Two Strokes in Three Days

Karolyn Pinili smiles for a photo.

“I started to have double vision,” recalls Karolyn Pinili of Stoney Creek. “Something was definitely wrong, so I went to the Emergency Department at Hamilton General Hospital.”

An MRI revealed that the 44-year-old had suffered a stroke. She was treated with medication right away and was admitted to the stroke unit for observation.

A second stroke

Two days later, the right side of her face began to droop and feel numb. She was having a second, more severe stroke. To save her life, specialized surgery was performed to retrieve a clot in her brain.

“I lost the use of my right side and I needed to use a wheelchair,” says Karolyn. “My speech was also affected. I recovered at Hamilton General Hospital for eight weeks before being transferred to the Restorative Care Unit at St. Peter’s Hospital.”

Road to recovery

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists at St. Peter’s Hospital helped Karolyn regain strength, motor control and balance.

“The teams at Hamilton Health Sciences gave me my life back.”

“I learned how to write again. At first I couldn’t even dress myself or take a shower without help, and they taught me how to do these things on my own. The speech therapist also worked with me extensively to help improve my speaking. It felt great to get my independence back.”

Karolyn was discharged after three months of intensive therapy. She continued to recover at home, where she was able to spend more time with her family.

“The doctors and staff at St. Peter’s Hospital were amazing, and I was inspired to give back in some way,” says Karolyn. “That’s when I decided to volunteer my time.”

Giving back

Karolyn assists patients in the Restorative Care Unit twice every week. She helps people walk from their rooms to the gym and back, and she also works with a group of patients to help them regain the ability to perform everyday tasks. By assisting them with their exercises and sharing her own experiences, Karolyn aims to inspire others so they never lose hope.

“The teams at Hamilton Health Sciences gave me my life back,” she says. “Thanks to the care I received, I’m able to live my life with my amazing husband and son. That’s the best gift I could ever ask for.”