A CALIFORNIA Gully resident recovered from a large stroke within a couple of days thanks to the quick response from paramedics and hospital staff.
Julie Loomes was pulling weeds in her garden on August 25 when she noticed something was not right.
"I reached with my left arm to pick up my bucket and I couldn't feel the bucket," she said. "I knew it was there and reached around with my right arm to grab it.
"I stood up and fell down. I thought that was funny. I got up again and I couldn't walk with my left leg. There was no movement - it just felt very heavy and large."
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Mrs Loomes said she knew she had to get to a mirror and ask herself the FAST questions - had her face drooped? Could she lift both arms? Was her speech slurred?
"I did all of that and thought this is not good," she said. "I struggled to get back outside to get my husband. I was yelling to him and my voice was slurred and I was drooling."
Mrs Loomes' husband asked her the same FAST questions and quickly called 000.
A paramedic was sent to the Loomes' home and within a few minutes, Mrs Loomes was being treated and transported to Bendigo Health.
Mrs Loomes was assessed through the Victoria Stroke Telemedicine service - a program that connects stroke specialists with regional hospitals and patients.
The consultant was able to review Mrs Loomes brain scan, provide a diagnosis, and a treatment plan.
Mrs Loomes underwent thrombolysis to dissolve the blood clot in her brain. She was then transferred to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for neurosurgical review and post-thrombolysis management.
Mrs Loomes was able to return home and back to normal life just a couple of days after the stroke.
"It was a quite large blood clot that had been taken out," she said. "When I was shown the scan, I thought I was very lucky. If I hadn't received the care I had, I would be in a nursing home."
Ambulance Victoria Stroke Services director Chris Bladin said Mrs Loomes' case showed how important it was to know the signs of stroke and act quickly.
"Julie is definitely one out of the bag - to make such a quick recovery is quite remarkable," Professor Bladin said. "She knew the warning signs, as did her husband.
"If you get onto it quickly, the chances of a good outcome are greatly improved."
Professor Bladin said the VST service - the only program of its kind in Australia - ensured everyone in Victoria could receive adequate stroke treatment.
"We know a stroke occurs every 10 minutes in Australia," he said. "There are about 60,000 stroke a year.
"This type of service means that it doesn't matter if you live three kilometres from a major metro hospital or 300 kilometres away, we're still able to provide the same stroke care."
Mrs Loomes said she had been back gardening and doing her usual activities in the 10 days since her stroke. She said she was grateful for the support she received.
"Everyone was so excellent," she said. "It was so well done. It was just a marvellous service."
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