Mycle Brandy is walking across the United States to raise funds for stroke research and raise awareness of the role of exercise in stroke prevention and recovery. On July 30, he walked into Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
People are amazed that Brandy is walking at all – as is Brandy, himself – after suffering four strokes in 1988.
“I’m visiting hospitals to encourage stroke survivors,” Brandy said. “I know very well their daily struggle to just get out of bed. I tell them that with determination they can walk again. I know from personal experience.”
Brandy, who is a volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA), said that he’s also trying to reinforce the message that people should learn the symptoms of stroke and go to the hospital as soon as any of those symptoms appear.
“There are wonderful drugs available now to treat stroke that weren’t available when I had mine,” he said.
While at Barnes-Jewish, Brandy toured 104ICU, the neuro/neurosurgery intensive care unit, and neuro nursing units 10500, 11400 and 11500. He greeted the nurses on those floors, telling them how much he appreciated their work in caring for stroke patients. He sat for a video interview, reinforcing the message that people should know the signs of stroke, should get to a hospital as soon as those signs occur and should maintain an active lifestyle to try to avoid stroke.
And he visited with patients who had just suffered strokes and were wondering what their lives would be like from now on. Brandy reassured them and encouraged them to maintain a positive attitude and be as active as possible.
Brandy also met with stroke survivors Darnell Marshall of Edwardsville, IL, and Patti Garavaglia of south St. Louis County. Both Marshall and Garvaglia, who had strokes earlier this year, were treated at Barnes-Jewish with the clot-busting drug tPA, and were able to walk out of the hospital within days.
Garavaglia seconded Brandy’s message about seeking immediate treatment for stroke. She said she was reluctant to go to the hospital after her speech became garbled, but her daughter convinced her to call 911.
“When the paramedics tried to take me to a different hospital, I insisted that they take me to Barnes-Jewish,” Garavaglia said. “They made me sign a release, but I knew I’d get the best care at Barnes.”
Marshall was in the middle of a treatment at a kidney dialysis center in Maryville, IL, in April when the right side of his body went numb. He was rushed by ambulance to the Barnes-Jewish emergency department where doctors administered tPA. Within an hour, his stroke symptoms had almost totally subsided.
“I’m just glad the nurses at dialysis called 911 right away,” he said.
The day after his Barnes-Jewish visit, Brandy hit the road again. His walk is scheduled to continue until October, when he is scheduled to walk up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, with about 200 AHA representatives, fellow stroke survivors and friends who have supported him along his walk.
For more information on stroke care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, go to http://www.barnesjewish.org/neurosciences/stroke-treatment-rehabilitation
For more information on Mycle’s walk, go to http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Stories-of-Hope_UCM_001809_Article.jsp