STROKE: Two Patients Tell Their Stories

Stroke Treatment & Recovery

Jim Macaulay knew he was having a stroke. One evening about seven years ago, his right arm suddenly felt numb and he realized his right leg wasn’t responding. “When I tried to curse,” he said, “I found out my speech was slurred.”

Jim was rushed to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital where test results showed he was having a hemorrhagic stroke. Within a short period of time, he was sent by helicopter to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Jim is a regular attendee of the Stroke Survivors’ Support Group, which meets monthly in the Outpatient Pavilion at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, as is Mary Ann Hayden of Bushwood, another stroke survivor. “Once I started going, I have never missed a meeting,” she said.

Mary Ann had a hemorrhagic stroke in March 2017. Her son drove her to the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Emergency Room.

“Two nurses came out and took me in and there were people all around me doing their jobs,” Mary Ann said. Her blood pressure skyrocketed when she learned about her condition, and the doctor treating her quickly went to work to bring it down so she could be transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “My doctor never left my bedside,” she said.

Both Jim and Mary Ann have had a variety of therapies to overcome the effects of their strokes. Jim regained the ability to drive after several years and is now able to take short hikes, something he loved to do prior to his stroke. Mary Ann was able to host Christmas dinner for her family, preparing much of the meal herself thanks to a tip from a therapist to help her overcome her challenges with short-term memory.

“They taught me to use sticky notes, so I had sticky notes all over the kitchen,” she said. “It helped keep me going. “

“As long as I can stay like this I will be satisfied, I can do pretty much anything I want to,” Mary Ann said. “I’m just a little slow.”

Jim was especially happy to be able to resume driving his speedboat in the Southern Maryland Boat Club’s Leonardtown Regatta.

“This 70-year-old stroke survivor was racing his boat at 60 mph on the water,” said Jim. “I intend to do that as long as I can.”

Therapy Can Help Patients with Aphasia

For Anna Decker, MS, CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, helping people affected by aphasia is a personal mission.

“My mother had a stroke which caused aphasia — a communication deficit that makes it difficult to speak,” Anna said. “She uses a communication app on the iPad to speak for her, which helps her continue to live a full life.”

Aphasia is most often caused by stroke, but, it can also be the result of other traumatic brain injuries. Individuals with aphasia often have difficulty reading, writing, speaking, or understanding language.

“Aphasia is not a loss of intelligence, but a frustrating condition which affects the ability to communicate. Imagine not being able to say what you are thinking,” Anna said. “This is what people with aphasia experience every day.”

Working with a speech-language pathologist can help many patients regain their ability to speak or find other ways to communicate; however, the recovery can be long, and some people never fully regain their normal speech. People with aphasia can live a full and enjoyable life, even with communication difficulties or deficits.

Anna offers the following tips for communicating with someone who has aphasia.

  • KEEP IT SIMPLE. Speak in short, simple sentences.
  • BE PATIENT. Allow plenty of time for a response. Talk with him/her not for him/her
  • BE CREATIVE. Try writing, gesturing, pictures, and communication tools like an iPad.
  • Repeat back what you think he/she is saying.
  • DON’T SHOUT. Hearing is not affected and yelling does not help.
  • ASSUME COMPETENCY. Intelligence and cognition is generally intact and treat it like a language barrier.

Think FAST & Learn More

Don't wait until it's too late.

Inform yourself and your loved ones about the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke, and what to do if you suspect a stroke. Remember: If someone shows any signs of stroke, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and note the time when the symptoms first appeared - this information helps healthcare providers determine the best course of treatment. 

Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Stroke and MedStarStMarys.org/Aphasia to learn more about the care and services offered at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.

To reach MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Rehabilitation Services Department, call 301-475-6062.

Designated as a Primary Care Stroke Center

You suspect your loved one is having a stroke and you want to make sure they receive the best care possible. MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital recently received a five-year recertification as a Primary Stroke Center
through the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). 

MedStar St. Mary’s:

  • Offers state-of-the-art technology for diagnosis and treatment of patients suspected of having a stroke 
  • Has established protocols on how to treat stroke patients, based on evidence-based practices
  • Has stroke neurologists and neuro-imaging services available 24-hours-a-day to aid in diagnosis and treatment
  • Has access to the Telestroke program with MedStar Washington Hospital Center 

Stroke Survivors' Support Group

Meets the third Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Health Connections, located in the Outpatient Pavilion. The group discusses topics related to stroke, recovery, and how to prevent future problems. Caregivers are welcome. Call 301-475-6019 to register for this free support group.

Types of Strokes

ISCHEMIC: Happens when a blood clot blocking an artery feeding the brain causes a portion of the brain to stop functioning.

HEMORRHAGIC: Occurs when blood leaks from a burst blood vessel creating a mass of blood that distorts brain structures and interrupts brain function.

Join Us for Information Sessions During National Aphasia Awareness Month

Leonardtown, Maryland (June 14, 2017) – June is National Aphasia Awareness Month and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will be offering information sessions Tuesday, June 27, and Thursday, June 29, to help educate individuals about the communication disorder, which affects approximately 2 million Americans.

Aphasia is an acquired condition that impairs a person’s ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. The most common cause of aphasia is stroke, however, it can also result from head injury, brain tumor or other neurological causes. Individuals with aphasia often have difficulty reading, writing, speaking and/or understanding language.

“Many people do not understand that aphasia is a loss of language, not a loss of intelligence,” said Anna Decker, MS, CCC-SLP, speech language pathologist at MedStar St. Mary’s. “There are strategies available to help those impacted improve their communication.”

Individuals who are interested in learning more about aphasia, may stop by the hospital’s Atrium, which is located inside the Café at Buena Vista, between noon and 1 p.m. June 27 and 29. A speech language pathologist will be available to offer information and talk to individuals about how to help those affected with aphasia.

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. 

Education Sessions Offered For Aphasia Awareness Month

Aphasia Month

Information sessions available June 28 and 30

June is National Aphasia Awareness Month and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will be offering information sessions Tuesday, June 28, and Thursday, June 30, to help educate individuals about the communication disorder, which affects approximately 2 million Americans.

Aphasia is an acquired condition that impairs a person’s ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. The most common cause of aphasia is stroke, however, it can also result from head injury, brain tumor or other neurological causes. Many people with aphasia have Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Individuals with aphasia often have difficulty reading, writing, speaking or understanding.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about aphasia and strategies to communicate with people who have aphasia, may stop by the hospital’s Atrium, which is located next to the Café at Buena Vista, between noon and 1 p.m. on June 28 or 30. A speech language pathologist will be available to offer information and interested individuals may also sign up for an aphasia support group.

Learn more about communication disorders and the Aphasia Clinic at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C.

 

Media Contact
Holly Meyer

301-475-6010
[email protected]

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. 

Pediatric Studies Important Part of Diagnosing Sleep Issues in Children

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Sound Sleep Equals School Success

Steven Gregory “Greg” Wise was missing a lot of school. Absent 33 days of his fifth grade year, Greg’s parents and teachers were worried. “Every morning he would wake up and say he didn’t feel well - his head hurt, he had a stomach ache. It was a fight to get him to go to school,” said his mother, Veronica Wise of Clements, Maryland. “The school was great and worked with us, but his teachers were concerned about him missing so many days when he went to middle school.” 

Greg’s mother knew he had trouble sleeping, but it wasn’t until he went to see several specialists and participated in a sleep study that she realized how badly it was affecting him. Suffering from severe allergies and constant ear infections, Greg’s mother said his breathing issues seemed to be worsening as he was getting older. His allergist referred Greg to a pediatric pulmonologist, who recommended he undergo a sleep study.

Greg’s doctors determined he had narrow airways which — coupled with his allergies — made it difficult for him to breathe. The sleep study showed he woke up continuously through the night and stopped breathing a number of times. Greg underwent surgery to remove his adenoids and reposition his ear tubes. A sleep study following his surgery showed the procedures made a big difference in his quality of sleep. 

Sleep Studies Easy for Most Kids 

Temitayo Oyegbile, MD, PhD, director of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Sleep Lab
Temitayo Oyegbile, MD, PhD, director of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Sleep Lab

When Greg Wise took his first sleep study with Temitayo Oyegbile, MD, PhD, director of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Sleep Lab, the results showed he stopped breathing 12-15 times an hour. “Greg’s case was severe,” said Dr. Oyegbile who is board certified in pediatric neurology and sleep medicine. “Young kids shouldn’t be waking like that. It really has a negative effect on them.” 

The sleep study was an important tool in diagnosing and treating Greg’s sleep issues. Many parents may be apprehensive about pediatric sleep studies, but according to Dr. Oyegbile most children handle the experience very well. “The sleep lab is very kid-friendly. The techs are great with the kids and are trained to make the experience more comfortable for them,” said Dr. Oyegbile. “Parents get quite nervous having their kids in an unfamiliar environment overnight, but the kids typically do quite well.” 

Greg is now sleeping better following surgery, but many childhood sleep issues can be resolved without surgery. “There are other interventions we can try first,” said Dr. Oyegbile. “Controlling allergies, herbal supplements and behavioral changes are all strategies to consider before surgery. Often when kids do need surgery it is a five-minute procedure – removing tonsils or adenoids. Not all surgeries are as in-depth as Greg’s.”

For more information on pediatric sleep studies with Dr. Oyegbile, call 202-243-3499 or visit MedStarStMarys.org/SleepLab for more on our state-of-the-art Sleep Lab.

Summer Temps, Dehydration Can Cause Heat Stroke

Leonardtown, Md. — Summer can bring more than heat and humidity, especially if you’re outside for extended periods or if being active. Then, it can also deliver heat-related illnesses.

One of the most serious heat-related ailments is heat stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Heat stroke, also referred to as sunstroke, is most likely to occur when the body is no longer able to control its temperature. What happens is the body’s temperature rises rapidly and the body’s sweating mechanism fails, meaning the body can no longer cool down. Dehydration is also a factor because someone who is dehydrated may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, causing the body temperature to rise. Infants, the elderly, athletes, and outdoor workers are the groups at greatest risk for heat stroke.

There are various reasons why the body may not cool down but one of the most common is humidity. High humidity doesn’t allow sweat to evaporate quickly enough and this deters the body from releasing heat. As a result, body temperature may rise to 106°F and up in less than 15 minutes.

It is a good idea to know some of the warning signs of heat stroke. These may include:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

A critical step in the treatment of heat stroke is cooling the victim. Also, always notify emergency services immediately if heat stroke is suspected. If you think that someone has heat stroke, you should call 911 immediately and render first aid until paramedics arrive.

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Md. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is a seven time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

Media Contact

Holly Meyer
Public Relations & Marketing Director
[email protected]
Phone: 301-475-6010