Since it began operating in Colorado Springs on August 11th, 2016 UCHealth’s Mobile Stroke Unit has already treated a stroke patient while parked in their driveway. The patient’s stroke was quickly diagnosed and the team was able to administer the crucial clot busting medication needed that can greatly reduce the time it would normally take for a patient to get this kind of treatment at the hospital and improve their chances of a positive outcome in terms of quality of life after a stroke.
Recently, Ann Reich, a Colorado Springs resident suffered a stroke, before the Mobile Stroke Unit was in service in the area. While she didn’t receive the services of the Mobile Stroke Unit at her home, her story helps emphasize that above all, when someone is having a stroke time is the most critical factor when it comes to keeping that quality of life.
Ann says “In hindsight, it started the night before because I got up in the middle of the night and I stood up and I can't even describe (what I was feeling) it wasn't like dizzy. Just, something (was going on) so I sat down and thought i had just gotten up too soon, so I went back to bed. The next morning I went to the gym at 6:00 and felt fine. Then I drove downtown to St. Mary's to go to mass, I got out of the car and it happened again. I didn't know what it was. I didn't think stroke. I just didn't know what it was. I just knew it was something and we had to go somewhere".
The somewhere Ann went, was UCHealth Memorial, where her stroke was diagnosed and she was given the clot busting drug TPA. Ann says “That probably was a really big factor in my really quick recovery.”
What followed was intensive rehab. Ann recalls “They came in, and they were talking about rehab and I said I will work as hard as I can. I want to be like I used to be.”
Today Ann is pretty close to where she was health wise before her stroke. She also finds that her continued recovery depends on her. “Now I have a list of exercises I'm supposed to do everyday for balance and I do find out, if I skip a couple of days, for some reason probably because I don't want to, I can start feeling a decline. So it is just as important to work hard and do what you have to do.”
The warning signs of a stroke are F-A-S-T. Facial drooping, arm weakness slurred speech, and time to call 9-1-1. Every minute treatment is delayed 1.8 Million brain cells die during a stroke. Calling 9-1-1 is always better than driving yourself to the emergency room because now perhaps the best treatment you can get, can be parked in your driveway in a matter of minutes.