Pamela Newby

Stroke victim works to restore mobility with The Rehabilitation Center

Chronic headaches weren't unusual for Pamela Newby, a long-time migraine sufferer. So when she woke up with a headache one morning, she never imagined it might be an early warning sign of an impending stroke.

The 48-year-old graphic artist was getting ready to go shopping with her daughter when suddenly, she was unable to move her left side and couldn't speak to call for help. Newby began banging on the wall with her right hand to get her daughter's attention.

"She came in and said, ‘Mama, I think you've had a stroke - I'm calling 911,'" Newby recalls. "The ambulance was here in 10 minutes and they confirmed that I'd had a stroke. And they told me Southern Regional was the best place to go."

Timely treatment is key

When Newby arrived at Southern Regional's Advanced Primary Stroke Center, a skilled team of neurologists were waiting for her, ready to take action and give her the attention she needed to insure the least amount of damage occurred.

"When a stroke happens, time lost is brain lost," said Dr. Ernesto Fernandez, the neurologist who treated Newby. "We have a very effective treatment for certain kinds of strokes, but the treatment must be given within three hours of the onset of symptoms."

Newby proved to be an excellent candidate for this treatment, which can dissolve blood clots that block blood vessels - one of the causes of stroke. She was given the medication within 40 minutes of her first identifiable symptoms and less than two hours later, Newby could talk again.

Recovering with Rehab

After six days, Newby was transferred to The Rehabilitation Center at Southern Regional. At this point, Newby was in a wheelchair and still had upper-body weakness on the left side and had trouble getting dressed by herself.

"Our goal was to restore her ability to help herself and more easily make the transition back home," said Dr. D. Terrence Foster, medical director at The Rehabilitation Center.

Newby participated in daily physical, occupational and speech therapy. Soon, she began walking with a walker and just 10 days later, was able to walk with a cane and began to take care of her own personal needs.

Following three weeks of inpatient rehabilitation, Newby returned home and began outpatient physical therapy. Newby has since made significant progress and has returned to work and is able to perform her normal activities.