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Stroke Survivor of the Month -
January / February
Larry Batchie
Elmsford, NY

It's hard to believe that someone so young, attractive and virile could succumb to a stroke, but Larry is proof positive that 'attitude' is the basic component to living a full and satisfying life regardless of being faced by the unexpected.

Larry says:

"I was 27 years old and really enjoyed my job working as a fireman. I had a girlfriend I was crazy about and my life was great. I knew I had a rare blood condition called ITP where anti-bodies in my system attack blood platelets. That was diagnosed in 1990, but the medication had it under control and I hadn't had any real problems.

It was the 4th of July, 1998 and we were having an outdoor barbecue. Suddenly I had a massive headache. I did whatever a normal person would do. I went inside, took aspirin, sat down to rest, but it wasn't getting any better. The first symptom was my lips became numb like I had just been to the dentist. I couldn't talk - I was slurring my words. There was a window between me and my guests. I could see them, but they didn't see me so I started trying to yell like crazy but nothing came out - I couldn't project. So I tried to get their attention by throwing something at the sliding glass door. They heard the sound and came inside to see what was going on. I was hysterical - I don't know why - maybe I knew something was wrong. I didn't know it was that serious but I was hysterical - crying like crazy. My ex-girlfriend came in and I was trying to tell her that it doesn't look good - I gotta go to the hospital definitely. She was about the only one there that knew I wasn't feeling good prior to that. Previously, my gums were bleeding - I thought I had a gum disease and I was getting occasional headaches, but they weren't bad enough that I thought anything about it. To tell you the truth, I forgot about it. But I guess I'd mentioned it because my girlfriend remembered. Also, the guys that I worked with remembered that I'd complained almost every day. It just didn't seem that big a deal to me. My girlfriend got my father and my uncle, who works at a hospital, to come and they knew right away. They wanted to drive me to the emergency room but I asked for the paramedics to come. I looked at my face in the mirror and that's actually when I started flipping out. I lost motor control on the left side, but it started with the lips first. Of course, with me being stubborn I tried to have a cigarette at the same time. I kept dropping them on the floor, but kept trying to get one in my mouth.

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