FAST: A Good Acronym
In late September, the month seemed to be ending well. Our Rotorcraft Technology Summit, held Sept. 19 to 20 in Fort Worth, Texas, was a success, thanks in large part to a great marketing and logistics team at R&WI and the many accomplished executives who joined us as speakers and attendees.
In late September, the month seemed to be ending well. Our Rotorcraft Technology Summit, held Sept. 19 to 20 in Fort Worth, Texas, was a success, thanks in large part to a great marketing and logistics team at R&WI and the many accomplished executives who joined us as speakers and attendees. Then we wrapped up our Show Day publication for Helitech International, a trade show that promised me a first-time visit to Amsterdam. I planned to end September celebrating the 28th birthday of my son, Thomas.
Then I had a stroke.
It started late on the night of the 28th. I’d just finished Skyping with my beloved, Lisa, and was checking the news one last time before hitting the sack. I noticed my right index finger was dragging on my laptop touchpad. I said out loud, “The sky is blue in Cincinnati,” a stroke test taught to me 15 years earlier as a volunteer EMT. I didn’t seem to be slurring, but the mirror showed a slight droop on the right side of my mouth. I again Skyped Lisa, who thought she saw a slight droop, too.
I remembered something else from EMT training: transient ischemic attack. I Googled that. “If you are experiencing these symptoms,” one page said, “call 9-1-1.” Foolishly, I didn’t do that. But I did get myself to the hospital, where someone whispered “stroke” and I quickly was surrounded by nurses, and my daughter, Lauren. The nurses barely left my side for the next two days, and Lisa, Lauren and Thomas were with me in the hospital as the symptoms intensified and afterwards.
Mine was a small stroke. As I write this just three weeks after the fact, I can walk with little trouble and generally control my slurring. Movement in my right arm and hand is returning.
I’m very lucky, especially the risk factors I might have done better at mitigating. I’m fairly active, so that is a plus, but I’m also a bit overweight. Also, I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I might have gone beyond medications and done more to treat those conditions better with diet and exercise.
With my new lease on life, I’ll commit to doing better at all those. But as my father, Ed, was fond of saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” He had several strokes. Family history is another risk factor.
You can learn more about stroke risk factors at www.strokeassociation.org, as well as counsel on managing. I urge you to check out that or other stroke-related websites. That is especially true if you are 55 or older, but remember a stroke can strike anyone at any age.
Remember, too, a critical acronym: F.A.S.T. Face drooping. Arm weakness. Speech difficulty. Time to call 9-1-1. The acronym may save your life. R&WI