Audrey Danbury knew something wasn’t right on July 19, 2016. The 28 year-old resident of Newnan, Ga., works at the University of West Georgia and noticed her vision “started going in and out.”
“I felt dizzy and my right side started feeling very strange,” Audrey said.
Unable to keep her balance, she finally stood up long enough to walk out of the office. A co-worker asked her a question, but Audrey couldn’t speak.
The university’s police department called 911 and the paramedics realized Audrey was having a stroke.
The paramedics took her to Tanner Health System in Carrollton, where pilot Chris Posey, flight nurse Cheryl Moore and flight paramedic Josh Stearns were ready and waiting.
“They flew me straight to Grady and the stroke team met me there,” Audrey said.
It was 45 minutes from the 911 call to the Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center at Grady in Atlanta.
“Everything aligned just right,” said the wife and mother of two boys. “I remember the flight nurse and paramedic talking to me during the flight. They knew that I was aware of what was going on, but that I couldn’t respond. They made me feel like I was going to be OK. To feel comforted by people I had never met was incredible.”
Cheryl remembered seeing Audrey for the first time, as the medical crew prepared to fly her to Grady.
“I thought, ‘This can’t be right; I have a child her age,’” Cheryl said. “You just never see someone that young experiencing a stroke. In this case, flying Audrey to a stroke center made the difference, and allowed her to come home and celebrate her son’s birthday.”
The first neurologist who saw Audrey post-surgery agreed.
“He said the paramedics and Air Evac saved my life because of the timing of everything,” Audrey said. “The first sign of stroke began at 10 or 10:30 a.m., and I was in my ICU room post-surgery in three to four hours. I just cannot thank everyone enough.”
What are the first signs of a stroke? The American Stroke Association wants you to be able to spot the signs F.A.S.T.
F – Facial Drooping. Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven?
A – Arm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech Difficulty. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T – Time to call 911. If someone shows any of the above symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.