Tuan Nguyen
3 min readJun 9, 2020

My Transient Ischemic Attack (Mini Stroke) Experience at 57 Years Old.

Disclaimer — This story is based on my direct exposure to Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) — otherwise known as a mini stroke, pre stroke, or warning stroke, — my thoughts, my opinions, and my conclusions towards my treatment. Please consult with your licensed medical doctor for the treatment of your conditions. This story is for informational purposes only. All names are kept discreet.

This story is to share my TIA experience in hopes of reiterating our work-life balance sustainability and knowing the impact of your own health on your loved ones so that we can ultimately live a better and healthy life.

It was a cold Friday morning on the 18th of March 2016 when I came to work and ready for my 8:30am daily round stand-up meeting. Although it was a Friday, this day was no different from the other days of the week since my position as the Plant Quality Manager usually meant a 14-hour workday. Although the company did not require me to work that many hours , it was my commitment to the job.

When the 8:30am meeting started, my body suddenly became paralyzed with half of my face feeling heavy and numb. I was not able to speak nor move my body — I could only see and observe. My mind was still alert and aware, but I was muted and immobilized! One of my colleagues noticed half of my face drooping and asked me, “Are you alright, Tuan?”. Of course, I could not respond to her. The other colleague quickly moved one of the rolling office chairs over for me to sit. However, without any movement motor control, I could not move my body. Another colleague of mine helped me lay on the chair. Of course, I was not properly sit, not because my colleague misplaced me, it’s only from my body not responding to the placement of my body. At this moment, I realized that mind and body co-existed but functioned independently.

After 15 minutes of laying on the chair, the paramedics arrived. The paramedic took my blood pressure. My systolic pressure was 220mmHg (the normal level is 120mmH). For comparative reference, anything higher than 130 mm Hg is considered “high blood pressure” and anything higher than 180 mm Hg is considered a “hypertensive crisis” for which emergency care should be sought. The paramedic tried to administer an intravenous (IV) injection to help lower my blood pressure but struggled to find my vein only to succeed after several attempts. I found out later that the needle was bent when the nurse removed it from my vein two days later before I was discharged from the hospital. After the paramedic completed the IV injection, I was carried out of the facility and transported to the Emergency Room (ER) at the hospital. I still vividly remembered my colleague saying to me before I was carried out of the front entrance of my work building, as a statement of encouragement, “Don’t worry Tuan, we’ll see you on Monday.”. LOL! I knew there was no way I would be healthy enough to return to work anytime soon (let alone after the weekend), but for some reason, it made me feel at ease.

Another 15 minutes passed by, I was admitted to the hospital ER. During the time that they ran the multiple tests on my brain, my body movement began to slowly recover, although half of my face was still numb, and my cognitive brain function started to slow down. I looked up at the clock — it was 9:20am. Shortly afterwards, I was transferred to the hospital floor that specialized in stroke symptoms.

That night, I was asked to walk with the nurse as part of my recovery treatment. The nurse asked me to hold on to the IV carrier and walk down the corridor of the floor. This walking therapy opened my eyes to learn that I was lucky to literally be able to walk out from my mini stroke. I realized at that moment that I had been given a second chance to start over — to appreciate and listen to my body after taking it for granted for 57 years. I learned to appreciate the phrase “work-life balance.”.

I will share my road to recovery and lifestyle changes in my next publishing.