It was an ordinary morning; the time was 6am, and Margo’s husband, GP Dr John, was getting ready for work. Suddenly, John was unsteady on his feet. “Are you okay?” Margo queried. When John went to reply, his speech was slurred. Sitting back down on the bed, John refocused himself.
Looking at his work laptop to check his schedule for the day, he noticed his vision wasn’t right.
Shutting down the laptop screen, right on top of his hand, John was shocked he had left his hand there.
Seeing all of this, Margo suspected a stroke. Intently, she conducted the FAST test.
Was John’s face drooping on one side? Could he raise both of his arms? His speech was already slurred. Could he find the right words to say?
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Margo alerted John that she strongly suspected he had experienced a stroke, and she called 999.
After having a CT brain scan at the local hospital in Bournemouth, John was blue-lighted to Southampton for an emergency mechanical thrombectomy.
The Stroke Association explained a thrombectomy “is a relatively new procedure”.
“Thrombectomy involves using a specially-designed clot removal device inserted through a catheter to pull or suck out the clot to restore blood flow,” the charity explained.
As for John, the left side of his body was severely affected by the stroke.
At the beginning of his recovery, John was unable to sit down unassisted, or even stand or walk.
His speech was slurred and his vision was affected; John needed 10 days of intensive rehabilitation.
Performing physiotherapy, twice a day, John gradually regained his strength and mobility.
By six weeks into his recovery, John was able to go up and down the stairs, he could dress himself once more, and could walk his dog along the beach.
A year on from his stroke, and John has returned to work as a GP, has been on holiday, and rejoined a choir.
John and Margo are supporting NHS England’s “Help Us, Help You” Act F.A.S.T. campaign.
The campaign highlights that a stroke is medical emergency and urges the public to call 999 immediately if they notice any single one of the signs of a stroke in themselves or others.