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Stroke Month

My mother was sitting in a chair going through a box of old photos when my sister and brother-in-law popped in to pick something up. One of them asked her a question and she struggled to answer. When she did, it was garble.

My brother-in-law suggested a trip to the doctor, but mother shook her head ‘no.’ My mom then tried to speak again, realizing this time that her words were gibberish, and consented to be taken to the Emergency Room.

When my sister called to tell me what had happened and they were on their way to the ER, my first thought was ‘stroke,’ and I started going over the BE FAST acronym in my head as to the course of action.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the one question the healthcare team continued to ask was, “how long ago did this happen,” knowing that time was of the essence. It had only been 15 or 20 minutes.

After some tests, it was determined not to be a stroke but a TIA (transient ischemic attack), which is a short period of symptoms similar to those of a stroke. It’s caused by a brief blockage of blood flow to the brain. A TIA usually lasts only a few minutes and doesn’t cause long-term damage.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a TIA, caused by a brief blockage of blood flow to the brain, may be a warning. A TIA usually lasts only a few minutes and doesn’t cause long-term damage. About one in three people who has a TIA will eventually have a stroke, with about half occurring within a year after the TIA. Often called a ministroke, a TIA can serve as both a warning of a future stroke and a chance to prevent it.

My mom’s ability to speak clearly returned shortly after arriving at the hospital, and she suffered no long-term effects.

The doctor said it was a good thing my sister and brother-in-law had stopped by, and my mother was required to speak or else she might not have ever known anything had happened.

My mom is an active 81 year old. She goes to the gym three to five times a week. She works out in her yard, goes on trips with friends, etc. She’s not one to just sit. She looks forward to the annual beach trip and making trips to see her 17-month-old great-grandson. She’s decided that her weekly workouts don’t hold a

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