I Got My Best Christmas Present Early This Year


I got my best Christmas present early this year.

My mother is home from the hospital today, after a close encounter with a stroke that would have left the right side of her body useless to her.

She is ok, with no visible after effects, due to quick action and great medical care. One of my sons asked me how I knew that this was a stroke and what to do about it. I had to think for a moment. How did I know?

Then, I remembered. We had a group of speakers from one of our hospitals at a Rotary meeting. They gave information about the warning signs of a stroke, and also told us which hospital in the area was equipped to treat strokes.

It’s important to know these things. Strokes don’t just happen to elderly people like my mother. They can happen to anyone, at any time in their lives. The disability that strokes cause can be devastating. The great thing is that there is often a way for medical people to stop the stroke and prevent this tragedy. But you have to get the person who is having the stroke to medical care early enough.

I’ve put together a few videos about strokes. I hope you’ll take the time to watch them and then find out where the best facility for treating a stroke is in your area. The most important thing to remember is an acronym: FAST.

Here is a copy of a warning card describing FAST from the National Stroke Association. To get a copy to print out and put in your wallet, go here.

Here is additional information that I found on the National Stroke Association website. I think it’s important to note these more subtle symptoms. I decided my mother needed to go to the er because she had a tingly feeling on the right side of her face and her right arm. She also had sudden dizziness and a headache.

Learn as many stroke symptoms as possible so you can recognize stroke as FAST as possible. Click here to download the FAST Wallet Card to keep a reminder of stroke warning signs with you wherever you go!

Stroke symptoms include:

  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any of these symptoms

Note the time you experienced your first symptom.
This information is important to your healthcare provider and can affect treatment decisions.

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  • KyPerson

    Both my mother and father had strokes. My mother had hypertension which was very difficult to control but my father had no underlying causes for a stroke except age (he was 90). His stroke left his memory totally scrambled. It is so sad to see him not understand the simplest things.

    I hope and pray that strokes may become preventable in the near future.

  • pagansister

    Thank you for the information, Rebecca! Am So glad your mother came thru this and is home. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • hamiltonr

      Thank you Pagansister. Merry Christmas to you and yours, as well.

  • Rob Bos

    That is fantastic. I’m happy for you and your mother. Strokes are merciless and cruel, and can so easily leave you a hollow shell.

  • EMS

    I’m glad your mom appears to have gotten over the stroke. But to play devil’s advocate, please keep an on her. My father was hospitalized on 12/22/98 due to a head injury from a fall. He seemed to be okay. But when Mom and I went to the hospital on Christmas Day, we found a man totally different from the man he was the day before (Christmas Eve). His stroke occurred overnight in the hospital. And it took years for the damage to unfold. My mother had a TIA stroke 12/14/05. Again, she was a totally changed woman the next day, though she did get back to normal the day after. But there was lingering mental damage that also tooks its time to unfold. I used to know a woman who had a severe stroke when she was 20. In her case, mentally, she turned out okay, but she had lasting physical damage.
    Enjoy your Mom while you can and have a great Christmas.

    • hamiltonr

      Thanks for the advice. I will watch her. I’m really sorry about what happened with your parents.

      • EMS

        I forgot to mention one thing. Dad continued to have mini-strokes for years. There were times when he’d suddenly stop moving or stand still for a few seconds. Other times, one side of his mouth would droop or he’d get a blank look on his face. And he woulldn’t remember what happened. There were a couple of times when he left the house in the middle of the night (fortunately just to the walled backyard) while we were sleeping, and many times when he’d get out of bed. Those were the scary times. If your mother sleeps in a room removed from the rest of you or on a different floor, you should consider installing some kind of baby alarm or motion sensor in case your mom starts wandering.

  • FW Ken

    So glad you have your mother for another year. God bless you all and grant you a happy Christmas.

  • peggy-o

    So happy for you and your mom yahoo! Thanks so much for the info as strokes run in our family. I got my present early today too as I got to pick my mom up from her care center and take a road trip with her to our home. Having waited months to be able to do this with bureacracy and having worked hard with my kids to make everything perfect she got the flu….no fair Jesus I prayed and he answered with a quick recovery. We had a blast listening to Christmas music looking at the ice covered trees in the sun against the blue winter sky. Tomorrow at mass, we’ll send birthday greetings to our heavenly Father and my earthly father born on His day who died of a stroke ten years ago.
    Merry Christmas Rebecca and to all commenters!

    • hamiltonr

      What a wonderful daughter you are. Merry Christmas Peggy.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Thank God! I’m glad it all worked out. God bless.

  • Elaine t

    My mother had a stroke a few months ago. Great news on your mother’s recovery. I’m posting to alert you to something no one noticed on Mom until she went for an eye exam: her eyesight was affected in an odd way. It’s called hemioptia, and basically, for my Mom, anyway, it means only half of each eye works. There are lenses that can help the person see more, if they can tolerate them. Anyway, keep that in mind and ask if your mother can be screened for it. No one but eye doctors seems to have a clue about this condition as an effect of stroke.

    • hamiltonr

      Thank you Elaine. I will have my mother checked for this.