Surviving a Stroke | A One in Three Million Chance

Kristian is a 30-year-old male, who suffered an extremely rare, catastrophic stroke, at the end of February this year, only one month after his birthday. He was diagnosed with a malignant left cerebellar infarct, and a hydrocephalus left vertebral 3 dissection, all of which had a 1:3,000,000 chance of ever occurring.

surviving a stroke
Two days after surgery, started trying to fight the nurses off. Had not regained entire conciousness.

Early Warning Signs

Kristian was showing some classic stroke symptoms at the beginning of the day, however the ones that he was displaying were not extraordinarily strong. He could not seem to focus his eyes properly and they were sometimes rolling to the back of his head, and his co-ordination was a little off so he could not exactly walk in a straight line.

He was able to still talk to you without any issues and answer any questions correctly that were directed to him. He had no headache, was not feeling dizzy, had no blurred vision, his face was not drooping, he had no weakness in his arms or legs, and he had no difficulty speaking. His wife decided to call a friend of theirs, who is a nurse, over to their apartment to see if she could make any sense of what might be occurring. Together they could not work out what was going on, so they made the decision to call an ambulance.

Is It Really Drugs Or Alcohol?

At the beginning of the day when his stroke first occurred, he was taken by ambulance to a smaller country hospital. He was treated awfully at this hospital – the staff were certain he was not physically ill and that what was occurring in his body was the result of drugs or alcohol, despite all tests for drug and alcohol use coming back negative and the staff being repeatedly told that what was occurring was not the result of drugs or alcohol. Kristian was a huge gym enthusiast; he went to the gym 5-6 days a week and had been for many months. He also never took any sort of drugs, and very rarely drank alcohol.

Slowly Losing Life

After 12 hours at the hospital, the staff eventually decided to perform a contrast CT scan to see if they could find anything occurring within Kristian’s brain. Kristian had begun to lose coordination down the left side of his body, and his eyes had begun to not focus properly. The scan lit up. Kristian was then immediately placed for transport to a different hospital that could perform emergency brain surgery. Family was told at the new hospital, that Kristian had a 5% chance of making it out of the surgery alive.

Time Spent In ICU

Somehow, Kristian made it out of the surgery alive and was placed in ICU. Family was told that if he ever woke up, he was to likely spend three months in ICU recovering. It was only a few days after the surgery that Kristian began to show signs of awareness of the world around him – he started wiggling his toes and squeezing fingers that were placed in his hands.

A couple of days later Kristian opened his eyes for the first time. He was unable to speak but was trying to communicate through hand movements. He was not remarkably successful at that but managed to write on a piece of paper that he was able to see things, he was just seeing x4.

Somehow Recovering Remarkably Quickly

He was making massive progress over the days and was completely surprising everyone with how far he had progressed in such a small amount of time. After only being awake from emergency brain surgery for 8 days, he was sitting up, eating solid food, drinking fluids, and watching Top Gear. With some help from doctors after another day or so, he was able to stand up and march on the spot.

After such wonderful progress, Kristian was moved to the High Dependency Unit where he stayed for three weeks, continuing to amaze everyone with his progress. What is even more amazing, is that originally doctors had predicted that Kristian would be staying in the ICU for 13-16 weeks, not moving on just after one week.

Independently Functioning        

After spending three weeks in the High Dependency Unit, Kristian was moved on to the rehabilitation hospital, where he has currently been for 10 weeks. During those 10 weeks, Kristian has progressed from being unable to walk and needing to be taken everywhere in a wheelchair, to being able to move independently without any help or supervision from nurses. He still struggles with using the left side of his body – predominantly his arm and hand.

He suffers with tremors and being able to hold onto things properly. The tremors however have reduced due to daily exercises, performed during rehabilitation. Since Kristian has come so far in his recovery, it has been decided that Kristian can be discharged from the hospital within a week or so. Although discharge is terribly exciting, Kristian will still need to return to the hospital daily to keep up with his rehabilitation.

Over at rehab.

Have Some Belief In Your Patients

Throughout this experience, Kristian and his wife have encountered a variety of doctors and nurses, some who took the entire situation seriously, and some who did not. Believing your patient and their family when they repeatedly say that there has been no “foul play” and nothing has occurred that could create the symptoms that your patient is displaying, needs to be followed by more doctors and nurses. If something like a stroke is caught sooner rather than later, the outcome for the patient can greatly differ.

Kristian is highly lucky that he made it through the surgery that was performed over 12 hours after presenting to hospital with symptoms that resembled a stroke. Just because your patient is younger than the typical age for a person with a stroke, does not mean that such an event cannot occur.

Financial Stress

Unfortunately, due to his stroke, Kristian has been out of work and his wife, having taken time off work to support him, has lost her job. This has created even more stress on top of what is already a highly stressful situation. The family are unsure of how long they will both be out of work – Kristian will still need to attend daily rehabilitation groups at the hospital and his wife will need to be available to drive him to them until Kristian is able to drive again.

An amazing friend of the family has created a GoFundMe to help Kristian and his wife stay on top of rent and other bills until they are able to return to work. They ask for donations to the fundraiser, as bills are still coming out and life is about to get more expensive, living back at home!

Kristian’s Stroke Recovery Fund