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Stroke Patient Stories: Brandy

Brandy, 26, was at Jackson Lake enjoying a hot, end-of-summer weekend and a break from radiology school when the unexpected happened. On the water knee-boarding, she suddenly felt "strange." She slipped into the water and could barely hold on.

"Grab the kneeboard," shouted her friends. Her arm didn't work. And soon, her friends realized that something was wrong.

A stroke. At age 26.

One of her friends recognized the signs of stroke and the group moved fast. They called 9-1-1 and before long she was helicoptered to the Stroke Center at Swedish Medical Center. Brandy's friends met her at Swedish and the dedicated stroke nurse practitioner talked with them to confirm the sequence of events and timing while a board-certified stroke neurologist evaluated her.

Because of her friends' swift action, Brandy reached the hospital in time to receive a clot-busting drug called IV-TPA through her blood vessels. This drug can only be administered within three hours from the onset of stroke symptoms — therefore, it is extremely important that the time a stroke starts is noted. Interarterial (IA) therapy was then conducted so that more clot-busters could be administered directly on the clot in the brain. She was taken to Swedish because Swedish treats more patients with stroke than any hospital in Colorado.

Brandy has zero neurological deficits and within two days was walking around the hospital. She has choices and options in her life because of the quick thinking and action of her friends. Knowing the signs of stroke and what to do can save a friend's life. Stroke is an EMERGENCY.