SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While stroke awareness month was in May, a local doctor says there is never a bad time to discuss the risks.
It’s been a little less than a month since James Painter suffered a stroke.
The Jackson, Minnesota man was transported to Sanford Health in Sioux Falls where he started in-patient rehab.
“When I got here I could barely talk, and I couldn’t swallow,” Painter said.
Now, thanks to multiple therapies at in-patient rehab, Painter is on the road to recovery.
“Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and I’ve been doing some therapeutic recreation, but speech therapy is working with me on my swallowing and my voice,” Painter said.
“He’s making a great recovery. And as you can see, I think with his interview that he’s got the right attitude and is improving and getting stronger every day and getting better with swallowing,” Dr. Peter Johnson said.
Dr. Peter Johnson says one of the keys to a good recovery is by acting fast.
“With proper intervention and early intervention, you have better outcomes. And… so the sooner you come in, the earlier you put out the fire and the less damage there is to the brain,” Johnson said.
And he says early intervention starts with recognizing the symptoms.
“One study showed that only 60% of Americans actually knew what stroke symptoms were. And so there’s a lot of education that we still need to do,” Johnson said.
This is why he wants everyone to be familiar with the FAST acronym, which stands for face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call 911.
“I can’t stress how important it is for people to recognize stroke symptoms and not delay care and get in as soon as possible,” Johnson said.
And by getting in quick, recoveries like Painter’s could be possible.
“I got a long road ahead, but I tell you what. It feels good to be where I’m at,” Bainter said.
Johnson adds that Sanford’s in-patient rehab is enforcing various precautions throughout the pandemic to ensure patient safety.