Jacob, Juliana, Jennifer and Henry Arciszewski. Jacob and Juliana helped save Jennifer’s life after she suffered a stroke and seizure at her Tinley Park home in January.
Jennifer Arciszewski was just about to step into the shower when she fell to the floor in her Tinley Park home on Jan. 9, 2015. She couldn’t get up or call out for help. Fortunately, the commotion woke up Arciszewski’s 11-year old daughter Juliana who came to her rescue. She knew something was wrong with her mom and got her older brother Jacob from his room who called 911.
“I knew what I wanted to say, but my words weren’t making sense. And I couldn’t move my right arm and leg,” Arciszewski remembers. “Thankfully my kids were calm and knew to get help.”
After an initial assessment, the paramedics took Arciszewski to Silver Cross because of the hospital’s comprehensive stroke program. Silver Cross Hospital is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission with a staff of experienced specialists offering the full continuum of care –from diagnosis to treatment to rehabilitation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Upon arrival she was greeted by the Code Stroke Team. A CT Scan in the Emergency Department (ED) showed Arciszewski suffered an acute stroke. She also had two seizures – one at home and one in the ED. Since she was not a candidate for clot-busting drugs, Dr. Richard Burgess, neurointerventional radiologist and stroke neurologist with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, immediately took her to the endovascular lab where he performed an angiogram to see exactly which vessels were involved. What he found was a large blood clot the size of a pencil eraser. Using minimally invasive techniques, Dr. Burgess was able to open the larger of the two main arteries that supplies blood flow to the brain.
“Because of the size and density of the clot, we could not totally remove it without causing permanent damage to her speech and cognitive skills,” said Dr. Burgess. “We were able to take her from a globally aphasic state (no usable speech) to having occasional expressive word difficulties but not distinctly noticeable. With blood thinners and other medications, over time the clot will dissolve on its own.”
Recovering with RIC at Silver Cross
Arciszewski spent 16 days in Silver Cross Hospital – six days in the Intensive Care Unit followed by another five day stay on the 6-1 medical-surgical unit. The last five days were spent in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s (RIC) rehabilitation unit at Silver Cross where she participated in occupational, physical and speech therapy three times a day to help her regain her abilities.
“Dr. Burgess and his assistant Kathy came to see me every day while I was at Silver Cross,” said Arciszewski. He always took time to answer any questions I had; even drawing diagrams to explain exactly what I happened to me.”
“I call her my miracle child,” said Arciszewski’s mom, Jacqueline Szymanski. “Everyone at Silver Cross was wonderful to all of us. I felt comfortable because of the good care my daughter received. I was totally amazed at her progress in the two weeks she was there.”
“I am relieved that I can walk and talk, although it has been difficult,” Arciszewski adds.
Eva Ricci, speech/language pathologist with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital, spent 8 weeks working with Jennifer Arciszewski to improve her speech after suffering a stroke.
Arciszewski is eager to get back to work at Blue Cross Blue Shield. She just finished eight weeks of outpatient therapy with RIC at Silver Cross.
“Jennifer is a hard worker and has really made significant improvement, said Eva Ricci, speech/language pathologist with RIC at Silver Cross Hospital. “When I first saw her in the ICU, she had difficulty expressing her thoughts verbally. Today, Jennifer is speaking fluently.”
“We’ve had a lot of tragedy in our family the past few years and I am so fortunate that Dr. Burgess and the staff at Silver Cross saved my life,” said Arciszewski. “I also hug my kids and thank them every day for their act of heroism. I will be forever grateful to everyone who took care of me in the hospital, my family and friends.”
Save a Life!
To learn more about the warning signs of stroke and treatment available at the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, request a free Stroke Awareness Kit at online or 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).
For more information about Modern Diagnosis and Treatment of Stroke, join Dr. Richard Burgess, neurointerventional radiologist and stroke neurologist with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, Monday, May 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This free program will be held in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Register to attend at online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).