When you own your own business and work non-traditional hours, sometimes you are afforded the luxury of an afternoon nap. Early September 2019, 47-year-old Rodney Lie had some time between clients and decided to take a rest. As he was laying there, he realized he was starting to feel dizzy. He sat up and immediately fell off the bed. Thankfully, his phone fell with him, because he couldn’t move the entire left side of his body.
Rodney knew he was in trouble and needed help. He pushed the power button five times on his iPhone – a quick and easy way to call 911. He recalls the EMTs arriving and feeling relieved. They called his wife, Jennifer. From there, he was taken to Parker Adventist Hospital.
“I vaguely remember being there and people talking to me,” he recalled. “They told me I had had a stroke and they were giving me medicine.” Rodney was administered alteplase (tPA), which is a medication used to break up blood clots and improve blood flow to the brain within 14 minutes, which at the time was a record for Parker Adventist. “They were ready for me when I got there. The stroke alert team they put together was amazing.”
After talking with Rodney and Jennifer, the care team decided to fly Rodney by helicopter to St. Anthony Hospital; they felt Rodney needed additional care and that St. Anthony Hospital would be the best place for him to receive it. From the time Rodney had his stroke to the time he was discharged back to home was only 52 hours total. “Everyone at both locations was just fantastic,” Rodney said of his care.
Rodney has nearly fully recovered. He has some minor physical issues on his left side that “no one else would even notice” and he also gets fatigued more quickly than he used to. “It’s not a physical tired,” he explained, “it’s a mental tired.”
One would never know Rodney gets tired. Aside from running his business, he has also joined the Rocky Mountain Stroke Center Board of Directors. “Once I was on the other side of my stroke, I realized how little people know about stroke. That’s what propelled me to get more involved,” he said.
“I started out going to the Rocky Mountain Stroke Center for support groups. As I met more people and got more involved, I felt like there was a real calling there,” Rodney said. “I come to the table with the voice of a survivor. There are so many experts on the Board – physicians, stroke coordinators, nurses. They are all amazing people who care about stroke. I feel honored to be among them, and I hope I bring a unique perspective to the group from outside of the medical world.”
Rodney certainly has a good outlook on life. “If I see my stroke as a complete negative, I will live in fear,” he explained. “But if I say, ‘This is what happened to me – what can I take from it, how can I learn from it and what can I do to give back to others’ then not only am I a much happier person, but others are benefitting from my experience, too.”