When It Comes To A Stroke Time Is Of The Essence

Andrew and Linda medal picture
May 1, 2023 - 11:30 PM: The unthinkable happened. I was having a stroke.

Act FAST : Face – Arm – Speech – Time

We were preparing for Arts In The Park. Linda was cleaning up from jewelry making, and I was moving items around used to set up our booth. I suddenly felt very tired, so I lay down on the couch. Two minutes later she emerged from the bathroom to find me very confused, unable to speak, and half my body not working. Thanks to an old commercial about the signs of a stroke, she was able to quickly figure out what was going on, call 911, and get me to the hospital. Because she acted so quickly, they were able to give me a clot busting medication that saved my life. If she had hesitated, they would not have been able to use it, and my outcome would have been much worse. Thanks to her quick actions, I’m mostly back to normal.

For those who don’t know the acronym for determining if someone is having a stroke, it’s F A S T

F - Face Drooping
Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

A- Arm Weakness
Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S - Speech Difficulty
Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly? 

T - Time to call 911
If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.

There are many variations of this acronym on the internet (BE FAST, FASTER, etc), but the bottom line is the same. Don’t ignore the signs of a stroke, even if they go away. Seek medical attention immediately. It’s better to be wrong than not get treatment as quickly as possible. The sooner you’re diagnosed, the better the chance of a favorable outcome. The doctor mentioned how many people delay getting treatment for hours. Don’t be that person.

One last thing. I’m in fairly good shape. We ran 19 miles a few weeks ago at Disney for charity. I did the Monument 10K a couple weeks ago. I don’t take any medications. It’s important to realize that a stroke can happen to anyone at any time. Don’t discount the symptoms because the person is healthy. Be smart. Act FAST.