HealthBeat: Surviving a stroke


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — May is stroke awareness month, and while the month has passed it’s important to be aware of the symptoms all year round.

On October 1st of 2019, Harry Meendering began experiencing nausea along with an ear infection.
About a week later, his health took a serious downward turn.

“Then October 9, went to work and we worked most of the day. We sat down in the afternoon about 3 o’clock for a coffee break. That’s the last thing I remember for about four days,” Harry said.

Without warning, Harry had a seizure. Shortly after, the Iowa native was airlifted to Avera Health in Sioux Falls.

“When I got there, he was on the big examining table, you know, doctors all around. And they were evaluating and assessing everything,” Dolores said.

“We already had some suspicion that there was some, this wasn’t your typical seizure. There was actually a little bit of bleeding in the brain and it was in kind of an atypical location,” Linn said.

Harry had multiple blood clots in the large veins in his brain, which Dr. Alex Linn with Avera Health says triggered the seizure. Linn performed several successful neuroendovascular procedures, and by October 17th Harry was headed home.

“To get to that point, after dealing with something so serious, he’s a super lucky guy. And we’re very happy for him because it could have been very different,” Linn said.

With the pandemic in mind, Harry and Dee hope people won’t wait to seek help if they experience any symptoms of a stroke.

“You don’t want to get sick, but when you have symptoms, it’s important that they take care of them,” Harry said.

“And it’s so easy to protect yourself at now, you know, wear the mask, even hand gloves, if you need to,” Dolores said.

Linn says while he understands the fear around COVID-19, serious warning signs shouldn’t be ignored.

“If you have sudden onset changes in your vision or your vision blacks out, or you have a sudden onset headache, worst headache of your life or weakness on one side of the body, or you can’t speak or understand speech, and you know, those are signs of stroke,” Linn said.

To learn about what symptoms to watch for with strokes, click here.

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