Mary Coyne, 75, was in the middle of her regular weights workout when she noticed—but didn’t feel—her water bottle slip from her left hand, crashing to the floor. She had always been quite active, working out three times a week to stay fit and healthy. So, when the water bottle just fell out of her hand, she was perplexed.
“I didn’t feel a thing,” the Plainview, NY, resident said. “It hit the floor with a big noise and I was pretty embarrassed. But I figured I must have just bumped it into something. I picked the bottle up to move to the next machine and it just fell out of my hand again. I couldn’t understand what was happening.”
At that moment, one of the trainers at the gym noticed that Mary was having difficulties, and came over to ask Mary if she was feeling all right.
“I, of course, said I was fine,” Mary recalled. “But she said I didn’t seem so well and looked like I was staggering a bit. I decided I would just go home.”
After escorting Mary to the locker room, the trainer called the gym manager in to check on her. The manager immediately noticed that the side of Mary’s face was drooping, suggesting that she was having a stroke. Mary said she was scared, but grateful that Syosset Hospital was so close by. The gym staff immediately called an ambulance to take her to the emergency department (ED).
After an initial examination and CT scan, the ED staff told Mary that she was experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke, a less common, and sometimes fatal, type of stroke that occurs when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain.
“They told me they needed to just wait and see whether the bleeding continued,” she said. “Luckily, when they did a second CT scan, the bleeding had stopped so I didn’t need surgery. But the damage had been done. The doctor asked me at one point to raise my left arm. I willed my left arm to lift but when I looked over, it was just sitting there, lying under the blanket. It was very, very frightening.”