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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – “I never thought it would happen to me,” said Tony Brown. He worked as an orthopedic technologist and EMT for more almost thirty years.

“To go from being this big strong guy to literally,” said Brown. “To being a person that literally can’t get out of bed by himself without falling.”

Brown was used to helping others, until the day came when roles reversed.

“I was leaving Coliseum going to Northside Hospital and I was going to put a cast on,” said Brown. “I was walking into the operating room and all of a sudden I felt real light headed and I noticed that my words were slurring a little bit and I noticed that I was drooling.”

Symptoms Brown had seen with patients before. So he knew exactly what was going on.

“I walked in and I just told them, I’m having a stroke,” Brown said. “Thirty minutes later, I was completely paralyzed on my left side.”

His quick thinking is what, Coliseum Stroke Program Coordinator Kristen Ankron stresses.

“Facial drooping, arm weakness or numbness, slurred speech and then time to call 911,” said Ankron. “All of these are sudden onset.”

Ankron says as soon as you start to feel any symptoms, call for help.

“You want to get to the hospital as soon as possible because the treatment can be offered in the event of the stroke is time sensitive,” said Ankron.

In some cases, strokes can end in death. In most, they cause disabilities. Ankron says some stroke survivors don’t have the function of one of their hands or they do have problems with speech or thinking.

Brown has come to terms with some of his disabilities. He says some days are better than others, but  always tries to see the good.

“What better way to use the speech that I’ve been blessed to keep than to continue to talk to people to give them hope,” said Brown.

He may not be working at the hospital anymore, but his work in helping others continues. Brown says his experience has changed the way he lives in a positive way. He now stops to smell the roses. He Is also in the process of enrolling at Middle Georgia State to become an occupational therapist.

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