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Sandra’s story: ‘Unbelievable’ stroke care

Thursday, January 26, 2017

By: Jeff Ash

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Sandra Rose knew immediately. When she couldn’t raise her arm and couldn’t talk, she knew.


She’d just had a stroke.


“I knew very well what had happened,” she says matter-of-factly.


Rose knew one other thing immediately.


The clock is ticking.


“I just knew I had to get to the hospital. And I needed to have something done as soon as possible,” says Rose, who lives in Hobart. “I know with a stroke, if you don’t get to the doctor soon enough, what happens to you isn’t very good.”


Rose, who’d been exercising on a bed, made as much noise as she could. Her husband Marvin, watching football on that September afternoon, heard her. He called 911. The rescue squad took her to a Green Bay hospital.


The clock keeps ticking.


However, a neurologist quickly realized Rose needed more care than that hospital offered.


“He realized it was a clot and he knew that he couldn’t do anything for me, but he knew that Aurora took care of that,” she says. “I remember him saying ‘We’ve got to get her out of here. Get the rescue squad called. It’s been 45 minutes. She’s gotta get going.’”


The clock keeps ticking.


When Rose arrived at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay a short while later, Dr. Gerald W. Eckardt of BayCare Clinic Neurological Surgeons went to work. He removed a large blood clot from the left side of Rose’s head, inserting a stent through a leg to reach it and restoring the flow of blood to her brain.


“It was amazing because in a short period of time, Dr. Eckardt was there talking with me,” Rose says. “I could talk. All of a sudden, they were starting to poke me on my right side with needles and trying different things and I could feel all of that. And I just thought to myself, unbelievable.”


The clock is stopped. Mission accomplished.


Rose spent four days in the hospital, then went home. That is, once Eckardt checked in on her one more time.


“He wouldn’t let me go until I saw him,” she says.


“I’d just like to thank Dr. Eckardt from the bottom of my heart. I think he did a wonderful job. I think he gave me my life back.”


Sandra Rose stroke patient


Now, Rose says, she feels great most of the time.


“The wonderful thing is I didn’t need any therapy, and that’s unbelievable after a stroke like that.


“I am tired, but that, I think, is to be expected,” she says. “As far as being able to walk, I can do all of that. I don’t really feel that I have anything residual from the stroke at all, but I can tell maybe my handwriting a little bit, but that I’m coordinating by doing things on the computer, and that makes it a good thing because I’m using both hands.”


As a two-time stroke survivor – Rose also had what she described as a migraine-related stroke at age 40 – and having seen other stroke patients while working in radiology, she offers this advice:


“I would never ignore a symptom like that. Because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You better go because there’s so many things you can do for a stroke now,” she says.


“Anybody who has any symptoms, don’t feel that you shouldn’t go to a doctor about it. It’s more important to check it out. You don’t want to go through what I did.”


Dr. Gerald W. Eckardt sees patients in Green Bay and Kaukauna, and in Escanaba, Mich. For information, call 888-376-3876

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