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“Battlefield faith” and brain specialists saved this aneurysm survivor

“Battlefield faith” and brain specialists saved this aneurysm survivor

For three and a half months, as Ashley Crider lay in a hospital bed fighting to recover from a ruptured aneurysm, her husband Matt leaned heavily on his faith to ward off fears and doubts about her fate. 

“Sometimes I’d start to ask myself, ‘how will I tell my children if their mom dies today?’” Thanks to Carle’s Comprehensive care teams, stroke team, dynamic duo surgeons, excellent and quality care from stroke signs to recovery, Matt never had to answer that question. 

“So many of the details have faded but I remember every emotion, doubt, fear and uncertainty that flooded my mind in those first hours and days,” Matt said. 

It was a normal Tuesday, until the moment that would change everything for the Criders. A coworker noticed Ashley rubbing her head that morning as she worked at her desk, and just a while later, another coworker heard a thump. Ashley passed out at her desk; she suffered from a burst aneurysm, which is what happens when a weak part of the wall in one of the brain’s arteries balloons out. 

““The pressure on the weak wall caused it to rupture. When that happens, we call it a subarachnoid hemorrhage,” Amrendra Miranpuri, MD, said. “She had the most severe designation of rupture.”

Paramedics rushed Ashley to a local hospital. 

If you think you or a loved one are having a stroke, seek care right away. Early intervention for patients with stroke symptoms and quality care post-stroke can optimize recovery and prevent secondary strokes and associated health problems. 

Call it luck or divine intervention – as Matt would – the on-call emergency room doctor had recently attended a conference with Carle’s Wael Mostafa, MD, and Dr. Miranpuri. The doctors had just learned more about reading magnetic resonance images, or MRIs, and used some of that freshly acquired expertise to act quickly. Doctors immediately transferred Ashley to Carle Foundation Hospital, where Carle’s neurointerventional specialists are available 24/7 to ensure faster treatment and better outcomes for patients like Ashley. 

“She went straight to the endovascular suite to get a dynamic picture of her arteries. After that angiogram – in immediate consultation with the Neurointerventional Radiologists and Neurosurgeons – the decision was made to secure the aneurysm in the – the decision was made to secure the aneurysm in the operating room,” Dr. Miranpuri said. 

Dr. Mostafa fixed the aneurysm during surgery and Ashley spent many days on anesthesia. “The first thing she did when she woke up was mouth ‘I love you.’ It was a huge weight lifted when she recognized me,” Matt said.

Ashley then spent about a month in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), receiving expert care from the Neurology teams. She then spent two months in Inpatient Rehab before joyously going home to her three children, Abigail (11), Logan (9) and Grayson (5).

Ashley continued with physical and occupational therapy, until COVID-19 put a stop to all non-emergent visits. The Criders wondered how the two-month hiatus would affect her progress. 

“I wasn’t sure what it would be like going back. Would we have catching up to do? Ground to make up? Praise God, it was just the opposite!” Matt said. 

Not only did Ashley fair very well on her occupational and physical therapy reevaluations, her care team reduced her appointments to just once per month for each of these disciplines, while her speech therapy continues weekly. 

“God showed me a lot about ’battlefield‘ faith as we stood on His word for good reports and progress. In short, God poured out His love through family, friends and the team at Carle, and we are eternally grateful,” Matt said. “And by God’s grace, we look forward to a full recovery and a long life ahead.”

Learn more about Carle Neurosciences Institute at carle.org.

Categories: Redefining Healthcare

Tags: Comprehensive Stroke Center, Neurology, stroke, surgery

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