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Martha "Marty" J. M.


Thursday, June 17, 2010 began as any other normal day for Martha, a 59‐year‐old administrative assistant who works at a regional medical center. Here is Marty's story, her version, as she shares her life before her stroke and how it has affected her life and the lives of people around her since her stroke: Thursday, June 17, 2010 began as any normal day for me. As an early morning person, I got up and got ready for work. I spoke with my daughter and sister before leaving. I live approximately 30 miles from the hospital I have worked at for 25 years. I always take the highway and can make it to work in approximately 25‐30 minutes. That day, I was scheduled to work from 11:00 a.m. ‐ 7:30 p.m. in the nursing unit where I do payroll and scheduling. There was nothing unusual about my morning other than going into work at 11:00 a.m. rather than 7:00 p.m. I take medication for various reasons: high blood pressure, history of mitral valve repair, and Atrial fibrillation since September 2008. I routinely have labs checked and sometimes need Vitamin D and B‐12 injections. I always knew I was a candidate for a stroke, but never thought it would happen to me.

Everyone should be educated about the signs and symptoms of a stroke. I am very fortunate that I arrived at work the day of the stroke without causing a car accident driving 70 miles an hour for 30 minutes. I think of all the "what ifs" and I have to say I was very fortunate my co‐worker was here in the office and I received medical attention very quickly. As I arrived and parked my vehicle, my son and two grandchildren were at the entrance to greet me. They wanted to go to lunch and I told them I had to check with my co‐workers and it was agreed that I could leave and meet with them for lunch. I had a normal conversation with one of my co‐workers and left to put my things on my desk in another office. I spoke to the RN I share office space with and placed my purse on my desk. The RN I share the office with asked me a question and I was told I gave her a totally “off the wall” answer. She moved her chair over next to me and asked me the same question with me giving inappropriate answers. She looked at me and saw the side of my face was drooping and my words were slurred. She acted without hesitation and called the Emergency Department for help. I was taken to the ED and I have no recall of what transpired from 11:10 a.m. Thursday morning until late Saturday afternoon when I awakened in the SICU. I spoke to the nurse taking care of me and was told I had a stroke and was being transferred to the Stroke Unit. It is like a huge black hole; I have tried over and over to see if I can recall anything and cannot until that Saturday. My entire family ‐ my children, mother, siblings, in‐laws and just a lot of people were there and being kept informed by the many physicians, stroke nurse and nursing staff.

I was told I had a seizure shortly after I arrived in the ED. I understand this is not uncommon when one has a stroke and it also means one cannot drive a vehicle until he/she has been seizure‐free for six months. I was convinced I would be driving my new car I had just purchased shortly before the stroke. I was discharged on day seven, post‐stroke, and told to take it easy. I returned to my internist two days later for a medication level check and, since it was normal, I was able to stop anticoagulant injections. Early evening, I began experiencing leg pain and ended up going back into the ED and was re‐admitted for a work‐up as I lost the feelings in my legs. While in the hospital, I was able to feed myself, bathe myself and pretty much do my ADLs on my own. I remember being extremely tired and everyday my family encouraged me that I was sounding stronger and speaking clearer. Once I became medically stable, I was transferred to another medical center's Inpatient Medical Rehabilitation Unit so they could work with me to learn how to live with the wheelchair and to build strength back in my weakened leg muscles. I was there 21 days. A ramp was built at my home to accommodate my wheelchair. The physical therapist and occupational therapist came to my home to see what would need to be done to make my home handicap accessible. My family was already on that task and had moved furniture and other items. I had visiting nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists come to my home for two weeks and work with me. I then was sent to Outpatient Physical Therapy. It has been a long road, one which I would not have chosen to take, but one I was given to take. I returned to work full‐time on October 1, 2010. Everyone I work with has been very supportive. Since my stroke in June, I have celebrated my 60th birthday and welcomed my ninth grandchild into the world. Although I am using a wheelchair and am continuing physical therapy to teach my body how to walk again, I face every day thankful and glad to be alive!


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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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