Before his stroke, my dad was strong as an ox. And now he is again.
On Friday, November 21, Placido Silva, 79, woke up early and did what he does every day—made coffee for himself and his wife, Molly. A few minutes later, when Molly came out to get her cup, she noticed that Placido hadn’t touched his coffee.
“He looked a little off,” says Molly. “I asked him what was wrong. He couldn’t move his right arm and his speech was slurred. I asked him what his name was and he just looked at me funny.”
She knew right away that he was having a stroke and called 911. At that point Placido insisted he was fine and didn’t need an ambulance. But Molly persisted and when the EMT’s arrived, she was allowed to ride in the ambulance with Placido to help keep him calm.
When the Silvas arrived at their local hospital in east Michigan, they discovered that Placido had indeed suffered a stroke. The first call they made was to their daughter, Tish Eaton-Mall, who works at the Bronson Neuroscience Center in Kalamazoo. Tish jumped in her car and made the 150 mile drive to be with her dad.
Even with all of her knowledge about the effects of stroke, Tish was shocked to see her dad so weak.
“He’s as strong as an ox,” she says. “It was really scary to see him unable to walk and slurring his words. I knew we needed to get him the best treatment possible. And, I knew that Bronson was absolutely the best place for him to be.”
After talking to her dad’s care team, and realizing that he missed the six-hour window to get the clot blusting drug, TPA, that would reduce his symptoms, arrangements were made to transfer Placido to Bronson Methodist Hospital. Here he could receive more specialized treatment from Dr. Dean Kindler, neurologist, and Dr. Jeffery Fletcher, neurointensivist, and the team in Bronson’s Neurovascular Unit (NVU).
“I knew that he needed the more specialized care that he would get at Bronson,” says Tish. “I was happy that he was so close to me during his treatment and that I was nearby to help with his recovery.”
Due to the stroke, Placido was not able to walk or eat. The right side of his face was drooping and his right arm was weak. After evaluating Placido’s CAT scan, Bronson’s neuro team determined that surgical intervention to remove the blockage would be too risky due the location in the brain where the stroke occurred. So, a medical treatment and recovery plan was put in place.
Placido spent four days in the NVU working to recover his lost abilities and regain his strength. He began daily physical therapy and speech therapy to help him start walking, talking and eating again. When his condition was stabilized, he was transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids for two more weeks of specialized inpatient rehabilitation where he continued to make progress.
Then it was back to Kalamazoo where he and Molly stayed with their daughter while Placido received outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy at Bronson for four more weeks.
“My husband’s speech therapist, Heather, and his physical therapist, Kathy, were great,” enthused Molly. “They were so patient with him and made the therapy go a lot easier. We couldn’t have done it without them!”
Now Placido is back to doing what he loves—woodworking. He has his strength back and is walking great. His speech continues to improve as well.
“I know that a lot of people take years to recover from a stroke,” says Placido. “But thanks to Bronson, I’m back to my old self after just six months! You have to keep working. You have to keep moving. I’m grateful that I can do everything that I used to be able to do.”
Daughter Tish says, “I’m so proud of my dad for how he’s come through this challenge. And, I’m so proud of the exceptional care delivered by the Bronson neurosciences team. They treated my family like it was their own. I’ll be forever grateful.”
To learn more about Placido’s story and stroke care at Bronson, visit bronsonpositivity.com/stroke.