Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Lincoln woman on road to recovery after noticing stroke symptoms on a Zoom call
0 Comments
editor's pick alert top story

Lincoln woman on road to recovery after noticing stroke symptoms on a Zoom call

  • Updated
  • 0
Stroke Survivor, 6.10

Lincoln resident Ann Tillery (center) poses with Bryan West Campus speech therapist Alyssa Cook (left) and occupational therapist Stacey Postwick on Thursday. Tillery noticed the symptoms of a stroke while on a Zoom video call last month.

During the onslaught of Zoom meetings in pandemic times, Ann Tillery was used to worrying mostly about technology cooperating.

But when the Lincoln woman suffered a stroke on camera during a virtual meeting in May, the technology was in some small way a lifesaver.

Tillery suffered a stroke while on a Zoom call with members of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s office advocating for the Alzheimer's Association on May 18.

“The technology was working fine, but then, in just a split second, my world changed,” she said Thursday.

It all happened so fast, Tillery said. She saw the left side of her face begin to droop in her screen on Zoom; her speech began to slur and her left arm felt heavy.

All of the classic signs of a stroke were there, Tillery explained, but no one else on the call was able to realize what was happening.

Tillery was at the University of Nebraska Foundation office, but alone in a conference room and not near anyone who could hear if she called for help.

She grabbed her phone and tried to stand, but fell to the floor.

She called 911 and gave as much information as quickly as she could. A dispatcher contacted the receptionist at the foundation’s front desk, and Tillery was rushed to a hospital.

“I knew I had a very limited time to act if I was going to have the best chance of recovery,” she said. “Luckily I did have my cellphone.”

Stroke Survivor, 6.10

Lincoln resident Ann Tillery, a University of Nebraska Foundation employee and ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association, talks about watching herself suffer a stroke on Zoom.

Tillery made it to Bryan West Campus in about 25 minutes, which helped minimize the damage she faced. A popular phrase in the medical community is "time equals brain tissue," said Quinn Willet, a hospitalist with Bryan Health. The faster a stroke victim reaches the hospital, the better their recovery outcome is likely to be.

Tillery’s stroke was hemorrhagic, meaning a blood vessel had ruptured in her brain, causing spontaneous bleeding.

Lincoln blood bank declares blood emergency, urges donations

Immediately following the stroke, Tillery had virtually no control of the left side of her body. She couldn’t chew on the left side of her mouth, and her left arm and leg felt heavy.

“It didn't feel numb; it was just like heavy, dead weight,” she said.

After a multi-day stay in the intensive care unit, Tillery spent 11 days in inpatient care working with occupational, physical and speech therapists.

When asked what her goal was when beginning therapy, Tillery, an NU Foundation employee and ambassador for the Alzheimer's Association, said she wanted to attend this year’s Cattlemen's Ball in her hometown of Columbus.

Stroke Survivor, 6.10

Lincoln resident Ann Tillery (right) hugs Bryan West speech therapist Alyssa Cook as occupational therapist Stacey Postwick looks on Thursday.

Tillery said she wasn’t sure if the goal was even feasible, since it was just 2½ weeks out from her stroke. But last weekend, she was there.

Lincoln native takes on 166-mile, 6-day race to benefit MS cause

“She just had so much motivation to get home and get to the Cattlemen’s Ball,” said her speech language pathologist, Alyssa Cook.

Tillery hopes her story can help raise awareness and knowledge of the signs of a stroke, which are summed up in the acronym FAST.

* Facial droop.

* Arm droop or uneven arm strength.

* Slurred speech.

* Time. (Getting to the hospital as fast as possible.)

However, Willet said symptoms may vary and some can be hard to spot.

Lincoln's new FitLot for outdoor circuit training offers free classes

Tilley said she feels Zoom is here to stay in at least some form, so she hopes people will look out for others in the digital space the same way they would while face-to-face.

“Let’s keep an eye out for one another," she said.

Reach the writer at lstephens@journalstar.com or 402-473-7241.

0 Comments
0
0
0
0
0

Build your health & fitness knowledge

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

News intern

Luna Stephens is a journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who is originally from Lawrence, Kansas and is passionate about the transformative power of journalism.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News

Husker News