Susan Keeton had just had dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 28, when the left side of her face began to feel numb. She called out for her husband, Don, and her words sounded funny to her, too.
Don took one look at Susan and knew immediately what was happening. "You're having a stroke," he told his 59-year-old wife. He gave her an aspirin and dialed 9-1-1.
An EMS ambulance crew was at her home minutes later. Upon seeing her facial droop, left-sided weakness and slurred speech, the team alerted Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, the region’s Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, that they soon would be headed their way with a patient.
When Susan arrived at the St. Francis Emergency Department, the stroke team was ready and waiting. Within 19 minutes of her arrival, she had been evaluated, undergone a CT scan and given TNK, a clot-busting medication.
"I was alert the entire time," said Susan, who praised the speed and efficiency of the team that worked to restore blood flow to her brain. "Everyone had a job to do and knew exactly what their role was. I was so impressed."
The TNK did its job and when her nurse, Adam Henneke, RN, came to check on her at 4 a.m. the next day, her face, speech and left side had returned to normal. "I was so amazed I wanted to call my husband and wake him up to tell him, but I decided to wait," she said.
A ‘superb’ short stay
She was discharged home on Thursday, after only being in the hospital for one full day, with a later follow-up visit scheduled with LeighAnn Persondek, APRN, at Ascension Via Christi’s Outpatient Stroke Clinic, one of the unique services offered by St. Francis Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Henneke and the rest of the team were "superb," said Susan, who had never been to St. Francis before, but has spent a significant time in hospitals and ERs in recent years as she has COPD, heart failure, gastrointestinal disorders and also had COVID.
"The stroke was a new one, a real curveball for me," she said. "My husband reacted so fast, the ambulance coming as quickly as it did and the paramedics suggesting that we go to St. Francis all helped me get back on track as fast as I did.”
Her first experience at St. Francis was so positive, she said, that it's going to be her new hospital going forward. Susan, who made a full recovery, is working with her care team to determine the likely cause of her stroke and what she needs to reduce her risk for a future occurrence.
The right care at the right time
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a stroke, every second counts. Signs of a stroke include sudden loss of balance, lost or unclear vision, face drooping or uneven smile, arm or leg weakness and speech difficulty. Ascension Via Christi Comprehensive Stroke Center in Wichita, Kansas, provides advanced stroke care 24/7. Our doctors specialize in treating stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIA). We quickly work together to help improve blood flow to the brain, stop a brain bleed, prevent complications, and help prevent future strokes.