Edward Mayer - Retired Architect and Interior Designer
After thrashing around in my bed like I was having bad dreams most of the night, I had a stroke at 4 a.m. in the morning on Good Friday, April 18, 2014. I don’t normally wake up that early, but when I did that night, the first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t feel my right arm. It was like my arm was missing. Half asleep, I felt around and was able to find my left arm, which still had feeling. Then, I tried to speak but couldn’t find my voice. I formed sentences in my head but would just mumble words together when I tried to speak. It was like I knew what I wanted to say but couldn’t get the words out. At that point, I knew what it was with that type of speech coming out of my mouth. My 50-year-old son Greg, one of my identical twin children, could tell something was wrong. I put my clothes on and we went to the closest hospital.
Luckily Dr. Sheryl Strasser, a neurologist with Sunrise Medical Group (SMG) on-staff at the hospital, recognized my symptoms and told my family she knew that I needed to be brought to a center with the latest diagnostic and therapeutic advances that also offered a wide range of interventional options that had the potential to stop a stroke in progress and minimize potential damage it would cause to my brain. Dr. Strasser referred me to the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Florida Medical Center, a Campus of North Shore located in Lauderdale Lakes. The Comprehensive Stroke Center is prepared 24/7 to rapidly and accurately diagnose and treat stroke patients.
At Florida Medical Center (FMC) Dr. Nils Mueller-Kronast, an interventional neurologist with Tenet Florida Physician Services (TFPS) was able to save my life with virtually no surgery involved. Through an artery in my leg, Dr. Mueller used the Solitaire Pipeline Embolization Device to enter my brain and retrieve a blood clot that had caused the stroke in my brain. The procedure saved my life. The amazing thing was that there was virtually no surgery involved. I came out of that procedure without a scratch. In fact, during a checkup by a cardiologist a few days later, the hospital staff discovered I had carotid artery disease and that I needed a new pacemaker in my heart. I had the pacemaker put in the next day, just a few days after I was cleared from the stroke.
I feel lucky that Dr. Mueller is equipped with and uses some of the latest technology to help in the stroke diagnosis process. As a lead stroke doctor at a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Dr. Mueller has the technology and the expertise in interventional neurology and endovascular surgery to remove clots or blockages from blood vessels in the neck or brain, which are some of the most complex stroke cases.
Looking back at my stroke, I didn’t have all the symptoms but I did have a few warning signs. I stopped smoking 30-years ago. About a week before my stroke, I noticed during my weekly walks in an area mall I do to stay fit, I was having a hard time breathing and had angina. Then, I couldn’t get to the mall entrance without stopping to catch my breath. Normally, I had an easy time walking the mall and to my car. Over the course of the next week, I wasn’t eating well. I thought I had the flu. The night before the stroke, I ate a good supper and spoke to my son Greg about car racing and boxing. My favorite fighter is Manny Pacquiáo, he’s a real fighter just like me! We also love car racing and had a great conversation. Then, I went to bed.
I have done a lot in my life of 82 years, and I won’t let a stroke keep me from doing more. Up until seven-years ago, I was a college professor, but after heart surgery I retired at age 75. As an architect and designer, I designed the first mall in America in Concord, California. I was always a fighter, ever since I was put in Japanese Concentration Camps at age four when the Japanese invaded the Indonesian island I’m from in the South Pacific Ocean.
I know after my stroke there was going to be a lifestyle change but I can’t wait to get back to playing my lap steel guitar and my bass guitar. During my career with the Army, in my free time, I played right along with the best of them including Charlie Christian and Benny Goodman. Over time I became no. 1 in the world for steel guitar. I wrote the steel guitar theme played at the beginning of the SpongeBob SquarePants TV Show and also a few Hawaiian Travel Channel programs. Thanks to the care I received from Dr. Mueller my face or arm didn’t get paralyzed. Today, I feel healthy and back to what I enjoy most – playing lap steel guitar tunes.