For Arthur Pugh, an idyllic afternoon fishing on Clear Lake with his family quickly turned into a medical emergency.
Pugh, 52, came to Lake County for a fishing trip with Community Church of God in Christ during the first weekend of June when he started displaying the symptoms of a stroke – symptoms he tried to shake off before realizing the severity of his condition.
“I was filming my wife bringing in a fish when I started to feel dizzy. My head started hurting, my hands got numb. I told my wife ‘Get to the dock, something is wrong.’”
Arthur felt his symptoms worsening, but tried to remain calm so as not to panic his family. His wife called 911 as soon as they reached shore and the ambulance arrived in less than five minutes.
Gwen Pugh, Arthur’s wife of 22 years, recognized the symptoms of his stroke from a class the couple had attended on stroke education. The couple, who lives in Antioch, was unfamiliar with the area and the care available in an emergency.
“Response time for a stroke is important, and Sutter responded in a timely manner,” Gwen said. “I’m thankful for the response and knowledge of the team that treated him. They catered to my needs as well, making sure I was okay and comfortable.”
For the Pughs, the compassion of the stroke team played as important a role as the team’s clinical knowledge.
“They allowed our family to come back and be with him in the ER. A lot of hospitals won’t allow family in, and it was so gracious of them to allow that,” said Gwen. Desiray Taylor, a nurse on the team that treated Arthur, still keeps in touch with the family.
“We text back and forth every couple of weeks,” Desiray said of her contact with Gwen. “They came back to see us and it was nice to see him again. He’s an amazing man, and to be able to say I’ve helped this great guy is a blessing.”
According to Desiray, Arthur’s positive attitude and tenacity for recovery inspired others in his rehab unit.
Arthur is doing well, thanks to his efforts in rehabilitation and aid from his wife, who tracks his doctor’s appointments, medications and physical therapy sessions.
“I take my marriage vows seriously,”
said Gwen. “I’m here for him no matter what happens.”
While it’s still a journey to full recovery, Arthur credits Sutter Lakeside Hospital’s initial response for saving his life.
“If I hadn’t gotten to Sutter, I believe I would be just a memory,” he said. “They’d be talking about how I used to be and what I used to do. I give it all to Sutter for my existence. They knew exactly what to do. They saved this old brother.”