Surviving a Serious Stroke

“I suddenly felt like a ragdoll and started to collapse,” recalls Patricia McAlister, who was at home in Stoney Creek when a spell of weakness hit her in August 2017. “Luckily my grandson was there and he caught me before I hit the ground.”

Patricia was transported by ambulance to Hamilton General Hospital, where an MRI revealed a blood clot in her brain. She had suffered a serious stroke.

The clot was too deep for surgery, so Patricia was prescribed a number of medications that succeeded in clearing the blockage. Unfortunately, the journey was far from over.

Worsening symptoms

A couple of hours after the MRI, Patricia began to feel numbness down the right side of her body.

“It was as though that side no longer belonged to me,” she explains. “I kept losing strength until I couldn’t use my right leg or arm.”

“I was extremely focused on getting better because I wanted to be home with my family and watch my great-grandchildren grow up.”

Patricia lost the ability to walk and required the use of a wheelchair. She also found it difficult to perform daily tasks, such as feeding herself and brushing her teeth.

Determined to recover

After three days at The General, Patricia was transferred to the Regional Rehabilitation Centre, where she began an intensive program of physiotherapy.

“The therapists were fantastic,” she says. “I spent a lot of time on the parallel bars in the gym, and soon I was able to get around with a cane. I also did a lot of exercises to strengthen my right arm and hand.”

Patricia McAlister poses for a photo with her daughter Leanne and husband David

Patricia McAlister (centre) with her daughter Leanne and husband David

Patricia was determined to keep a positive mindset and stay motivated during rehabilitation.

“I was extremely focused on getting better because I wanted to be home with my family and watch my great-grandchildren grow up,” she says.

Home for the holidays

Patricia was discharged from the Regional Rehabilitation Centre after six weeks and she was finally able to return home. Her physiotherapy continued at The General for 16 weeks on an outpatient basis. The long journey of recovery continues for Patricia and her condition improves with each passing day.

“Now I can walk on my own, and it’s nice to be active again. I’d like to thank the amazing teams at The General and the Regional Rehabilitation Centre for making an enormous difference in my life.”


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