How A Headache Changed Lives -A Story About A Stroke

This incredible family almost lost their young mother.  Thanks to caregivers treating her like family, she is not only enjoying her loved ones today, Debi is sharing her story and inspiring others to give to neurowellness and stroke awareness

The morning of November 18, 2015 began like most others for Debi.  She prepared her family for work and school and then left for her own job.  Shortly after, she remembers “an explosion in her head” and the worst headache she had ever experienced in her life.  A co-worker rushed Debi to Mercy Gilbert Medical Center’s Emergency Department.  The ER was extremely busy that day, but Debi was promptly seen by Wilma Eagan , nurse practitioner.  Wilma recalls her first impression of Debi, sitting there looking so healthy and beautiful.  “I had to remind myself that appearances can be deceiving, and that I had to be cautious not allow that to cloud my perspective.”

Dr. Steve Torres, ER physician ordered a CT scan which revealed a life-threatening  subarachnoid hemorrhage.  He recalls an emotional conversation with Debi where he sought to strike the delicate balance of explaining to a patient the severity of her condition without instilling panic and fear.  With her husband at her side, Debi’s thoughts went immediately to her children whom she wanted to see at that desperate moment.  Since time was of the essence, arrangements were made to transport Debi to Barrow’s Neurological Institute via helicopter instead of ambulance.  The ensuing four hour surgery was a success and Debi was no longer in danger.

Debi feels a miracle took place that day, especially with the initial efforts of  Wilma Eagan and Dr. Torres in the ER.  “Wilma Eagan and Dr. Torres will always be a part of my family because they took care of me when I was at the weakest, weakest moments of my life, and they brought me back up and got me on my feet.  I will always, always do whatever I need to give back to them.”

Please join the Florence Family in celebrating humankindness and quality healthcare by supporting the neurowellness and stroke programs at Dignity Health in the southeast valley.

Author: Aaron Fritz

Joined Rotary in 1999. Past President of the Highlands Ranch Rotary Club, Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Castle Pines, Past President of the Rotary eClub of Arizona, Past Assistant Governor for District 5490 and current Assistant Governor for District 5495. Multiple Paul Harris Fellow (3 currently). 2nd Generation Rotarian.

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