Sudden Silence: Jeff Butler Gets Expert Help After a Stroke

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It started out as an ordinary January day in Jeff Butler’s income tax office in Clayton, Georgia. Then he tried to share a simple story with his wife.

“I couldn’t find the words,” he recalled. Butler’s wife called his doctor, who urged them to get to the hospital immediately. When Butler reached the Angel Medical Center emergency department in Franklin, North Carolina, staff confirmed what his physician had suspected.

“My nurse looked at me and said, ‘You’ve had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a mini-stroke, and you’re at risk for a more serious stroke in the next hour or even day,’” Butler recalled.

Butler, just one week away from his 70th birthday, was whisked away for a series of tests and then, even though his symptoms had passed, was admitted for 24 hours of intensive monitoring.

He quickly learned that a TIA is a life-changing event — and that he was in the right place for advanced care. Angel Medical Center is an accredited Acute Stroke Ready Hospital, and the nurse who arrived in his room to educate him about his new “normal” was Amanda Pack, RN, a stroke certified registered nurse (SCRN).

“Just because these symptoms resolved does not mean your condition was minor or this wasn’t a big deal,” Pack told him.

Pack described how TIAs occur when a clot or a narrowed artery temporarily blocks blood flow to part of the brain — and noted that having one TIA put him at greater risk for additional TIAs or a full-blown stroke. “She drew easy-to-understand diagrams to help my wife and I understand,” Butler said, and outlined preventive steps he could take. “Amanda had been well-trained to do her job.”

He credits the care and education he received at Angel Medical Center with helping him make diet, exercise and medication changes designed to prevent a more serious stroke.

“I have the utmost respect for the team members at Angel Medical Center and Mission Health for the service they provided to me that day,” said Butler. “I’m forever grateful.”

Do You Know the BE FAST Test for Stroke?

  • Balance: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • Eyes: Is there sudden blurred or double vision or sudden, persistent vision trouble?
  • Face: Is one side of the person’s face drooping?
  • Arm: Does one arm drift downward when both arms are raised?
  • Speech: Is the patient’s speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 911.

Amanda Pack, RN, is a stroke certified registered nurse at Angel Medical Center. To learn more about stroke services at Mission Health, visit mission-health.org/stroke.

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for seven years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.