Patient Stories      Patient Story

 

Gary Barnes


We often receive letters of gratitude from patients and their families. This accounting of a husband’s stroke shows the tremendous impact our staff has on those we treat—and their loved ones.

It still seems unbelievable to me, but my husband Gary had a stroke. Although he is 56, he is so healthy, so fit, and such a picture of perfect health. On the Richter scale of strokes, this event was a major quake, not a trembler.

Shortly after attending his father’s funeral service in Lancaster, Gary got into the car to drive his brother to the store. His eyes blurred suddenly, and he lost sensation on his right side. His brother Jim, being a firefighter, quickly put him in the passenger seat, returned to the house, and told me something was wrong and we needed to go to the hospital. I saw with one horrible glance that it was a stroke.

Jim drove us like a retired fireman would to AVH about 10 miles away. Gary struggled to stay conscious. It was the longest ride of my life. Upon arrival the stroke team and neurologist responded in record time. Because we knew the time of onset, and because Gary was in such good shape with zero risk factors, he was given a medicine called TPA. Before its administration it was a grave situation. No speech and no movement on Gary’s entire right side. In my mind I was going through all the future scenarios, and none of them looked happy. Would I put the hospital bed in the front bedroom? Would my happy, loving husband become bitter and frustrated because he could no longer communicate? Would he go to a long stint of rehab and maybe walk again?

I felt panicky, but I so wanted to hold it together. I looked over at one of the nurses and went in for a hug. She gave me a reassuring hug, and I came back around. I can’t tell you how much that one hug meant to me.

Gary’s recovery was miraculous. His score went from a 24 to 0 on the stroke scale in less than an hour. He has full function with no deficits! I am so thankful and grateful to the team at AVH and for his amazing care there. Thank you all!

Diana and Gary Barnes
Carlsbad California