Arleen, the owner of beauty salon in Yakima, was shopping at a local department store when she collapsed. A blood clot was blocking an artery and, at noon, Arleen, 55, had a stroke.
By 4:15 p.m. that afternoon, doctors at Virginia Mason called Arleen’s husband, Kevin, to tell him that his wife was out of surgery and in recovery.
From stroke in Yakima – to repair in Seattle at Virginia Mason in four hours.
“I didn’t really know I had a stroke, but I felt like I had had a stroke,” says Arleen. “My right side was drooping. My thinking was spot on, but I couldn’t speak: I’m a talker – not being able to talk was foreign to me. I knew that it happened and that I was extremely terrified, but while I was there in the Emergency Department at Memorial I knew I was in the best place possible.”
Arleen’s sister accompanied her on the flight to Seattle. “When we were on Interstate 5 in the ambulance, all the traffic was stopped and I thought, “Why is traffic stopped? Oh, it’s for me,” Arleen remembers.
The Harmans are no strangers to Virginia Mason: “We were already well-acquainted with Virginia Mason,” Arleen says. “Kevin had surgery there and numerous orthopedic consultations last year.
“When I got to Virginia Mason, Dr. (David) Robinson came to see me with a whole panel of doctors, a pharmacist and a resident. I’m normally a very in-control person, but I just released and said, ‘Well, I guess I’m supposed to be here.’”
The next day, Tuesday, Arleen was up, walking and having physical therapy. By Friday, she had returned home to Yakima. And on Saturday? Arleen was outside in her park-like backyard watering the garden and speaking clearly, for the most part.
A few weeks later, she learned she had a rapid heartbeat. Arleen later began having instances of atrial fibrillation (AFib), which increased in severity. On Oct. 25, 2017, Arleen made the drive from Yakima to Virginia Mason in Seattle for an ablation procedure to treat AFib.
“You know what? I’m doing great,” she said. “We won’t know for six months if it was a complete success, but so far I haven’t had any incidence of AFib.”