Main content

    Patient Stories
    Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital

    Ann - Life after Stroke

    Ann -
    Ann - Life after Stroke

    Ann and her husband were ecstatic; they had just brought their third daughter home from the hospital after a smooth delivery and were beginning to introduce her to the family.  They had no idea that their lives were about to dramatically change. 

    The second day home from the hospital after giving birth Ann was not feeling well. She had an excruciating headache and went to bed early.  "I woke up with a panic around 5 a.m.," Ann said, "I couldn’t move the whole right side of my body."

    Ann’s husband called 9-1-1 and they raced her to the closest emergency room.  There they performed a CT scan and discovered she had a bleed on the left side of her brain. Ann was having a stroke.  She was immediately transferred to Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento where they have an extensive stroke program in place.  There she was tended to by a team of neurologists, including Richard Atkinson, M.D. and neurosurgeon Edie Zusman, M.D.

    The physicians never did discover what truly caused Ann’s stroke. Instead of performing surgery to try and stop the bleeding, which can oftentimes cause more harm than good, Dr. Atkinson and Dr. Zusman decided the best course of treatment was to watch the bleed, allowing it time to clot by itself. This course of action spared Ann the brain trauma that surgery can cause.  The physician’s course of treatment proved effective. Ann’s brain stopped bleeding and she began to regain consciousness.

    "Dr. Atkinson and Dr. Zusman were fabulous," Ann said. "I truly believe that because of their knowledge and expertise I am alive and functioning today."

    When she woke up, Ann had no idea what had happened to her.  Since the bleed occurred in the left parietal lobe which controls motor movement on the right side of the body, memory and processing, Ann was unable to move the right side of her body and had a hard time remembering even the smallest details.

    Ann was at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento for 10 days and was then transferred to Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, where at the time they had a stroke rehab program in place.  She stayed in Auburn for 45 days for rehabilitation.

    "The rehabilitation was exhausting, especially the speech therapy, which physically wore me out and was very frustrating," said Ann.
    Ann’s recovery was remarkable – even her doctors were astonished.  In a relatively short period of time she was able to show vast improvement.  She slowly regained use of her right side and eventually regained more of her memory and processing.

    "I remember the first movement on my right side was the use of my hand," Ann said. "I really wanted to touch my baby, so I had them place her next to me in bed and I began using my right hand to pat her."
    After about a month and a half in rehabilitation in Auburn, Ann was able to go home.  She was still in a wheelchair and had memory issues but with the help of Rehab Without Walls she was able to relearn how to do the everyday tasks she did so easily before the stroke.

    Now almost four years later, Ann is flourishing in her everyday life.  Besides a small ankle brace she wears on her right leg, you would never know the ordeal she went through just a few short years ago. 
    "My life now has taken some adjustment," she said.  "One day I eventually want to run, ride a bike, drive regularly, wear heels and most of all return to work as a nurse.  But I am so grateful for the progress I have been able to make so far and the wonderful support system that I have had throughout this journey.  Having a stroke and recovering has been life changing for me and my family which is why I really want to share my story with people who are going through the same thing so that they won’t give up hope and know that recovery can happen."


    Back to top | More Patient Stories