’t dismiss it – get it checked out!  Ignoring the symptoms almost cost me everything.
  • Quick 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.
  • Getting to a facility like RWJ with a stroke specialty and super-talented neurosurgeons like Dr. Gupta is critical.
  • Having great support from caregivers, family and your employer makes recovery so much easier.

Considering the bad luck of having a stroke, I couldn’t have had better luck!


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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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