Heart and Stroke Month: Blyth's Stadelmann recounts brush with TIA in '21
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
On Nov. 3, 2021, Blyth’s John Stadelmann suffered a mini-stroke (formally known as a transient ischaemic attack, or TIA) and, much to his surprise, he soon found out that it wasn’t the first.
Avid darters, John and his wife Sheron settled into their evening routine that night to enjoy a happy hour drink and five games of darts on their home board together. John went to retrieve his darts from the board and then record his score, but the first sign that something was wrong was when he had trouble making sense of the numbers and calculating his score for the round.
He eventually figured things out and returned to the board, but none of his three darts hit the board on his next turn. Sheron asked John if he was alright and he said he was, but, after Sheron told him to stop fooling around, John’s speech began to slur and Sheron grew concerned.
She then thought to call their daughter, Rhonda Ryan, who asked to speak with her father. She concurred that something was going wrong and they called an ambulance to the house, which John says was one of the most important things they did in response to the health incident he was experiencing. If they had waited any longer or taken an alternative route to care, he said, there’s no telling what could have happened.
The responding paramedics took John’s blood pressure and then hooked him up to an IV before loading him into the ambulance destined for Goderich.
Once John was on the way to Alexandra Marine and General Hospital in Goderich, Sheron said she broke down and cried - worried for what the future held for him.
All along the trip, John said the paramedics, whom he says were amazing, kept talking to him, engaging him in conversation and keeping him talking and paying attention until they arrived at the hospital.
Once in Goderich, John spoke with one the doctors and then was subject to a number of tests. He had improved, so, from then, John didn’t actually spend much more time in the hospital. He and Sheron figure John began exhibiting symptoms of suffering a stroke at about 5:30 p.m. that night and he was on his way home at 10:30 p.m. that same night.
However, there was follow-up and John was sent to Stratford to meet with the stroke team there and that was when he underwent a number of tests, like a CT scan, an EKG and more. The CT scan yielded some interesting results. The doctor told John that he had had “several” TIAs before this one.
He asked John if he had any memory of them and John said he didn’t and the doctor said he wasn’t surprised, telling John that, very often, TIAs happen when someone is sleeping and go undetected by the conscious mind.
From there, he wore a heart monitor for two weeks and followed up with his doctor. The only precaution that was taken during this time was that John was to refrain from driving over the course of the month. However, when all was said and done, the doctors didn’t find a reason to be concerned about the potential for further TIAs.
He returned to taking Aspirin daily, a practice he had been doing for many years before stopping a few years before the incident, which is something he can’t help but feel is connected, and has been told he’s quite healthy and should live his life as he had been before November of 2021. This, he said, is a testament to his relatively healthy life. He said they always eat a healthy breakfast and watch what they eat, so he was happy to hear that he was, already, doing much of the right things already for his road to recovery.
John and Sheron will mark their 52nd wedding anniversary on March 4 and they have since returned to their robust travel schedule. John says they have always liked to travel and do so as frequently as they can, though the COVID-19 pandemic put a bit of a kink in those plans. In fact, they were soon set to head to Cuba, a destination they’ve visited over 30 times now and to which they are always happy to return.
If anything, John’s brush with a stroke has encouraged the couple to travel more frequently, so, as the world has returned to its pre-pandemic sensibilities, they have made every effort to do just that.