By Treena Mielke
July 9 started out like any other summer day for Tim and Kathy Bain, but in a few short hours, it became apparent the course of events that day would change their lives in a way neither of them ever imagined.
The couple was preparing to retire for the night when the unthinkable happened.
Tim, 52, who ran a home computer business, suffered a stroke that immediately paralyzed his right side and caused his speech to become garbled and unintelligible.
“And there was no warning,” said his wife, Kathy. “Nothing.”
Mrs. Bain said the stroke caused her husband to collapse and though he could talk, she couldn’t understand what he was saying.”
“It was very frightening. Our German Shepherd is still recovering,” she added with a laugh.
Mr. Bain was taken to Red Deer Hospital by ambulance and then transferred to the University of Alberta Hospital where it was determined his stroke was caused by high blood pressure and stress.
Mrs. Bain said only 20 per cent of strokes are caused by these symptoms. The majority are caused by blood clots.
However, her husband had experienced a great deal of stress in the last few months. Their adult son had suffered a brain injury after an accidental 35-foot fall, her husband’s father had suffered a heart attack, and an aunt had died, leaving Tim the executor of her will.
All this stress had, no doubt, left its mark on her husband, though Mrs. Bain said their family doctor had told him his blood pressure wasn’t high enough to warrant medication.
She said a specialist has told her since then anyone whose blood pressure is higher than 140/90 should be on medication.
Mr. Bain was at the University Hospital for about a week and then transferred to Ponoka General where he spent another week before being moved to the Halvar Jonson Centre for Brain Injury in Ponoka.
Being moved to the Halvar Jonson Centre was a godsend, said Mrs. Bain.
“I can’t say enough about the centre. His progress has been phenomenal, the nursing care and the rehab is amazing.”
She explained that her husband had been using a lift to get in and out of bed and was not able to transfer his own weight before entering the centre.
“Now he walks using a quad cane. His rehabilitation includes physical, occupational, speech, recreation and education. It’s wonderful. Our goal, of course, is to have him use nothing.”
Since Aug. 23, Mr. Bain has been able to come home in the evening and undergoes rehabilitation only during the day.
The stroke gave the couple cause to re-examine their lifestyle, and decide to make some changes, said Mrs. Bain.
The Bains, who have three adult children and four grandchildren, are also foster parents, looking after two foster children, whom Bain said “are like their own.”
And they have made a conscious effort to smell the flowers every day.
“As much as we love other people, you do have to take time for yourself,” Mrs. Bain said.
“The outpouring of love and support from the community of Ponoka has been overwhelming. We are very proud to live in Ponoka, I’m sure we’ll never think about moving.”
Tim Bain, in a short interview, echoed his wife’s sentiments.
“Everyone has been phenomenal. God has given me a real wake up call. And tomorrow’s another day.”
Donations in support of the family can be made at Tantec Electronics, 5027 51 Avenue.
STROKE WARNING SIGNS
A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It is caused by the interruption of flow of blood to the brain (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). The interruption of blood flow or the rupture of blood vessels causes brain cells (neurons) in the affected area to die. The effects of a stroke depend on where the brain was injured, as well as how much damage occurred.
A stroke can affect any number of areas including your ability to move, see, remember, speak, reason and read and write. Stroke is a medical emergency. If a person is diagnosed with a stroke caused by a blood clot, doctors can administer a clot-busting drug available only at a hospital, and only within a few crucial hours after symptoms begin.
That’s why it is very important to be able to recognize the five warning signs of stroke and immediately call 9-1-1.
The five signs
Weakness – Sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, even if temporary.
Trouble speaking – Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary.
Vision problems – Sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary.
Headache – Sudden severe and unusual headache.
Dizziness – Sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the other signs.