“I was officiating college football, I was running under an eight-minute mile and then one day at three in the morning, I had a stroke. And literally in that hour window, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk, I had absolutely no idea what my recovery was going to be.”
On March 21, 2017, Jim woke up in the middle of the night and was so dizzy he couldn’t stand. He managed to crawl back to his bed, and, instinctively, thrust his arms into the air. His right arm fell off the side.
“My wife got up to see. She said, ‘What do you think is happening?’ And I told her, I said, ‘I think I’m having a stroke.’”
Jim was right. Paramedics arrived at his home and carried him on a stretcher. He recalls hearing that he was in “critical” condition.
“And I grabbed the guy’s hand, and I said, ‘Take me to UC Health,’” he said. “Having familiarity with medicine, I knew that any other hospital they took me to for a stroke would not be a critical care center.”
Jim’s care was now in the hands of the experts with the University of Cincinnati Comprehensive Stroke Center, an international leader in the research and treatment of stroke.
His care team determined he was suffering a massive stroke. His odds of surviving were low—even lower if he were taken into surgery. But with the expert care and treatment UC Health provided, Jim survived.
Science, hope and Jim’s determination lifted him through the months of recovery that followed.
“You have a lot of questions, your wife has a lot of questions, your family has a lot of questions,” Jim said. “And the UC Health team of doctors did a really good job explaining to me what my recovery was going to look like.”
Though it was a long and difficult journey, today Jim is doing remarkably well. He has returned to seeing patients in his dental practice, and life looks more and more like it did before his stroke two years ago.
The UC Comprehensive Stroke Center cares for more stroke patients in the region than any other center and is certified by the Joint Commission to treat the most complex cases. Leading the way in stroke research, physicians in this center paved the way for the FDA approval of tPA, an intravenous stroke treatment, now considered the gold standard of care for ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot.