Marcellus (WSYR-TV) - May marks Stroke Awareness Month and a chance for people who are at risk to get checked out. Scott Penny suffered a stroke in 2010, an event he says transformed his life.
“I was trying to get my wool socks off and I realized I couldn’t remove my socks and at that point I realized I was losing control of my left arm,” Penny said.
Struggling to get the words out to tell his family something was wrong, his wife immediately recognized the most common signs of a stroke and called 911. Those signs, according to stroke.org include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
The paralysis lasted only 20 minutes and Penny escaped serious permanent damage thanks to his wife’s quick thinking.
“The more we deprive the brain of oxygen, the more brain cells die,” said Crouse Stroke Program Coordinator, Shelly Clark. “The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner we stop that process and reverse the number of brain cells that die and therefore reduce the amount of disability.”
After months of follow-ups, Penny learned that a genetic condition helped contribute to his stroke.
Along with medication, he’s now doing all he can to reduce other risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol and he’s given up a lifelong habit.
"The moment I was sitting on the couch in paralysis I became an ex-smoker. I’ve stopped heavy drinking, just trying to eat correct,” Penny said.
Two years later, Penny is a successful independent contractor who’s working hard to continue doing what he loves.
Crouse Hospital will host two events this month to help in recognizing, treating and preventing strokes.
The first is a seminar on May 8 at the Beauchamp Library on South Salina Street at 6 p.m. On May 19, a heart and stroke screening will also be held at the library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.