The notes may not come as quickly as they once did, but Lavada Poynter is thankful for the beautiful melody coming from her piano as she plays an original composition. These days Poynter only has full use of two fingers on her right hand, but there was a time she was certain she’d never walk again, much less play her beloved piano. “Before I had this last stroke in February, I’d written a song,” she explained. “I’m not going to let the devil defeat me. The Lord gave me the song and I’m going to do it.”
Poynter comes from a family with a history of heart and vascular issues and she has not been immune, suffering her first stroke a decade ago. It was during her most recent stroke where the quick reactions of her family and the care she received has led to a remarkable recovery.
Poynter had just returned home following 22 days in a skilled nursing facility for another medical issue when she and her husband Steve sat down for dinner. “Steve could tell by just looking at me something was wrong, but I didn’t know it,” Poynter said. “I thought I’d taken too big a bite and was choking. About that time he looked at me and said ‘you’re having a stroke.’ I couldn’t even get up from the table. He had to help me up.” Steve called their son, who along with his wife rushed to the house. Poynter’s daughter-in-law is a nurse, and together the family was quickly able to assess the issue was serious and called for an ambulance.
Poynter was brought to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH) where she received Alteplase, a clot-buster. “Lavada was fortunate her family reacted so quickly,” said OLBH Stroke Coordinator Kathy Skaggs, BSN, RN. “The medication can only be offered to patients who are within a three-hour window of symptom onset so seeking early treatment is paramount. Unfortunately, many patients who arrive at our ER seek medical help long after that three-hour window which limits the treatments that are available.”
“Through the help of the Lord and Bellefonte Hospital you wouldn’t believe how much better I am,” Poynter said of her recovery. Poynter is showering herself and often moves about minus the assistance of the walker she thought she’d never be able to do without. At 74, Poynter said she feels better now than she has in years. “I’m proud of that 74 and I hope to live longer.”
Poynter tears up when thinking of what could have been and how the love and quick action of her family made the difference in her outcome. She’s equally as quick when it comes to offering advice to others who exhibit signs of stroke. “You got to get to that hospital,” she said. “I give the glory to my Lord above first, but thanks to everyone at Bellefonte Hospital for what they did for me.”