Patients Talk Up Stroke Awareness Month

(Honesdale, May 3, 2022)… Larry Resti, 69, never paid much attention to risk factors for stroke until he had one in February, 2020.  In fact, in addition to being a heavy smoker with high blood pressure, he admits he had “white coat syndrome”—fear of doctors. Not anymore. Now, he thanks doctors and other healthcare providers, particularly those at Wayne Memorial Hospital, for saving his life and, just as importantly, restoring his hope.

“I’ve learned a lot,” says Resti who now attends a monthly Stroke Support group at the Wayne Memorial-Good Shepherd Inpatient Rehabilitation Center. “Thank God for these people.”

Resti was rushed to Wayne Memorial Hospital, a Certified Primary Stroke Center, when he began experiencing some of the classic signs of a stroke, including a sudden inability to use utensils while eating.  Knowing those signs is vital, because every minute counts in saving brain tissue. Many professionals use the FAST acronym: Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, Time to call 911.

Stroke is one of the top five causes of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of disability. During May, National Stroke Awareness Month, Wayne Memorial and other healthcare providers emphasize education and prevention measures. Controlling risk factors, talking to a medical professional about your risks, focusing on a healthy lifestyle—these can all greatly reduce an individual’s potential for stroke.

At Wayne Memorial, a Stroke Alert Team is available 24/7. The Emergency Department also has round-the-clock access to a board-certified neurologist via tele-health and can administer the only FDA-approved drug for ischemic stroke, tPA (tissue plasminogen activator). This clot-busting medicine that can be very effective if given as prescribed.

Resti says “it’s been a journey.”  He had the stroke just six months after retiring from New York to Wayne County. It was a jolt! But comprehensive medical care, rehab therapists, his wife Jane and others have helped him to be positive. “I’m very lucky to have these people in my life,” he says.

Support Group Facilitator Janene DuBois notes that the support group is often a lifeline for stroke survivors back into the world. “It offers support, respect, compassion, and laughter,” she said. “We’re like a family.”

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Photo: Stroke survivor Larry Resti  in the Wayne  Memorial-Good Shepherd dining room, Honesdale