Patient stories: One hour at a time

One hour at a time
“She was having a stroke”

The day after Thanksgiving 2008, Dougherty, a 49-year-old librarian’s assistant from Milwaukie, woke around 5 a.m. to let out her aging dachshund, Freeway. In the darkened bedroom she groped under the covers with her left hand, feeling her way to the furry lump. She led Freeway to the door, then crawled back into bed. Minutes later Freeway returned through the dog door and whined for Tami to pick him up.

“He’s diabetic and blind, but he knows how to get back into our bedroom and snuggle back in with Mama,” says Pad Dougherty, a cement contractor and Tami’s husband of 25 years.

Tami leaned over to grab Freeway and fell on the floor.

“What are you doing?” Pad asked.

“Picking up the dog” was the answer Tami thought she gave.

What Pad heard, however, was gibberish – sounds, but no words. He switched on the light and saw his wife slumped against the side of the bed. “I haven’t been through anything like that before,” he says, “but I recognized immediately that she was having a stroke.” He called 9-1-1.

“I thought he was crazy,” Tami recalls. “I just wanted to get back into bed and sleep.”

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