Stroke: A Local Couple's Story

Your Health Matters

On a drive home from a West Virginia trip, Amber felt dizzy. By the time she and her husband arrived home, Amber had the worst headache she could ever recall. Soon after, she lost strength and sensation on her right side. “My husband and son were asking me questions, but I couldn’t put together a sentence,” says Amber.

Amber’s husband Randy, a former paramedic, knew she was having a stroke. When they arrived at Meritus Medical Center’s emergency department, the stroke team sprang into action. From vital signs and a CT scan to blood work and a teleconsult by a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center neurologist, the team made every minute count. “People were flying around,” said Randy. “I knew we had come to the right place.”

Because of the expert stroke care at Meritus Medical Center, Amber regained her speech in a few days and experienced no other post-stroke conditions.

The aha moment

As a nurse, Amber knew that her diabetes and high blood pressure played a role in her stroke. While recovering in the hospital, she met Allison, an inpatient certified diabetes educator. “She made me realize I had to own my diabetes,” says Amber. Allison suggested easy switches for foods and gave Amber a meal plan. “It’s easy to get depressed and anxious, but Allison was so encouraging,” says Amber.

For Amber, her stroke was a “what’s it going to take” moment. Today, she’s 50 pounds lighter, no longer on insulin and her blood pressure and blood sugar levels are much lower. With her medical background, she plans to help others manage chronic conditions.


Amber emphasizes that everyone should know the signs and symptoms of stroke. And she adds, “Where you go for stroke care is so important.” Meritus Medical Center recently received Primary Stroke Center redesignation from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems.

Know the common signs of stroke, think FAST (see inset) and call 9-1-1 to improve your chances of a positive outcome.