5:30 a.m. David Wegener made his first cup of coffee. Then strange things started happening. He dropped his cup on his desk. He tried to send a text, but couldn’t quite hit the letters. He told his wife he might need to go to the doctor, but it never occurred to him he might be having a stroke.
He went on to his tile shop to get his crew ready for the day. With a little numbness and weakness in his right hand, he decided to go to the Ascension Providence Rochester ER.
His initial neurological exam didn’t indicate a stroke. But a CT scan did in fact show a blocked artery to his brain. The ER immediately sent the scan to neurosurgeon Richard Fessler, M.D., FAANS, FACS. Using specialized software, Dr. Fessler could determine the right treatment for the stroke within two minutes.
Life-saving treatment. David was transferred immediately to Ascension St. John Hospital, a Comprehensive Stroke Center and a Level 1 Trauma Center, where Dr. Fessler had a team waiting. David went straight into a minimally invasive stroke procedure that saved his life.
Ascension Michigan specializes in acute stroke care, with the busiest stroke care system in Michigan and the only system in the state using the advanced imaging software.
“Timing is critical in treating stroke and I could see Mr. Wegener didn’t yet have permanent damage,” said Dr. Fessler. “We were able to dissolve a potentially disabling blood clot by injecting medication into his artery. He got better while he was still on the table.”
Care with compassion. “The entire team that cared for me was wonderful,” said David, “from the people who transferred me to the nurses who answered all my questions. They really listened to me.”
David went home in a few days with none of the typical aftereffects of stroke. The week after, reality sank in.
“I realized I could’ve died,” he said. “I dodged a bullet.”
With his own business and three daughters in college, David acknowledges he has a lot to live for. And he’s committed to putting his health first. His new priorities: losing weight, increasing physical activity and reducing stress.
“The changes I’ve needed to make in my life, I used to put them in pencil,” he said. “Now they’re in ink.”
Check in for any Ascension emergency room at GetAscensionMichiganCare.com.
Remember: If you’re having a serious emergency, get to the nearest emergency room or call 9-1-1.