John Warnock is a spear fishing champion and a former distance runner.
About a year ago, he was awakened by his phone ringing...but he found it difficult to lift the receiver with his right hand. His right side seemed to be asleep. His speech was slurred and he could not articulate words.
Because he was an active person, he thought it might just be muscle fatigue and he tried to stretch it out. When his symptoms didn’t improve, he struggled to call his nephew, a fellow spear fisherman and a respiratory therapist.
His nephew immediately recognized that John was having a stroke and he called the rescue squad to have his uncle taken to The Miriam Hospital. The Miriam is the first hospital in Rhode Island to be designated a Certified Stroke Center by the Joint Commission.
His nephew told John to leave the front door open for the paramedics. By this time, John had to drag himself, hand over hand, along his hallway to get to the door...his paralysis was spreading down his entire right side.
When the paramedics came, they knew that the more quickly they could get John to The Norman M. Fain Stroke Center at The Miriam Hospital, the better his odds would be for survival and recovery. Luckily for John, the lightning fast actions of his nephew and the paramedics paid off.
John arrived in time for the specialists at The Miriam to administer a drug known as TPA. If TPA is given within 4 to 4 1/2 hours of the onset of an acute stroke, it can successfully bust up the clot that is causing the stroke and substantially reduce the chances of permanent damage to the patient.
John spent four nights at The Miriam and each day his paralysis improved. At the beginning of the second day, he could not lift a cup of water...by that evening he was able to lift the pitcher of water to fill his cup.
“Miriam is an amazing place. I felt so safe there, like I was at home. Everyone on the staff was so caring. They literally treated me like family. They take the time to really get to know their patients,” said John in an interview.
After spending 7 days in rehab and working with a trainer (John was in the gym again just two weeks from the day of the stroke), he is back in the water, spear fishing with a buddy and able to run again.
“Losing control of my body was a humbling experience, but with the help of The Miriam, I am back being me again,” John concluded.
The acute stroke team is available around-the-clock for stroke emergencies. The center has the latest in diagnostic imaging equipment and minimally-invasive technologies, along with a specialized team of nurses and comprehensive rehabilitation services.