It was just another typical June day in Tucson for Victor. As he had done for many years, the 62-year-old landscaper met his coworkers at the usual carpool spot, loaded onto the bus and drove to a work site. Everything seemed routine. When the bus arrived at the work site, the passengers stepped off one by one. Then it was Victor’s turn. It was a small step, but one that would change his life forever.
When Victor he stepped off the bus and his left foot reached for the ground, his body collapsed. Described by his co-workers as a strong, healthy man, Victor nevertheless fell hard to the ground. The entire left side of his body stopped functioning. His coworkers quickly came to his aid.
Rather than call 911, they rushed Victor to his house. Fortunately his son, Victor, Jr., recognized the symptoms—slurred speech, blurred vision. He knew his dad was suffering a stroke. Knowing time was everything, Victor, Jr., drove his father to Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital.
The stroke care team saw Victor immediately. Francisco Valdivia, MD, a neurologist at Carondelet St. Mary’s, was on site and administered the clot-stopping drug, tPA, or Tissue Plasminogen Activator. This drug can dissolve blood clots and is most effective if given within a few hours after symptoms begin. Fortunately, Victor is expected to make a full recovery.
Victor describes his care at St. Mary’s as wonderful. “This is a team. Muy bien. A great team. Excellente.” His son was equally impressed by the staff’s mission to heal. “The whole team was great and well educated. It was natural and made us feel comfortable as soon as we arrived in the lobby, through emergency and rehab.”
Victor says he may consider retiring now. He’ll miss the work and his friends on the job but he’ll get to spend more time with his wife at home.