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Rhonda WoodRhonda Wood, who works in FMC’s Radiology Department, never thought a stroke would happen to her. That all changed on Christmas Day 2022 when she experienced sudden, unexplained numbness on her left side. She quickly picked up the phone and called her neighbor for help. Her neighbor, in turn, called 911. Rhonda was transported to Fairfield Medical Center, where it was suspected that she was experiencing a stroke. Recognizing the stroke symptoms, a stroke alert was initiated to expedite the time-sensitive work up. As part of the alert process, a telemedicine consult with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was performed. Once they decided that the symptoms were most likely the result of a stroke, Rhonda’s care team worked diligently to help her get her blood pressure down so she could be given tPA, a clot-busting drug that must be administered within a short time frame in order to be effective. “I’m so thankful they believed I had a serious problem and took the time to investigate it further,” Rhonda said. “Had it not been for the speed of everyone involved, and their concern for me, it could have ended up much, much worse.”

Over the past year, Rhonda has been working to make healthy lifestyle changes to lesson her chances of another stroke. While there are some predispositions she can’t control, such as her family history, she is in the process of cutting out nicotine and lowering her cholesterol. She encourages others to mindful of any risk factors they have for stroke, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and a history of smoking, and to pay attention to their bodies. “Know what your body normally feels like so that when something different does happen, you don’t brush it off,” Rhonda said. “I was used to arm numbness because I have pinched nerves in my neck. But when both my leg and my arm were numb at the same time, I knew something was wrong.”