Stroke survivor: 'Don’t ignore symptoms during pandemic'

Stroke survivor: 'Don’t ignore symptoms during pandemic'


Author: Ryan Leckey

Published: 4:38 AM EDT May 27, 2020 Updated: 7:13 AM EDT May 27, 2020

Because of the pandemic, some people may be afraid to leave their homes and may avoid going to a doctor or hospital if they're not feeling up to par.

On Wednesday, Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey shared sharing the story of Bert Ayers.

Bert is a stroke survivor from the Clarks Summit area who told his story and shared the importance of not ignoring your symptoms, even during these trying times.

Ryan shared Bert's story from Allied Services in Scranton on Wednesday as part of Stroke Awareness Month.

Bert says Allied helped get him back on his feet to get him back to his family and job he loves, running The Red Barn Village, his family's business.

Looking at Bert now, it's hard to imagine the 60-year-old man dealt with this:

It was the temporary result of a stroke that Bert suffered more than a year ago, in March of 2019.

Bert had a small vessel brain stem stroke. It can occur from a clot or other obstruction in the blood vessels.

The American Stroke Association says this type of stroke can be tough to diagnose since it doesn't always exhibit the usual symptoms such as facial drooping or arm weakness.

"I began not to feel well," Ayers said.

At first, Bert didn't think he was actually having a stroke, but he didn't ignore his symptoms.

After all, Bert had been an EMT since the late 70s, and his experience told him not to dismiss how he felt.

After being treated at Scranton'sRegional Hospital last March following his stroke, Bert entered Allied Services in Scranton. He arrived on a stretcher and walked out 26 days later after intense speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Bert credits the "ZeroG" machine at Allied as one of the rehabilitation tools that helped him bounce back so fast.

"I'll call it contraption," Ayers said.

The ZeroG is quite the contraption. It's a high tech body weight support system that helps people learn to walk all over again. A piece of technology that came to Allied thanks to so many of you and your donations years ago to WNEP'sTeam Allied Services campaign.

It's something the husband and father of three is grateful he had as part of his journey to get better.

As Bert continues outpatient therapy to try to get back to 100%, he has this message during National Stroke Awareness Month that comes at a time when many worry about catching the coronavirus.

"People are afraid to go to the E.R. right now. And that's a mistake. Get an EMT or paramedic, get them to your home, let them assess you, and then you can make the decision together. I know people that have ignored symptoms recently because they're concerned about the virus and going to the hospital. And that's a very dangerous move," Ayers said.

When the pandemic hit, some of Bert's outpatient appointments were put on hold,, but he said he did his "physical therapy" homework, so he didn't lose much range emotion.

To learn about more warning signs surrounding stroke, head here!