[YAK] .....How To Identify A Stroke

Hi Folks…

Back on 12/27/07, I had a clot type stroke in the cortico-spinal
area of my brain…I was left with a paralyzed right side, a vague
awareness of what was going on, and a face out of a B-rated Horror
Movie… Because of the extent of the paralysis, I was told I faced
the prospect of assisted living…

That scared me more than anything…

Today, I am existing independently, though I need a brace and cane to
get around…My right hand (the prior dominant one) has maybe 20%
function, with no fine motor control to speak of…Everything is
harder to do, essentially one handed, and I do get tired easily…

I’m not griping…I’m glad to be alive, and an independent
Survivor…My cognition was essentially unaffected…My face is
normal, as is my speech…I’m one of the luckier survivors…

The thing is…had I recognized what was happening to me, I might
have none of these affects… For a clot type stroke, there’s a 3-4
hour window when it can be reversed…I got to the hospital too
late to reverse it, but soon enough so I lived…

How common is stroke? It’s the third most common cause of death in
the US…Eighty percent of all strokes are the clot type…There
are over 6 million stroke survivors in the US alone…

How to ID a stroke…S…T…R…

REMEMBER the 1st Three Letters… S…T…R…

S…Ask the individual to SMILE.

T…Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE
(Coherently) Example…It is sunny outside today…

R…Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If the person (or you), have a problem with any of these tasks, it’s
time to call 911…

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3
hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally. He
said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then
getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is

They’ve recently extended the window to 4 hours in some cases…

NOTE: Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’
out their tongue… If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side
or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

Hopefully this bit of knowledge will help some folks in the

Surviving a stroke takes a lot out of a person, both physically and

How successful one is depends a lot on the support they have, and
believe me, I can personally attest to the need for that
support…And thank the folks that provided it to me, from the bottom
of my heart…

I found a great online resource for Stroke Support…It’s a free
site, started, run by, and for, Stroke Survivors and Caregivers…If
you are a Stroke Survivor, or Caregiver, or know someone who is, give
them this link…

I suspect they’ll thank you…It puts you on the Forum discussion
page, and you will meet folks who are walking the talk…As a
guest, you can read the posts, to get a feel for what the site is


Care to All…

Gary W. Bourbonais
L’Hermite Aromatique
A.J.P. (GIA)

Back on 12/27/07, I had a clot type stroke in the cortico-spinal
area of my brain.... 

Gary, thanks for deciding to share this. I passed it on to my hubby
and kids. I’ve heard the STR thing before, but it bears repeating.

Your timing caused it to fall on fertile ground with me, because I’m
feeling vulnerable in the aftermath of the death of an artist friend,
not from stroke but leukemia. Very fast, very untimely… only a few
years older than myself.

Carpe deim.


and in the emergency medical profession, that is called the
Cincinnati Stroke Scale. If you have any one of these symptoms; call
9-1-1 (in Britain 9-9-9) and request to be transported to the
nearest “Stroke Center.” All hospitals (and emergency departments)
are not equal in the ability to assess and treat an acute stroke.

Have a great day.

John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D., AJP

very very good advice and much needed, for us a bit too late, my
husband Jon had his stroke mid april…and we found found out that it
was his 3rd.

we were lucky, it was centered in his throat… he still flunks
swallow tests, and I have to remind him to tip his head to the side
when he drinks… otherwise it goes in the lung… not good.


Good advice Gary. I suffered two deep brain strokes back in 2003.
They both affected my right side. The first was at 2:00 in the
morning. I was downstairs lying on the couch and when I got up I was
walking in circles and falling down. That of course woke up my then
wife. She kept asking me where I had been thinking that I had been
out drinking because there wasn’t enough alcohol in the house to get
me in that condition. I was responding in what I thought was a
coherent manner which was apparently just blather. The good news is
I recovered 99% of my motor skills (I hold on to the 1% to blame my
mistakes on) and 80% of my strength in my right side. I have what I
call my 500 foot limit. If I’m going to walk more than 500 feet away

On the upside my doctor prescribed making jewelry as therapy for my
motor skills. I melted lots of stuff and it was frustrating for
months but eventually productive.

To this day my kids still say, “Smile Dad”, just to check up on me…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan

being an an ex certified EMT, I would like to thank you for this,
you know, it’s been a while since I ran in an ambulance, but I don’t
ever remember this in any of the text books we had, and this is SO
simple anyone can help someone in dire need. thank you. It wouldn’t
hurt for all shops and evryone to at least have a simple knowledge of
first aid, this society is made up of the majority being elderly,
since we baby boomers are coming of age. God bless you on your
recovery, I hope you eventually recover even more, the brain is an
amazing thing.