Stroke Awareness Month: Fred’s story

Health Watch

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – De Pere’s Fred Lindner loves being in the great outdoors.

“I like to hunt,” Lindner said. “So I always wanted to stay in shape so I could be out in the woods walking.”

Lindner was driving hours from home when he noticed a strange weakness in one of his limbs

“I was having trouble with my right leg on the gas and on the brake pedal,” he explained.

Lindner’s wife took the wheel and drove them back to Green Bay. Lindner picked up the phone right away and called his son-in-law, a physical therapist.

“I told him my symptoms and he said, ‘You should go to the ER immediately,’” Lindner recalled.

And he did. “I knew that Aurora had a stroke center so I went to the ER there,” he said.

In fact, Aurora BayCare Medical Center has the first and longest standing program in Northeast Wisconsin that is certified as a DNV Comprehensive Stroke Center. That’s where LindNer met neurologist, Dr. Sany Khabaaz, who says Lindner did the right thing.

“It’s very important that even the slightest symptom should be taken seriously and don’t play it down<” Khabbaaz emphasized. “Seek medical attention immediately.”

Lindner says it never occurred to him he was having a stroke.

“I was thinking if you had a stroke you had maybe slurred speech or you couldn’t smile,” Lindner explained. “I didn’t have any of that.”

Khabbaz say stroke symptoms can appear in many ways. He uses the acronym B.E. F.A.S.T.

B – balance

E – eyes: Vision issues

F – facial weakness uneven smile

A – arm (or leg) Weakness, unable to raise limbs evenly

S – speech

T – time – get help fast

After being treated by Dr. Khabbaz, Lindner still had a long road to recovery ahead of him. That’s where personal trainer Regan Dahnert came in. Dahnert works at Aurora BayCare’s Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center, the same complex where Lindner saw Dr. Khabbaz.

“The unique thing is we try to make this transition as easy as possible for stroke patients because they’ve suffered from something that’s completely changed their lives,” Dahnert said.

By including Lindner in the treatment decisions, Dahnert says she was able to customize his training regimen to achieve Lindner’s specific goals.

“In Fred’s case, he wanted to climb the stairs at Lambeau,” Dahnert recalled. “The stairs at Lambeau are 12″ steps, so it’s pretty challenging.”

An ambitious goal for a 78 year old stroke survivor.

“When I started going to Lambeau it was like 1970,” Lindner recalled with a chuckle. “I’m a few years older, so the steps are a little tough to go up and down.”

But not insurmountable, especially with Linder’s motivation.

“Fred is a dream to work with,” said Dahnert. “He’s open to anything.”

Dahnert’s “anything” includes some more new age exercises you don’t see many men Lindner’s age doing.

“Yoga’s a great challenge to keep you young,” Dahnert explained. “It keeps your mind and body young.”

Lindner agrees. “Now that I do it, there’s a lot of benefits I didn’t realize,” he said. “You gain a lot of range of motions.”

Dahnert also used a step machine set specifically at 12 inches to get Lindner where he wanted to be.

“There’s nothing this man can’t do,” Dahnert said. “That was a huge goal we accomplished together. He has met his goal.”

Khabbaz also says Lindner is a good example for others of, not only how to recover from a stroke, but how to prevent one from happening again.

“Be very persistent and consistent about taking care of themselves, like Fred,” said Khabbaz.

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