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Stroke: On-the-job training helps woman save her husband

Troy Keister and Jayme Yeoman-Keister, husband and wife, pose for a photo. Jayme recently helped save her husband’s life by recognizing stroke symptoms and taking immediate action.

When Troy Keister woke up sweating profusely, confused and slurring his speech out of the blue one morning, Jayme Yeoman-Keister knew she needed to call 911 immediately. She believed he had had a stroke, and credits working at Geisinger Encompass Health for her ability to recognize those symptoms, among others. That recognitions saved her husband’s life. “At about 7:30 in the morning when my husband and I woke up, I went downstairs to start coffee. He’s usually right behind me,” Yeoman-Keister said. “I see a text message that says, ‘Come here.’ I knew something must have been wrong.” When Yeoman-Keister went upstairs to check on her husband, she found him lying in bed. He was sweating, unable to move his legs and was experiencing confusion and slurred speech. “I knew it was something serious,” said Yeoman-Keister. She briefly left the room to find their four kids, so they could try to get help. By the time she got back, her husband’s symptoms had worsened. “I got back to the bathroom, he was laying down, soaked, skin very pale, and he was still getting sick.

At that point I called 911, and explained the symptoms. In 10 to 15 minutes they were at the house,” said Yeoman-Keister. At this time, Keister was transported to Geisinger. “The nurse and I had a conversation. …We looked at each other and we were like, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s a stroke.’ We both knew what it was,” said Yeoman-Keister. Keister was given a CT scan, where the doctors and nurses found a bleed on his brain, confirming that he had a stroke. “They found a bleed on both sides, a bilateral stroke of cerebellum. They were going to administer a drug to stop the bleeding. Thankfully, they didn’t, because the blood was old — the stroke actually happened the day before,” said Yeoman-Keister. Although the stroke had occurred the day before, he didn’t have any symptoms until that morning. “They made every right call possible. They were amazing. …How they treated him was phenomenal,” she said. Keister was taken to the ICU and had a number of tests run. They found what they believe to be the source of the bleed, a patent foramen ovale (PFO) — a hole in his heart. “He was in the ICU for about three days, then still on the same floor for a couple of days. He then went to inpatient rehab with Encompass,” said Yeoman-Keister.

Keister was in rehab for one week. During his time there, he made significant progress. “(He was) unable to walk, unable to stand. He couldn’t do anything. Through the therapies, and everything the team did, within a week he was able to walk off, ringing the bell as a signification of all of the progress he made there,” said Yeoman-Keister. Keister is doing much better, but is still battling certain post-stroke symptoms, such as migraines, Yeoman-Keister said. They will soon move forward with heart surgery to close the PFO. “I feel that had it not been for the training, the patients I’ve treated at Encompass, I don’t know if I would have known the symptoms of a stroke. That’s what made me call 911. It was obvious that it was more than just a migraine,” said Yeoman-Keister. She hopes that through sharing their personal experience, it can prepare others in the event of a stroke. “Had I not worked at the company, I wouldn’t have known what to look for, so what he had was incredibly rare. It could have easily been misdiagnosed at home. I hope this helps people, it can happen to anybody. We never saw it coming,” said Yeoman-Keister. “The support from friends and employers has been amazing. Situation wise, I feel really fortunate that this is the end result,” she added.

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