Rutherford County man suffers stroke, makes it to Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford ER just in time

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It was 1:15 a.m. on January 17, 2022, when Michael, 58, awoke from his sleep with an eerie sensation. “My arm felt like it was sleeping,” Michael said. “I tried to lift him but he wouldn’t move, so I had to physically lift him. I walked into the bathroom to look at myself in the mirror and noticed that the left side of my face was getting droopy. I tried to wink and smile, but my face wouldn’t move.

He went to wake up his wife and they went straight to the emergency room at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital. Staff assessed Michael and confirmed he was suffering from a stroke. “They brought me back right away for treatment,” Michael said. “I believe that’s one of the reasons I’ve almost regained my full function.” Michael’s type of stroke was called ischemic. This type of stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks or narrows an artery in the brain.

Staff at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital were able to provide Michael with a drug called tenecteplase, often referred to as an anti-clot. This use of “anti-clot” drugs is known as thrombolysis. Thrombolysis may be offered to patients who have a stroke caused by a blood clot such as an ischemic stroke and who come to the emergency department quickly. If given within the first three hours after a stroke, it can help restore blood flow to stroke-affected brain regions, thereby limiting the risk of damage and functional impairment.

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The staff provided me and my wife with all the information we needed,” said Michael. “They sat down with us and explained my situation and walked us through our next steps.” Michael was able to leave the hospital two days later, on January 19. He went to outpatient rehab for six days and continues to exercise and work to regain full function in his left hand.

Michael is a Murfreesboro native, born and raised in the Rutherford area. He works as a bulk unloader at General Mills and spends his extra time fishing, spending time with his grandchildren, and woodworking. Now he is once again enjoying his routine with his loved ones. “I believe God was with me throughout my experience,” Michael said. “He was the one who woke me up on time, got me into the hospital on time and surrounded me with the best care in the hospital. I felt like I had guardian angels around me at all times.

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