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Share Your Story: Bertina Patterson

by Anne S. on Friday, August 23, 2013

Bertina Patterson Indianapolis, IN

It was the day that changed my life. I worked as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital. While in the middle of passing the daily medications, I had a severe headache and started dropping items. I went to the head nurse and told her what was happening. She noticed that I had slurred speech. Immediately, I was sent to the emergency room.

While there, the doctors performed numerous tests. The doctors informed me and my two daughters that I was not experiencing a stroke, however, I would have to stay overnight in the observation area for further testing. I laughed and joked with my daughters for a while before going to bed.

The next morning when I woke, I started preparing to leave the hospital. After leaving the bathroom, I felt a pop in my head and went blank. The next thing I knew, I could not walk or talk, nor use my left hand. Doctors determined that my carotid artery clogged on the left side of my neck, which caused a massive stroke. I could not for the life of me understand why or what happened.

After spending four days in the hospital, I was transferred to a rehabilitation center for follow up care. While there, I learned how to talk and walk with some limitations.

During my stay, I suffered a heart attack while one of the nurses was in the middle of taking care of me. I had to be revived by CPR and an AED. Again, I was sent back to the ER. The doctors noticed a blood clot in one of the main arteries. The plan was to place a stent in the artery the very next day.

That day would have been too late. Later in the evening, I suffered back-to-back heart attacks. I was rushed into surgery to remove the clot. In addition, the doctors put in a pacemaker and defibrillator.

Thinking I was on the mend, the doctors sent me back to rehab to continue my follow up care.

One the eve before leaving the rehab hospital, during the family caregiver training, I experienced another setback. Due to the high volume of blood thinners I was prescribed, I started losing large amounts of blood. Back to the ER I went, where I was given several blood transfusions.

Finally, I was able to complete rehab. Since the stroke, I had one hip and both knees replaced. Every month, because of the medication I am on, I have a blood test to determine if my blood is getting too thick. If so, I could potentially have another stroke.

I am no longer able to work or drive. However, I have been able to enjoy life since my stroke. I survived and was there to watch my grandson come into this world.

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Comments (2)

  • Thank your for story and being an advocate for AHA/ASA.

    — Nathan T.

  • Thank you for sharing your story with us, Bertina, and for being such a great advocate for the American Heart/American Stroke Association!

    — Wendy K.

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