Lincoln woman watches herself having stroke live on Zoom call

Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 4:38 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Lincoln woman watched herself suffer a stroke live on a zoom call just a few weeks ago and nobody noticed what was happening. Now she’s sharing her story, hoping it will help keep others safe.

Ann Tillery has been an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association for years, she was on a Zoom conference call with Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s office sharing her story when in a split second her entire life was changed.

“I was sharing my caregiving story about my mother having Alzheimer’s, and it felt as though I was starting to get emotional even though I’ve told this story hundreds of times,” Tillery said. “Then my speech started to slur, I could see on my screen that my face was drooping.”

Tillery said she knew exactly what was happening but nobody else in the meeting could tell.

“So I wrapped up my ask as quickly as possible, probably ended it quite abruptly,” Tillery said. “Once that was done it was time to take a picture and that was a photo captured while I was actively having a stroke. Then I called 911.”

That was May 18.

Tillery was taken by ambulance to Bryan West hospital where she was admitted to the ICU for a few days before transferring to in-patient rehab to start her recovery.

“I had no use of my left side,” Tillery said. “Starting with chewing, I couldn’t swallow, all of the muscles down to this arm which was just dead and my leg which was dead weight.”

She said her therapists, who got her up and moving right away, are the reason she’s been able to be back on her feet, gaining independence every day.

“It’s amazing to see the recovery she’s had in such a short amount of time,” Stacey Bostwick, Tillery’s occupational therapist said.

In fact, Tillery set a goal when she started her recovery; to make it to the Cattleman’s Ball in Columbus two weeks from her stroke.

“I felt silly even asking, but I got there,” Tillery told 10/11 NOW.

The reason why Tillery says she’s made such a strong recovery is she was able to see what was happening and acted fast.

“Time is tissue, and that means brain tissue,” Dr. Quinn Willet, hospitalist for Bryan Health said. “The sooner you get to us the sooner we can fix it, the sooner you can see specialists and start recovering.”

That’s why Tillery is sharing her story.

“In this new world of virtual meetings, we need to look out for one another,” Tillery said. “We need to make sure we are safe.”

The key symptoms of a stroke are face drooping, arm weakness and speech problems. If you experience these symptoms you must call 911 immediately.

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