LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- According to the national stroke association, Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability. Time is brain when it comes to stroke patients. That's why Comanche County Memorial Hospital works to get patients who have suffered a stroke in and treated as quickly as possible.
Eddie Anderson has worked for the United States Postal service for 40 years, and in May of last year, he suffered a stroke while on the job. He was sitting in his truck when he noticed his left foot start to twitch.
"I looked down at my right foot, and it wasn't moving. I tried to move it and I couldn't move it. As I was doing that my hand was right here, and as I moved, my hand just fell off down to the side. I knew something was wrong."
At first Eddie thought it would just go away, but he quickly learned that wasn't the case. He knew he needed to call someone, and after struggling to maintain control of his body, he finally got ahold of his wife.
"She answers and said, 'Eddie?' and I couldn't talk."
Fortunately, each mail carrier carries a GPS tracked scanner. If the scanner sits too long in one location, it beeps at the supervisor's desk. Eddie's scanner hadn't moved for about 25 minutes, so his supervisors were aware that something might be wrong.
"They called another carrier that was close to me and he came out and checked on me. And I couldn't look at him and my left hand was moving the mail, and I was mumbling."
When he got to CCMH, the whole stroke center team was there and ready to take over. Alicia Webster, the STEMI and stroke coordinator, says for stroke patients, time is of the essence.
"Those brain cells, neurons, thousands of millions of neurons are dying every minute that passes. And, so, we want to save that brain and enhance the outcome for that patient," said Alicia Webster, the CCMH STEMI/Stroke coordinator.
After quickly assessing him, he was given what is called a TPA shot to stop blood clotting, which is what causes a stroke.
"In about 45 minutes, I could move, start moving my toes, moving my hands. Then I started talking a little bit," said Anderson.
By the next morning he was up and walking. However, Webster says not every patient has as good of a recovery as Eddie did.
"A lot of times they may have deficits. It's very common. So our rehabilitation services are able to work with them to improve their speech, to improve their memory. Maybe they have aphasia and they are not able to say things very quickly. Maybe they have difficulty walking. Things like that, they will help them improve that and get them the care that they need," said Webster.
Eddie says he is about 95 percent back, thanks to the care he received, his positive outlook, and his faith.
"Every once in a while, I look back and think how lucky I am....I'm blessed that the doctors and everything worked just like it was supposed to," said Anderson.
Comanche County Memorial Hospital is providing free stroke risk assessments on May 18th and 19th from 8 in the morning until 3:00 p.m. They're also offering a $20 blood draw for a lipid panel. For the best results, they ask that you don't eat or drink for at least 10 hours prior to.
On May 19th at 11:30 there is a stroke awareness lunch and learn featuring Dr. Zachary Berry. The cost is $5. To make an appointment for the blood draw, or to reserve your spot for the lunch and learn you can call 585-5406.