EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – May is stroke awareness month, and one Lake Hallie resident took that literally with potentially life-saving results.

After working in his yard for a couple of hours Monday, Don Ammerman wasn’t feeling quite right.

“I just felt a little light-headed..queasy,” he said. “I came in, grabbed a drink and it just hit me. All of a sudden it just hit me.”

It wasn’t a headache like Ammerman thought. It was a stroke: an interruption of blood flow to the brain, which can cause disability and even death. Luckily for Ammerman, his neighbor Glen Neubauer grew concerned with his absence and came to check on him.

“When I got the bags loaded, I came over to dump them in the trailer and I noticed his lawnmower was still parked in my yard,” he said. “I said ok we should go check on him, so we came over here and there he was.”

With experience seeing a stroke before, Neubauer was able to identify the symptoms.

“The slurred voice for one thing. His speech, and he could… It’s hard to explain, but it made no sense,” he said. “You couldn’t understand it anyway. It was all garbled. I had him do some tests, you know: Stick your tongue out, which way was at the leaning, and all this kind of stuff that they wanted to see and all, so I called the ambulance.”

Neubauer used the BE-FAST method of stroke identification, a HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital stroke coordinator Annie Letkiewicz says is important to know.

“B is for balance difficulty: Is there all of a sudden a change in someone’s balance?,” she said. “E is for eye changes: Are there changes in their vision in either one or both eyes? F is for facial drooping. Is there a sudden onset of a droop on one side of the person’s face? A is for arm weakness? Is there all of a sudden weakness in one or both of the arms? S is for slurred speech. Is there all of a sudden a difficulty in speaking? And T is for terrible headache.”

Like the acronym spells, Letkiewicz says speed is vital for the long-term health of those who suffer a stroke. Thanks to Neubauer’s rapid response, Ammerman was able to fully recover and be released from the hospital two days later.

“The quickness of getting there and getting treatment, that was the #1 thing,” he said.”

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