Around noon on May 17, 2018, Anthony Reine, Brownwood Regional Medical Center food service supervisor, was working on his computer at home when he began to feel numbness in his right arm.
As with many people, the first response was to ignore the symptoms. The possible ailments began running through his mind but Reine wanted to deny what was happening. The initial numbness progressed to inability to lift or move his right arm.
Reine vividly remembers placing his left hand over his right hand to move the computer mouse to shut it down. This action was very concerning to him.
Reine knew something was not right, but was unsure what was happening. Reine and his sister drove to the local VA clinic and Reine was rushed to the Brownwood Regional Medical Center (BRMC) emergency room by ambulance. Reine recalls hearing the ambulance crew report on the radio to the ER that a male patient was having a stroke.
Upon arrival, Reine was quickly evaluated, taken for CT Scan and lab work was drawn. The diagnosis was an ischemic stroke. A physician came to his bedside and began educating him about what was happening and why his symptoms were present.
Reine did recall the specific attention given as to the time that the numbness and weakness began. The physician told Reine he was in the “right time window” to receive “tPA”. The risks and benefits of this “clot busting medication” were discussed.
The ER nurse, Amber Benson, had also provided Reine with an educational handout on tPA that explained what it was, how it was given and the potential side effects.
After the conversation about tPA, Reine and his sister believed the medication was the best chance he had to regain the best function of his right arm because of the stroke.
Reine recalls that he felt comforted by the ER nurse caring for him. “Amber never left my side,” Reine said. “The entire time she told me what to expect and kept reassuring him that the medication was working and it was the best chance to recover the use of my arm.”
Reine was transferred from the emergency room to the ICU. Everyone he encountered during his stay were caring nurses and staff. Reine also said Johnie Robinson, a nurse, gave him a ball and told him to squeeze it, saying it would help build the strength in his right arm and to keep it moving.
Reine is at work and able to perform his job without any difficulties.
Since his stroke, Reine knows the signs and symptoms of a stroke. He also knows he would immediately call 9-1-1 and not risk the time element needed to receive tPA.
Reine is grateful for the care and compassion shown to him during his stroke diagnosis and feels comforted to know BRMC helped save the use of his right arm.
“My experience provided me the education about stroke and I know calling 9-1-1 is the best answer to receive the treatment in time,” Reine said, thanking BRMC for taking “excellent care” of him.