Jan. 9, 2015
Vol. 13, Issue 1
In early September, soon after we’d moved into our new house, my friend and one of my favorite speakers, Jana Stanfield stopped by on her way through Portland. While we were having lunch on the deck, she told me this amazing story about her Mom, so I was very happy to see she’s written it up so that I can share it with you today. It’s one thing to talk about recognizing the symptoms of stroke, and totally another to be in the moment, seeing the symptoms before your eyes.
“I share my family’s Life Saver story in hopes that if anyone you love is showing the signs of a stroke, you can get help in time,” Jana said. “Every minute counts. The symptoms, which are so easy to ignore, mean that the stroke is already damaging brain cells. The faster you get ‘the shot that stops the clot,’ the better chance you have that your loved one can recover.”
The Life Saver is FAST
It was the end of last summer and I was talking with my mom on FaceTime from Malaysia. Me, not her. She was in Grand Prairie, TX, getting ready for her hair appointment.
“Mom, your lip is doing an Elvis thing on the left. Put your face toward the center of your iPad, so I can see you better. You look like Sheryl Crow when she does that Elvis thing with her upper lip.”
“Oh, Jan, I’m just sitting crooked. Besides, I’ve been out in the pool for an hour this morning and I feel great. I just had breakfast with Pat and he didn’t notice anything, but then, he probably wouldn’t notice if I went to church naked.”
“Mom, put your arm over your head. Let’s make sure you’re not having a stroke.”
“Look, Janny, I can lift them both, see? The thing I can’t do is miss my hair appointment.
“Mom, if your mouth is doing something funny, there has to be a reason. What if it’s a stroke? We need to call 911 so EMT’s can give you the shot as soon as they get there. I’m afraid for you to drive if you might be having a stroke.”
“Now you stop worrying, little Stink Pot. I’m not having a stroke. We can keep an eye on me at the hair salon. Bye, Sugar. I’m getting in the car!”
I’m getting online. A friend at the National Speakers Association Convention recently told me there are 4 letters that give you the signs of a stroke…but what are they? I need to find out…F-A-S-T.
Can you already guess? Those are the 4 letters: F-A-S-T.
I found them quickly online, but still needed one more answer. Do you need to show all of the signs, or just one? I called a Stroke Hotline (yes, from overseas) and a kind woman answered. You guessed it…she answered F-A-S-T.
“Mom, it’s me again. I called the Stroke Hotline.”
“Oh, Honey, I’m almost to the shop. I’m at a stoplight. There’s a hospital just up ahead, so don’t worry, I’ll be close by.”
“Mom…while you’re stopped, put both arms over your head, look at your face in the mirror, and repeat after me: ‘My mom is not having a damn stroke!’”
“Okay, my arms are up,” she says, and then, loudly, “My mom is not having a damn stroke!”
There’s a pause.
“Jan, I’ve waited weeks for this appointment. My mouth looks a little funny, but my hair looks awful.”
“MOM! If this is a stroke, you could be getting your hair done for free this week by morticians!”
Okay, I didn’t say this out loud, but YOU KNOW I WANTED TO.
“MOM, if you have even ONE OF THE SIGNS, it’s because the stroke is already killing brain cells. Please!”
“Please!” worked. She called back 45 minutes later.
“Jan, when I walked in, they saw my face, and it was like I was on Grey’s Anatomy. They had me in a wheelchair, dashed me down the hall and started running tests. They think it was a mild stroke, so they’re keeping me overnight.”
Just before she was released the next day, we got news that most families wouldn’t describe as “good.” Tests showed she has Bell’s Palsy, facial paralysis that can take weeks or months to wear off, unlike the effects of a stroke, which can be permanent. It wasn’t a stroke and all her brain cells are alive and well. Woo-hoo!
If you see any of these signs…don’t wait. A blood clot is already at work in the brain. Have you guessed yet, what the letters stand for?
F: Face. Ask the person to smile. Does the mouth or eye droop?
A: Arm. Ask them to raise both arms. Does one drift down? This was the only symptom of my dad’s stroke 10 years ago. Not knowing the FAST signs, he went back to bed instead of calling 911. Because of the stroke, he has intense pain in his legs, daily, which makes walking difficult.
S: Speech. Ask them to repeat a simple sentence. Is their speech unusual?
T: Time to call 911, so they can walk you through your best next steps.
The rest of the story: Mom’s face is nearly back to normal now. I’m sharing this story in hopes that you’ll share it, too. Let’s do all we can to spread the word before anyone else needs a Life Saver…FAST.
I’m pleased to let you know that Jana is going to be spending more time on keynote stages back here in the U.S. For the last several years, she has been traveling internationally, leading volun-tourism trips for her fans and friends.
She performed here in Portland last spring, and I was thrilled to not only hear her new material, but to re-experience stories I’ve heard her tell for years. The audience was very mixed in ages, heavily on the young side, and the laughter just kept ringing throughout the room. That’s staying power!
Jana is a one of the best fits available for meeting planners who want a humorous, upbeat motivational keynote that sends people home feeling energized, inspired, and glad they attended the event. Reflecting her background as a television news reporter, songwriter, humorist and entertainer, Jana’s Keynote Concerts are multi-dimensional. She combines laughter, wisdom, and her million-selling songs with unexpected stories from her travels – like this one! – into an interactive experience that generates positive action from the new possibilities that she shares with her audiences.
Jana also teaches one-hour and half-day life-skills workshops in conjunction with her Keynote Concerts. Attendees have earned CEUs for her workshops and keynotes in the fields of:
- Long Term Care
- Health Care
To bring her inspiring – and sometimes surprising but always healing – stories and songs into your motivational keynote program, call me at (503) 669-5031 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope your new year is off to a good start. While the holiday decor and lights are festive and fun, it always feels good to me to get it all put away. Being in a new place this year, I had to re-think where to put certain decorations, and once more I found I have too much stuff. Time to let go of it (save the memories) and let someone else enjoy my old friends in a new place.
So, with the holiday decorations tucked back into their plastic bins, what’s left at my house are a couple of slightly bedraggled poinsettias, a quarter of a pecan pie, and the last pieces of a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table — the third puzzle we did over this holiday. Oh, and three-quarters of a fruitcake that my husband is carefully saving so he can share it with his daughter and granddaughter when they arrive from Prague later this month.
That’s the new beginning we’re excited about this new year! After spending 5 months with us last spring, my granddaughter Emma (right) decided she wants to finish her junior and senior high school years here in America — so they are moving to Lake Oswego. We are beyond thrilled to have them here — and finally, we’ll get to reclaim the garage after they reclaim the stuff we stored for them, and anything they want that doesn’t fit in this house. They might even inherit some Christmas decorations.
Onward and upward, Happy New Year!
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
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