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Durham Regional Hospital Health Spot: Stroke Awareness Month

May 10, 2012

Durham, NC- On January 21, 2012, Robert Baynard of Rougemont laid down for an afternoon nap. When he awoke to take his dog out for his usual evening walk, he started staggering and had trouble getting up and down. Robert went to sleep that night feeling strange, but thinking it wasn’t anything serious.

The next morning, Robert was still feeling strange and by the time he and his wife decided it was time to seek medical attention, he had trouble even getting in the car. They went to the Emergency Department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, where they learned Robert had suffered a stroke.

Robert’s MRI revealed three separate spots on his brain, meaning he may have suffered three separate strokes. His left side was paralyzed. “After the stroke, all I could do is lie around and try to get my mind right,” said Robert. As a retired minister with Sharon Baptist Church, “I told myself I can conquer this.”

After multiple two-hour therapy sessions, Robert could eventually sit up, and then was able to use a wheelchair. Eventually he was able to walk with a walker. Through comprehensive rehabilitation at Durham Regional Hospital’s Durham Rehabilitation Institute and advanced physical therapy at Roxboro Nursing and Health Center, Robert is making excellent progress. Robert is currently working to advance to using a Hemi walker, a smaller walker that will give him more mobility and independence. “My physicians have told me that other people who suffered multiple strokes like mine usually never walk again,” said Robert.

“Many people ask me how painful it was during the stroke,” says Robert. “There was no pain during; it’s the afterwards that causes so much pain. It’s awful.”

May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke warning signs include the sudden onset of:

  • numbness or weakness of the face or limbs
  • confusion or trouble speaking
  • dizziness or loss of balance
  • trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • difficulty walking
  • sudden severe headache

If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911.

Durham Regional Hospital offers a stroke support group to educate stroke survivors, caregivers and people in the community about stroke prevention and stroke disabilities. To register, click here. For more information on stroke, click here.