From heartbreak to healing: Durenda’s stroke survival story
July 14, 2022, started off as a normal day for Durenda Clover. She was on summer break from her job as an elementary school teacher and spending time with her daughter who was visiting. She was scheduled to go to Detroit with her daughter the next day and then to Chicago to celebrate her birthday. “We had a really fun, busy day. I went to bed and took a sleeping aid, like I had every night. I woke up after midnight and realized that I couldn’t move my right side or speak. I was rolling over in the bed to my husband with my left side, trying to get his attention.”
Thankfully, Durenda’s husband woke up and quickly realized something was wrong. He then woke their daughter, who came to her parent’s room to see what was going on. She took one look at Durenda and said, “Dad, call 911. She’s having a stroke.”
Life-saving care close to home
Durenda was rushed to Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, where she was met in the emergency department by the stroke team that jumped into action and diagnosed that she had suffered from a major stroke. A blood clot had traveled to the left side of her brain. Durenda needed an emergent brain-saving procedure called a thrombectomy to remove the blood clot that was causing the stroke. Memorial is the only hospital in South Mississippi with a physician capable of performing this emergent procedure.
After a short stay in the ICU, she was admitted to Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital within Memorial Hospital for 10 days. Once she was discharged, she had three days of rehab therapy each week at Community Rehab in Gulfport. By the first part of October, Durenda was back at work teaching second grade.
She knows that timing and quick access to lifesaving care helped her see another day. “It could have gone wrong in so many ways and it didn’t in any of those ways. It was miraculous because it could have gone really badly.” Durenda didn’t have any risk factors. “It was unusual that something like that would happen to someone without any risk factors.”
Women often ignore signs of stroke
According to the American Heart Association, women make up nearly 60 percent of all stroke deaths. Although Durenda’s symptoms of numbness on one side of her body, facial droop, and the inability to talk or walk were telltale signs of stroke, women can sometimes experience more vague symptoms, including general weakness, fatigue, or confusion.
Durenda is grateful for her neurologist, Dr. Lee Voulters, and other members of her care team who acted quickly. She says, “From the minute we got to the emergency room, through all of it, the level of care was unbelievable.”
Thankfully, she can do everything she did prior to the stroke, and she is able to live a healthy, active life.
Do you know the signs of stroke?
Remember to BE FAST:
Balance – Sudden loss
Eyes – Sudden loss of vision
Time to call 911