The morning started out like any other. Wally Shaffer’s alarm went off at 5 a.m. The 52-year-old Fond du Lac resident started preparing for work. But “things weren’t working right,” Wally recalls. “I couldn’t get my feet to do what I wanted to do and I couldn’t hit my mouth with my toothbrush.”
Wally, a mechanic at a local construction company, headed to work anyway. Halfway there, something told him to head home. Wally didn’t know it at the time, but he was having a stroke.
A stroke, or brain attack, occurs when something disrupts blood flow to the brain. Sometimes, a blood vessel bursts. Other times, a clot stops blood flow. Because blood cannot bring fresh oxygen to the affected part of the brain, brain cells begin to die.
Luckily, Wally lives just blocks from a primary stroke center, a center of medical expertise that follows recommended national guidelines to provide top-notch care to patients who suffer a stroke.
St. Agnes Hospital was accredited as a primary stroke center in 2009, and Agnesian HealthCare’s doctors and nurses sprang into action as soon as Wally arrived in the emergency department.
Thanks to the determination and care of Agnesian HealthCare nurses, doctors and therapists – and hours of hard work on his part – Wally walked out of the hospital just 13 days after he arrived.
“They were, shall we say, relentless with therapy. They work you hard, but thank God they do,” Wally says.
Through the St. Agnes Hospital Center for Physical Rehab, Wally went through intense therapy to regain his independence. Physical therapy helped him walk again, occupational therapy helped him with his bathing, dressing and regaining strength in his left arm, and speech therapy helped Wally with his speech intelligibility and swallowing.
For more information, call the Center for Physical Rehab at (920) 926-4237.