ORLANDO, Fla. – A unique photo going viral at a Central Florida hospital gives perspective and awareness of stroke symptoms.
“My right hand flew over the table, knocked over the water… My hand didn’t work. I couldn’t hold anything down,” said 86-year-old Ginny Lukasik.
Ginny and her husband Frank were sitting at home during the summer when he noticed something strange.
“She couldn’t speak and I assumed from the beginning it was a stroke … something wasn’t right,” Frank said.
Frank called 911 and paramedics arrived. It turns out Ginny suffered a massive stroke and was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center.
“She came to our hospital and was evaluated and it was determined that she had a severed blood vessel in her brain,” said Dr. Marshall Kress, director of neurovascular surgery.
Dr. Kress performed emergency surgery to remove the blocked blood vessel. All this happened while the couple celebrated their 51st anniversary.
“The trauma nurse didn’t think I was going to make it,” Ginny said.
The operation was successful. Frank was by her side on their anniversary when Ginny was moved to the recovery ward, a bystander capturing the two walking down the hospital corridor, hands tied. The photo is distributed throughout the hospital.
“It’s emotional. You never get to see cool moments like this,” Cress said.
“Either the RN brought us a piece of cake or our granddaughter (did). We ate it together in my room… so it was our anniversary. No dinner, just desert,” Ginny said.
Months later, the couple reunited with Dr. Cress, the neurosurgeon who they believe saved Ginny’s life.
With the holidays in full swing, Marshall Kress said this is a reminder for people visiting loved ones to be on the lookout for signs of a stroke.
“One of the things we like to use is the acronym BEFAST. We are watching bAlance, eYes, fexternal weakness, arm weakness, speech, and t stands for time,” Cress said.
Balance – Sudden loss of balance or coordination.
Eyes – Sudden visual disturbances in one or both eyes.
Face – Ask the person to smile. See if it is smooth.
Arm – Ask the person to raise both hands. Check if one arm is weak.
Speech – Ask the person to speak. Listen if you don’t talk.
Time – Call 911 at the first signs of a stroke.
According to Cress, Frank fortunately didn’t waste any time when he noticed the symptoms of the stroke.
“My wife is always right most of the time, but this time I wrote on my calendar, ‘I was right today,'” Frank said.
The couple are grateful to spend more time with their family this Christmas and continue their romance of more than 50 years.
“I think the secret to a successful marriage is to listen to what your spouse has to say and try to understand their point of view instead of always thinking about your own,” Ginny said.
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