A small detail at bedtime was the sign of a fatal diagnosis in mum who felt well: “Absolutely no idea”

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A mum has said she had ‘absolutely no idea’ she was seriously ill until her husband saved her life on their wedding anniversary.

Catherine Fahey, 34, says she feels “lucky to be alive” after her husband Kyle spotted a small sign that she was having a life-threatening stroke while in bed.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: The man’s quick actions save his wife, who had a stroke.

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Quick-thinking Kyle, 34, gave his wife a firefighter’s lift over her shoulder and drove her in the family car to the nearest hospital – after learning an ambulance would take two hours.

The mum and fitness enthusiast was asleep in bed in the early hours of September 19 – the couple’s 13th anniversary – when her husband, a maintenance engineer, noticed something was seriously wrong.

At 1 a.m., he woke up his wife to let her know the kids were in bed.

Kyle Fahey and his wife Catherine. Credit: Catherine Fahey /SWNS

But as he did, he noticed that his mouth had drooped considerably on the left side and his speech was slurred.

Acting quickly, he carried his wife in their car and drove to their local hospital in the British town of Lincoln.

Doctors told the couple that Catherine had a stroke and gave her life-saving drugs, which work most effectively in the first four-hour window.

“Kyle saved my life”

Thanks to Kyle’s quick actions, Catherine only spent two days in the hospital and miraculously recovered – stunning the doctors who treated her.

“Kyle absolutely saved my life – and on our anniversary too,” said Catherine, a college administrator.

”It’s just amazing how he knew. We’ve been together since we were 19 and got married at 21, so I feel like he knows me so well.

“If it had been someone else around me, they wouldn’t have known like Kyle did.

”It means to the world what he has done to me.”

Kyle and Catherine Fahey with children Alfie and Bella. Credit: Catherine Fahey /SWNS

Catherine had spent a quiet family evening at home – watching The Lion King with children Alfie, 14, and Bella, 11.

“I went up to bed and Kyle followed me shortly after,” she said.

“I had already got up once to go to the bathroom and I felt good.

“He turned on the light and started talking to me, just to tell me that the two children were in bed.

“He asked me if I was okay, but as soon as I answered he knew something was wrong.

“I have absolutely no idea. In my head, I thought I was speaking and acting well, but that was not the case.

“Zero Mobility”

Kyle asked his wife to stand up and put both arms out in front of her.

“But I had no mobility on the left side,” Catherine said.

“I even tried to drink water, but it fell out of my mouth.”

Kyle knew what to do because he had recently seen PSAs about the signs of a stroke.

Frantically, at 1 a.m., he called the emergency room, suspecting his wife of having a stroke.

After learning that the wait time for an ambulance was two hours, the eager husband sprang into action.

Catherine in the hospital. Credit: Catherine Fahey /SWNS

“He literally had to call a firefighter to lift me up the stairs and into the car,” Catherine explained.

”We had to leave the kids, but luckily Alfie is old enough to take care of Bella while we’re gone.

“He just told them we had to go out for something and would be back soon. He didn’t want to worry them.

“When we got to A&E, Kyle just dumped the car and didn’t realize he was in the ambulance bay.

“He ran to get a nurse and it was when I saw his face that I knew something was seriously wrong.”

critical care

After undergoing an immediate CT scan, doctors confirmed what Kyle suspected – Catherine had a stroke.

She was admitted to the critical stroke unit and received life-saving medication within an hour.

“Fortunately, because it acted so quickly, the doctors were able to treat me very quickly,” she said.

“I wasn’t really scared, but I felt so confused.

“I saw Kyle was upset and the nurse said to him, ‘It’s all up to her now – how she recovers’. I just gave it my all.

“Looking back I never thought I couldn’t walk anymore, I’m really stubborn.”

Kyle and Katherine. Credit: Catherine Fahey /SWNS

Within hours, her condition improved significantly and she started walking again at the fourth hour.

Miraculously, she made an incredible recovery and was released just two days later.

“My mouth on the left side is still a bit droopy and I have blurry vision,” she said.

“But I was completely discharged from physiotherapy and speech therapy.

”I take cholesterol tablets and blood thinners for life, and because my vision is blurry, I now have to wear glasses.

“I can’t push myself as much as I used to when it comes to exercise, and I’ve been advised to make sure I’m not alone when I go racing.

“I also have to keep an eye on my heart rate zones when I exercise.”

Recovery

Doctors were stunned by Catherine’s case, due to her age and dedication to physical fitness.

She and Kyle compete in Spartan Races – obstacle courses that vary from 5km to marathon distances – and were both due to represent Team GB at the European Championships on October 8.

“I will have to keep going to the hospital for follow-ups, but we may never find a cause,” she said.

“I’ve had a bit of stress at work recently, and they said it might have something to do with it.

“I realized that the stress at work was not worth it. Your health is the most important thing.

Sensitization

Despite her prognosis, Catherine is still learning to live after a stroke.

“Sometimes I feel very frustrated,” she said.

“I sometimes feel quite depressed, especially when people tell me what I can’t do, but I’m also very grateful.

“It could have been much worse.”

She is now trying to raise awareness of the signs of a stroke, saying her husband knew what to do because he saw a recent health promotion.

“Kyle absolutely saved my life and for that I love him more than ever,” she said.

Stroke Foundation

In Australia, the Stroke Foundation aims to “prevent stroke, save lives and improve recovery” by “raising awareness, facilitating research and supporting stroke survivors”.

As a calculus worker, the foundation suggests people watch out for the following stroke signs, summarized by FAST:

  • FACE – sagging?
  • ARMS – can’t be lifted?
  • SPEECH – badly articulated or confused?
  • TIME – is critical. Call 000

In November, the foundation holds its annual Stride4Stroke event, encouraging people to be active – one of the ways to reduce the risk of stroke.


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