What time was the Stroke?
Strokes are attributed to majority of the deaths and disabilities in the United States (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Many of us have family members and friends that have suffered a stroke. As caregivers, we are aware of the importance of timely medical care for a stroke. However, do we actually understand how timing affects survival and recovery.
When my mother’s stroke occurred on March 17, 2021 at 5:40 p.m., I was standing directly in front of her, preparing for her transfer. As I watched her physical and mental conditions change, I knew she was having a stroke. As her caregiver, I remembered my medical training on the symptoms and very knowledgeable of the FAST facts.
F – Face- I saw her mouth twist and droop to one side.
A – Arm- I saw her right arm drop as if it was lifeless
S - Speech – She could not speak
T – Time-I immediately called 911
However, with all of my training, I did not recall that major medical intervention could only occur within three hours of the stroke. Three hours may seem like a lot of time, but it is barely enough time for,
(1) hospital transportation
(2) emergency room triage and nursing review
(3) doctor examination
(4) CT scan and other medical images
(5) blood tests
(6) neurologist consult
The doctor informed me that based upon the given time of my mother’s stroke I had fifteen minutes to approve specific medical treatment. He was extremely concerned about the accuracy of the stroke time. My cell phone was my proof of the time, as I called for help within seconds.
Caregivers, be cognizant of stroke signs and symptoms. Extreme weakness on one side may indicate a stroke. Sudden speech impairment or confusion may be a sign of a stroke.
Watch carefully and act expediently