Think F.A.S.T., act fast
A stroke will strike suddenly and affect around one New Zealander every hour. The damage caused by a stroke will move through the brain quickly and can affect someone’s ability to think, walk, talk, eat, see, read, and do many other things. Knowing the signs of a stroke and acting fast will result in a greater chance of recovery, as Mate discovered last October.
Mate was coming to the end of his shift as a Log Load Operator in Bluff, when he noticed an unusual tingling sensation in his right foot. As the tingle spread, Mate realised that this was something serious and quickly headed home.
Mate was concerned about how his partner would react and didn’t want to worry her. Mate explained, “when she saw that something was wrong, we dropped everything and went straight to the hospital. She was great. There was no debating about what we should do or waiting to see if my symptoms worsened.”
On the way to the hospital, Mate looked at himself in the sun visor and noticed that his mouth had started to droop, confirming his thoughts that he may be having a stroke. “Seeing my face like that, I knew we had made the right decision to act quickly,” Mate recalled.
Four weeks before Mate experienced his stroke, he took a first aid course at work where he was taught the F.A.S.T. acronym. He learnt the signs of a stroke and what to do if someone was experiencing a stroke. Knowing the signs can save lives, which is why we continue to share this important message with Kiwis across the country.
When Mate arrived at A&E, he immediately received treatment for his stroke. Mate was in hospital for three nights, and over this time he noticed that he was quickly regaining his strength. His speech returned after a few hours and there was good movement in his hands within a few days. Mate owes his speedy recovery to recognising the signs of a stroke and seeking urgent medical help. Had he not reacted so quickly, the effects could have been much worse, impacting not only him, but also his family.
Soon after Mate returned home, he was introduced to Kristin, one of the Stroke Foundation’s Community Stroke Advisors (CSAs), to help him throughout recovery. “Kristin checks in on me regularly, she’s been a great support,” Mate told us.
Anyone who has a stroke can get support from our CSA service. CSAs provide vital information and assistance, set recovery goals with stroke survivors, and help to build knowledge to minimise the risk of further strokes. CSAs provide support at an incredibly critical time when a stroke survivor first returns home.
Mate explained, “Kristin is someone who I can talk to who really understands what happened to me. She has given me advice about physio appointments and services that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. She helps me to understand more about stroke and makes sure that my recovery is going well.”
Kristin has helped Mate adapt to a healthier lifestyle too. “Before my stroke, I wasn’t really aware of how high blood pressure and high cholesterol could have such an impact. This episode was a wake-up call for me. You often take your health for granted, but you need to look after yourself.” Kristin has helped Mate to better understand how a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference.
WHEN MY PARTNER SAW THAT SOMETHING WAS WRONG, WE DROPPED EVERYTHING AND WENT STRAIGHT TO THE HOSPITAL. SHE WAS GREAT. THERE WAS NO DEBATING ABOUT WHAT WE SHOULD DO OR WAITING TO SEE IF MY SYMPTOMS WORSENED.
“I’ve certainly been more conscious about the things I eat since having my stroke,” Mate explained.
Mate is incredibly appreciative of the help that he has received through the Stroke Foundation. “Knowing that Kristin is there whenever I need her is a great support to me,” Mate told us.
Your ongoing support means that our CSAs are available across the country, helping over 5,500 stroke survivors each year through their recovery. Your generosity will also allow us to continue to raise vital awareness messages like F.A.S.T., helping to improve the outcomes of those affected by stroke.