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Edwin’s story: A stroke’s uncommon symptoms

Monday, May 21, 2018

By: Melissa Barth


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Edwin Pinckney wasn’t feeling quite right when he got up in the middle of the night.

 

It was January 2. After a long holiday weekend, it was tough to get back into the groove.

 

“He was getting ready for work. It was about 2 o’clock in the morning,” his wife Donna says.

 

“He got in the shower and came back out saying he couldn’t see. He talked about how he’d wished he’d called in to work, but didn’t say anything else about his eyes, so I didn’t think anything more of it,” Donna says.

 

It wasn’t a matter of having soap in his eyes. It was something far more serious.

 

“He was getting his boots on and I heard him stumble. He fell back, and I yelled at him because he was falling on me. Next thing I know, he was falling off the bed and was on the floor. I tried to pick him up, but couldn’t,” Donna says. “I called 911 right away.”

 

Donna didn’t realize Edwin was having a stroke.  His symptoms – drastic changes in eyesight and sudden loss of balance – aren’t common. Most people who have a stroke experience facial drooping, arm weakness and difficulty with speech.

 

Emergency responders arrived at the Pinckneys’ home on Green Bay’s near east side and rushed Edwin to an emergency room. Doctors there initiated treatment, but he required a higher level of care so he was transferred to Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a comprehensive stroke center. While there, Dr. Gerald W. Eckardt, a neurosurgeon with BayCare Clinic, diagnosed Edwin with an ischemic stroke. A clot was blocking the supply of blood to the left side of Edwin’s brain.

 

The clot-busting medication provided was not enough to break up the clot because of its location in Edwin’s brain, so Eckardt performed a mechanical thrombectomy. During the endovascular procedure, he removed the clot from the blocked blood vessel, accessing it via a large artery near the groin.

 

Aurora BayCare Medical Center has the region’s only stroke center offering the mechanical thrombectomy procedure.

 

Edwin’s stroke caused memory loss and difficulty speaking. It could have been worse.

 

“If I had waited another minute or two, it could’ve been different. They said it was a bad stroke. He shouldn’t have been alive,” Donna says.

 

Edwin and Donna credit Dr. Eckardt and his support staff for Edwin’s treatment and care.

 

“The things they do for other people is amazing,” she says. “Right from the beginning, the doctor came out and told me they were doing the surgery, what was wrong, and how long it’d take. Edwin had these doctors there for him and they all knew exactly what they needed to do.”

 

Edwin started occupational and speech therapy two months later and is well on the road to recovery.

 

“He takes his medicine by himself, he can cook, take the garbage out, and do the dishes,” Donna says. “He’s figuring things out a lot quicker now.”

 

Edwin and Donna want people to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke. They say that knowledge could save someone’s life.

 

“I never, in a million years, thought it’d be him having a stroke. Learn the signs and know that a change in eyesight is one of them,” Donna says.

 

Dr. Gerald W. Eckardt sees patients by referral in Green Bay, Kaukauna and Oshkosh. For information, call 920-288-8350 or 888-376-3876.

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BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 176-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.