Stroke survivor cautions it can happen to anyone

Stroke survivor cautions it can happen to anyone

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Every 40 seconds, one person in the U.S will experience a stroke affecting almost 800,000 people a year. Doctors urge it can happen to anyone at any age. 

For Les Biffle, it was just another normal day in February when he realized something did not feel right while working out.

"It didn't feel like I was sick or anything, it just felt like I was weird," Biffle said.

He continued on with his day, heading to the grocery store. That is when something as simple as paying the cashier soon became a challenge. 

"Eventually I managed to figure it out and I just think they thought  I was being, just not feeling my best, cause they just let me go home," Biffle said.

Biffle was experiencing speech difficulty, one of several symptoms of a stroke.

"I was finally able to recall I think a few phone numbers and maybe our address because my wife made me recall some things," Biffle said. "She thought something was wrong with me too."

His wife did not quite know what was causing it. It was not until the next day, as he was still struggling with his speech, Biffle went to the ER. 

"They thought I might of had meningitis and eventually did a spinal tap on me looking for that and they finally were able to find what it was and a I guess start treating," Biffle said.

Neurology Resident at Covenant Medical Center, Juliana Gomez said when they realized he did not have an infection, they were able to locate the stroke on the left side of his brain which controls the memory and language. 

"When I first saw him he was not able to follow any commands for me, only able to say yes or no," Gomez said.

Within 24 hours of being hospitalized, Biffle began the recovery process working with a speech, physical, and occupational therapist. 

"Even the second day when I saw him he was doing such a significant progress, able to talk to read for me," Gomez said.

Since then, he has continued rehab, working to get both physically and mentally stronger. 

"This has been a hard thing for me," Biffle said. "I've always been very verbal, and I was better and I'm trying to get back to that." 

Despite waiting to go to the ER after his stroke, Gomez said he is lucky he is making significant progress. She said recognizing the symptoms is crucial. 

"If you can recognize them, you can immediately go to the hospital and after doing certain scans, checking for certain exclusion criteria, if you're a candidate, you can receive the medication right away," Gomez said. "Then your chances of improving are much higher if you don't receive this medication." 

Some major warning signs are balance lost, eyes blurred, face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or anyone around you are experiencing any of these. 

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