The half-hour that airs Sunday at 2pm on WVIZ/PBS presents dramatic visuals of some of the things you’ve heard this week on 90.3's Morning Edition. Producer Kay Colby talks with ideastream's Rick Jackson about this health documentary.
Rick Jackson: So Kay – what are we going to see in this one?
Kay Colby: We are going to see a family’s story filled with lots of drama, emotion, and amazing medical footage. Imagine all of a sudden not being able to talk or move your right side? That’s what happened to Bay Village husband and father Bill Forester. At age 51, Forester became one of the almost 800,000 Americans who suffer a stroke each year – in fact, every 40 seconds someone suffers a stroke.
Rick: Every 40 seconds. Wow. So basically this man was left speechless and paralyzed on one side?
Kay: That’s right – his stroke affected the left side of his brain which controls speech leaving Bill Forester with a disorder called aphasia. And the show chronicles his quest to reclaim his ability to use language. For Forester that literally meant re-learning his vowels … the entire alphabet – eventually moving on to words and phrases.
Rick: So how does rehabilitation work for stroke patients?
Kay: The magic recipe is repetition, repetition, repetition … with enough practice healthy parts of the brain can basically take over for the parts damaged by the stroke. What happens in a stroke is that brain tissue dies because it is deprived of blood flow. And the goal of rehabilitation is to encourage the brain to re-model itself so healthy parts can take over for the damaged ones. By far one of the coolest parts of the show centers on learning how the human brain works and examining both live and dead brains. We see a brain actually beat inside a patient during surgery and we also take a trip to the pathology lab to see the different parts of the brain explained and pointed out on a brain from a deceased patient.
Rick: So what’s the most important thing you learned about stroke?
Kay: Definitely how far we’ve come in treatments for stroke thanks to advancements in scanning technology and clot-busting drugs. I think people will be surprised to learn how they can use some of the same kind of technology they use to unclog arteries feeding your heart in vessels feeding blood to your brain … we actually see how these devices work like Roto-Rooter unclogging blockages in the pipes feeding your brain. But the key is time … 32,000 brain cells die every second during a stroke so time is of the essence. People need to be on the look-out for symptoms of stroke which include facial drooping on one side, trouble speaking, paralysis or loss of vision and immediately call 911.
Kay; thanks for the look ahead.
Surviving Stroke premieres (September 29) on WVIZ/PBS at 8pm.
There are other opportunities to see it, or once you do, to alert friends who you think of who should watch as well. It will repeat this coming Sunday (Oct 2) at 2pm; then next Tuesday (October 4) at 7:30pm and finally the following Sunday (October 9) at 10:30pm.