Chuck’s Story: Unbelievable Pain Leads to Fast Stroke

Chuck Elliott was getting ready to leave home for a Friday evening fish fry in March when he experienced “unbelievable pain” at the back of his head.

“It was like a tremendous cramp,” Elliott said of the pain that began while he was cleaning up in his bathroom. He tried different ways to relieve the pain including sitting in various living room chairs. Nothing worked. “I told Betty, ‘I think I need some help,’” he recalled.

With that, the couple drove to the emergency department at Upper Valley Medical Center, near their Troy home. “The lady at the Emergency Room desk was so efficient,” said Betty Elliott. “She called back for a chair for Chuck. They came back and whisked him away.” The Elliotts felt fortunate that the ER was not busy.

Chuck remembers sweating profusely and had double vision to go along with the intense pain. Thankfully, he had not fallen or incurred a severe blow to the head. A CAT scan was ordered, and Chuck underwent stroke screening by staff.

“Dr. April Anderson was there with me. She is dynamite,” Chuck Elliott said of the UVMC emergency department medical director. Anderson told the couple that Chuck had suffered a brain bleed, or a stroke. She explained he would be taken by ambulance to Miami Valley Hospital, where a neurologist would be waiting.

The pain continued during the ride to Dayton. Three men in the medical transport eased Chuck’s anxiety with their conversation as they monitored him and prepared him for what to expect. “They said, ‘They are waiting for you,” Chuck said. They were.

Once the ambulance arrived, “They were running down hallways, busting doors, and there they were, waiting for me. When they are really nice to you, you know you are in trouble,” he said.

Chuck avoided surgery when the bleeding stopped on its own. He underwent more testing and stayed at Miami Valley Hospital until Monday under the care of neurologists Nivedita Mankotia, MD, and Ahmed Fathy, MD. Chuck had a follow-up appointment with neurosurgeon Gnan Thakore, MD, and is back into a routine. He walks a bit more cautiously but has resumed golfing and is preparing to ride his bicycle again.

The Elliotts commended the care that they received. “My fear was for my health, but I felt completely at ease. They knew what they were doing. You could tell,” Chuck said. Betty said she was impressed by the professionalism and UVMC’s Primary Stroke Care status approved by the Joint Commission.

“The message I got was, ‘You are in good hands here,’” she said. 

 

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