Picking Up Life Post-Stroke

My name is Bruce Anderson, and I work at South Dakota State University as a video producer. I've been doing this for a long time. I've worked at the university for a little over two years. I'm originally from Minnesota. I worked for 35 years for the Minnesota State colleges and universities in the same capacity as I do at the university.

What brought you to the Emergency Room? 

I received care from the Brookings Health System due to a stroke. One morning I woke up, and it was just going to be a regular day, getting ready to go to work. And all of a sudden, my life changed. I was in the kitchen. I was going to try and make myself some cereal. And my mind was okay, but my mind couldn't tell my body what to do and I was just, I was frozen. My wife came in, and she could tell there was something wrong. She asked me what my name was. The only thing I could say was, "I don't know." Anybody asked me a question it was, "I don't know." Inside I am screaming, "You are Bruce Anderson. You work at South Dakota State, you are from Minnesota, you're living in Brookings," but I couldn't tell anybody that. So, at that point Brookings Health Services kicked in, and a team of professionals. I'm here today because of the services that I received from Brookings Health System. And in addition to the Avera Health System as well, it was truly a team effort.

How were you treated on the day of your stroke?

My wife knew there was something wrong. She took me immediately to the Avera Clinic. That is where our primary care physician is. And so, we got into the urgent care there, and they obviously could tell there was something more going on than an office visit was going to take care of. And so, they immediately got us over to the Brookings Health System, which is conveniently right next door. So, it was easy to get there. We got into the emergency room. A nurse specialist or somebody there then took us into the ER where we then were greeted by a doctor, and from there it was a series of tests. A lot of other people were involved in the behind the scenes. I am sure of that, with the blood work and different test that they took. After my MRI it was determined that I had suffered a stroke. I was immediately rushed via ambulance to Sioux Falls at the Avera Stroke Center.

What do you remember about the ambulance ride to Sioux Falls? 

What I remember most about the ambulance ride was how attentive the paramedic was. Like I said earlier, I had a stroke, I am not able to communicate with anybody other than saying, "I don't know." The paramedic took the time because it's a drive down to Sioux Falls, and he was just making sure that I was alert. He didn't ignore me. He tried to have a conversation with me, telling me about the ride, and there's going to be some bumps here, we're coming to a stop. We arrived with the hospital, and here's what we're going to do next and so on and so forth. I was very impressed with that.

How was your experience with the staff?

The tears are forming. I am so grateful that Brookings Health System was in my neighborhood, and had the staff that was so compassionate in my time of need.