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Examiner
  • Bob Buckley: Victim of stroke drawing from ordeal to do good

  • Last week, I reported the story of my client, Amy, who suffered a disabling stroke in Washington D.C. She had presented to the emergency room of a large hospital with possible symptoms of a stroke. She was diagnosed with vertigo and discharged even though a CT Scan of the head showed a significant problem in one of the arteries that provides blood to the brain.

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  • Part 2
    Last week, I reported the story of my client, Amy, who suffered a disabling stroke in Washington D.C. She had presented to the emergency room of a large hospital with possible symptoms of a stroke. She was diagnosed with vertigo and discharged even though a CT Scan of the head showed a significant problem in one of the arteries that provides blood to the brain.
    Twelve hours later, she came back to the emergency room suffering from a stroke caused by a vertebral dissection, a tear in the wall of the basilar artery. The dissection had been caused by chiropractic treatment and we claim that the doctors treating her missed the opportunity to diagnose the dissection and to prevent the stroke.
    Amy not only suffered a stroke, but she also suffered a very significant bleed in her brain which led to an emergency surgery in which they removed part of her skull to relieve the pressure on her brain. As a result of the stroke and bleeding in her brain, she was essentially paralyzed and unable to communicate. She remained in the hospital for a month in D.C. and then was transported by air ambulance to the Rehabilitation Institute in Chicago. I ended the story last week at this point, only informing you that what happened next was amazing.
    For the next month, Amy received intensive physical therapy and speech therapy in Chicago. That she was able to actually walk out of the rehab hospital is a miracle. Amy regained her ability to walk and talk. She returned to Kansas City where she continued therapy for several more months.
    Amy had big plans for her life before she suffered the stroke. She had married just four months earlier. One year before the stroke, she graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in modern dance. Her plan was to return to Kansas City and begin teaching dance with the aim of owning her own dance studio and doing choreography. She also planned to get her Pilates certification so she could supplement her income teaching Pilates. She was a phenomenal dancer as dance was her passion. She was 24 years old, married to the love of her life, and ready to begin her career and a family. All of her hopes and dreams were shattered in a matter of days.
    Many people suffering a similar plight would have surrendered. Not Amy. While she was continuing her therapy, it became apparent that her dream of a career in dance was destroyed because the stroke severely damaged her balance, but she was not to be denied.
    Amy decided that when one dream was destroyed it was not time to stop dreaming, it was just time to change her dream.
    As she continued her therapy, she met other stroke victims, most of whom were much older. But she also met other young people who had also suffered strokes and she became aware that while stroke in younger people is a relatively rare phenomenon, it does occur. So she began thinking about how she could turn the lemons that had been dealt to her into lemonade.
    Page 2 of 3 - She began by starting an organization called the National Orange Popsicle Week.
    The purpose of the organization was to raise awareness of stroke in young people. She and her husband began raising money under the umbrella of American Stroke Foundation. They created a website so they could tell her story as well as the stories of others. Why orange popsicles? While in the hospital as words started to form into faint whispers, Amy was able to tell her husband that she loved him and she would mouth the word “popsicle.” After passing a swallow test to see if it was safe for her to drink and eat, a rehab worker went out and purchased a box of orange popsicles for her and her family. Orange popsicles have a special meaning for her and her husband as they symbolize the next chapter in their lives.
    Not able to pursue a career in dance because of her balance issues, Amy decided to start another career. She had spent so much time in therapy with other stroke victims that she decided that she would pursue a career in physical therapy. She is now taking classes to obtain an associate’s degree as a physical therapy assistant. Her goal is to work with other stroke victims. She has experienced the struggles that her patients will go through and she wants to be there to help them to walk and talk and return to a fairly normal life.
    My client is still troubled by the fact that she has recovered so well and others she struggled through therapy with have not fared so well. Today, she is much better, but the stroke and brain hemorrhage have caused her significant deficits in memory, attention,
    concentration, and in her balance. She also becomes fatigued quite easily. To the outsider, she looks normal, but having spent two days with her, I will tell you that beneath the facade is a story of struggle.
    Yet, she wonders why she is able to walk and talk and so many others are not. She has strong faith that has carried her to this day. Amy’s story reminds me one of my favorite Bible stories reported in the Gospel of John. Jesus encountered a man who had been blind since birth and his disciples asked Jesus whether it was the blind man or his parents who sinned to explain his lack of sight. Jesus responded that neither the man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that God’s works might be displayed in him. Jesus then performed a miracle and the man was able to see. I have no idea why God allows bad things to happen to good people, but I am absolutely convinced that what happened to Amy occurred so that God’s works might be revealed in her. I can’t wait to see what He will do
    Page 3 of 3 - Bob Buckley is an attorney in Independence. Email him at bbuckley@wagblaw.com
     
     
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