Your Healthy Family: Knowing FAST keeps Colorado Springs couple still going strong

Posted at 5:38 AM, Jul 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-13 07:38:26-04

Norm and Margie Churchill have been married for almost 62 years.  Their time together on this earth almost ended in August of 2017, but because Norm clearly recognized the signs of a stroke and knew how to react, the two are still happily married and enjoying life together.

Norm clearly recalls the day he almost lost Margie: They were picking up their dog Ethel from her grooming appointment at Sunrise Kennels in Colorado Springs when he noticed something was off with Margie. She had an unusual expression on her face, and Ethel’s leash was on the ground.

Norm recalls: “She was putting the dog in the car and she never got the door open.  I came out from paying the bill and could see her beside the car and immediately knew something was wrong.”

Norm knew exactly what to do and began asking important questions.  “When I spoke to her I got nothing, and so I went through the routine.  I said ‘put your arms up’… nothing. I said ‘smile’… nothing. I asked ‘what time is it?’… nothing.”

Norm recognized the signs of a stroke because of past experiences.  One of his sons suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 48. It was the hardest imaginable way to get a stroke education.

“Every time I went to the hospital it was like glaring.  The placards that said ‘this is what you do if you suspect a stroke.’  I began training myself to do that so that if I ever were to ever encounter someone having a stroke, I would know what to do.  And then seven or eight years later… It was my lovely bride of 61 one years, and it was a shock.”

Now nearly 11 months later, Margie continues to make great strides in rehab and has come a long way.  Margie says, “It’s a good day, I’m working hard one step at a time.”

Norm is supporting her every step of the way.  “I have to tell you I don’t know if I could do what she is doing — that’s hard work.  She’s getting better.”

Norm and Margie are counting many blessings, as they know so much went right for them  that August day, just a few days before they were going to leave town for a long-planned train trip.

Norm says, “I shudder to think but what would have happened had she not had this stroke on the Thursday before (we were leaving) if had we been on the train, I’m pretty certain she would not have survived.”

In our next Your Healthy Family story I’ll share the role the UCHealth Mobile Stroke Unit played in this story. The MSTU currently splits time between Colorado Springs and Aurora as part of a national research project.