Jeffery's Stroke StoryJun 6, 2019
Jeffery Purchin had never been sick a day in his life. So when the 56-year-old swim school owner felt ill after flying home from a vacation of hiking and mountain climbing with his wife in Peru, he blamed it on the jet lag and decided to sleep it off. It worked. The next morning, Jeffery awoke feeling healthy and refreshed, so much so, in fact that he decided to go for a “light” run on the beach.
“It was a beautiful day, so I decided to go on a light five-mile run, which felt great, until I got back to my street,” Jeffery says. “All of the sudden, my entire right side went numb. I somehow made it to my front door, but then I could barely open it.”
Jeffery says he was still thinking it was the jet lag until his wife, whom lucky for him was home, noticed his face was drooping and rushed him to Sierra Vista.
With a stroke, timing is everything
“Even in the ER, I was still thinking I was just tired or maybe it was the change in altitude,” Jeffery says. “All it took was one question from Dr. Clark to make me realize the gravity of the situation. He asked me the name of my son. In my mind, I said ‘James,’ but what came out was ‘24.’”
Jeffery says it was Thomas Clark, DO, who suspected a left-brain blood clot and immediately consulted with a colleague who specializes in such clots. A few minutes later, Jeffery was being taken by helicopter to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara for brain surgery.
“With a stroke, timing is everything,” Jeffery says. “Dr. Clark’s quick thinking saved my life. He knew exactly what was going on and where I needed to go.”
Jeffery underwent a three-hour surgery to treat the blood clot in his brain. He was told that there was no guarantee the feeling in his right side would come back, but at the time, his only goal was to be able to say his son’s name again. And that’s exactly what he did a few minutes after coming out of the surgery.
“I was told I’d probably be in the hospital for three months, but I was back home in three days,” he says. “Dr. Clark said he’s still amazed at my recovery. Being in good shape definitely helped, but the timing was everything. I know people who’ve had strokes who are in wheelchairs. I feel very fortunate that Dr. Clark was in the ER that day and knew what to do.”