Recent college graduate Jennifer Heimberg, 23, spends her weekends exploring the city, watching movies and spending time with friends. Few people would guess the reason she wears a stylish headband isn’t to match her outfit, but to cover a patch of hair that was shaved prior to surgery following her stroke in March 2009. Jennifer shares her unexpected story and how the team at Northwest Community Hospital’s certified Primary Stroke Center was there for her every step of the way.
What happened leading up to your stroke?
Jennifer: On Saturday evening, March 7, I was watching television and getting ready to meet friends. Suddenly, I had the worst headache of my life. It came on instantaneously and had me curled up in seconds, sobbing in pain. It felt like I had cracked my head on cement. Then, I noticed tingling in my arms and lips and I started crying. My best friend drove me to the emergency room at NCH and I received care immediately.
What did the NCH doctors discover?
Jennifer: A CT scan found one of the blood vessels in my brain had an aneurysm, or a weak spot, which had ballooned out and leaked. This is a form of a stroke, called a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage. I was put on strict bed rest and within hours, I was going into surgery. After Dr. Shaibani and other specialists performed two surgeries, I recovered in NCH’s critical care unit. All the doctors and staff were incredibly reassuring and compassionate. Their professionalism, knowledge and devotion were a constant reassurance not only to myself, but to my family as well.
How was your recovery period?
Jennifer: After recovering in the Hospital, I was able to go home. I took medication for the next 10 days and needed minor physical therapy to strengthen my legs after lying in a hospital bed. Since then, my life is basically back to normal—nothing has changed—I still live on my own and work full time. I have recovered completely, without a single physical or cognitive deficit. The doctors have no idea why I had this stroke, but what I do know is that I’m very fortunate, and I’m extremely lucky that I went to NCH.
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Every minute counted for Josh, who was rushed to the emergency room after he fell unconscious following a headache and blurred vision. Diagnosed with a cerebral hemorrhage, something needed to be done … now. Find out how NCH’s neurointerventional team acted quickly to save Josh’s life.