Carol is a 67 year old loving wife to Tom and the mother of three boys; Tom Jr. married to Vicki, Rob, Andy married to Vicky, and of course pet mama to her “little girl”, a miniature schnauzer named Greta. She also is a retired elementary school nurse, where she spent over 30 years serving the kids in the West St Paul School district.
In the wee hours of June 8th Carol had a stroke while sleeping at the cabin on the family property in northern Wisconsin. It was first thought she was just sleeping in late, as she sometimes does when she has night in which she spends more time up than down. In the early afternoon attempts were made to get her up, but unfortunately while she said she was all right, her husband Tom just couldn’t get her up and out of bed. 911 was called in spite of her insistence that nothing was wrong, and thankfully so.
Access to the cabin is on a very rough half mile easement road, so Rob met with the ambulance to ensure they could get Carol. In future days Carol’s recount of events consistently notes how “bumpy, bumpy, bumpy” the ambulance ride was. The ambulance service transported her to Rusk County Memorial Hospital (RCMH), which unlike the HCMC medical campus in the Twin Cities, is a small single building facility in the only municipality in Rusk County big enough to be called a city.
The ER staff was great. They stabilized Carol and took a CT scan which found no bleeding in the brain, but with limited resources they have no MRI machine, therefore they couldn’t see the stroke. At RCMH she was awake, could speak slowly but clearly, her memories were intact, and even joked a little, but she couldn’t open her eyes or move her left side. Initially it was hoped because of how alert she was, and her continued conversations and medical questions with the hospital staff about her condition (once a nurse, always a nurse), that it was only a minor stroke.
Ruck County Memorial’s recommendation was to have her transported to a hospital with a stroke team that had the resources and specialty to provide the care she needed. The options they gave were Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, or the Twin Cities.
Sacred Heart was chosen for the following reasons:
-The Sacred Heart Hospital Neuroscience Center is a Certified Primary Stroke Center with many awards and accolades for the work they do with patients who are dealing with a stroke.
-Tom Jr. and Vicki live 30 minutes from the hospital. Both Tom and Carol stay there often and even call it the T&V B&B. Using their home as a base of operation means Carol’s husband Tom doesn’t have to go home to an empty house after a long day at the hospital, and Greta won’t be left alone all day. They have 2 dogs and they get along very well with Greta.
-Carol being brought to Eau Claire means Tom Jr. and Vicki, as noted, are only 30 minutes away instead 90 minutes to the Twin Cities. Rob, Andy, and Vicky are a little over 60 minutes from Eau Claire, as opposed to two and a half hours from the cities.