Cathy Cole

Timing is everything

Local emergency care helped Cathy survive a stroke.

Every second counts when a patient is suffering from a stroke. When an artery to the brain is either blocked or bursts, a quick response is vital to prevent long-term brain damage.

Fortunately for Cathy Cole, emergency care was close by when she needed it most.

One Sunday, Cathy was working on her laptop at home when she noticed she was having a hard time typing with her right hand. Thinking her hand had fallen asleep, she reached for a glass of water and spilled it.

Cathy realized something wasn’t right. “I picked up the phone to call my daughter, Amanda, who lives nearby, but I couldn’t dial the numbers,” she says. “It was like my mind was working, but my body wasn’t responding.”

Just moments later, Cathy received a call from her other daughter, Jessica, who was boarding a plane. Cathy was able to answer the call, but could only grunt in response. Jessica immediately contacted her sister.

“Amanda got to my house and knew right away that I was having a stroke,” Cathy says. “She called the ambulance and they got me to Baylor Scott & White in Brenham.”

Cathy was given tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a medication that can help dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow to the brain. It is most effective if administered within four and a half hours of the stroke—and the sooner, the better. Quick treatment improves chances of survival and minimizes any lasting effects from the stroke.

“It all happened so fast,” Cathy says. “From the time my symptoms started to the time I had the tPA and started feeling normal again was between 45 minutes to an hour. I’m so blessed and lucky that things happened at the right time and I was able to get care so quickly. I can say without question that having the emergency room here played a major role in how well I recovered.”

Cathy was transferred to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – College Station, where she spent less than a week in recovery doing physical and occupational therapy.

As a realtor, Cathy is proud to tell clients moving to the area about the great care available to them at Baylor Scott & White. Just before her stroke, Cathy also joined the Development Advisory Board for the Baylor Scott & White Central Texas Foundation – Brenham to help raise funds for the Emergency Department renovation project.

“I think about the project from a different perspective now,” she says. “To see it as a patient, or to look at it from the point of view of our staff is completely different.”

Plans for the expansion include additional capacity to treat more patients and converted rooms to give patients more privacy. “I’m proud of our community and the people who have responded to this need. Having private rooms in the ED will lessen the stress on patients and their families,” Cathy says.

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