Earlier this week, I was the guest speaker for a gathering of people in the medical profession, educators, stroke victim survivors and “thrivers”. It was hosted by a stroke survivor and it appeared that this group has been meeting for quite a few years now.
Lunch was served by the hospital staff and a lot of information was announced or passed around to bring as much community awareness as possible regarding stroke and brain health. Everyone enjoyed the food, the laughter, and the camaraderie that became the thread for the group’s existence.
Soon, my friend and co-host of the program stood up and started the business portion of the meeting. As I sat patiently waiting for my cue to begin my speech, the host educated the group on what F.A.S.T. means for stroke awareness. Do you know what it means?
Here’s what I learned that day (if any of these occur, call 911 immediately):
Face – Has the person’s face fallen on one side (or can they smile)?
Arms – Is the person able to raise both arms above their head (assuming they could do it before)?
Speech – Has the person’s speech become slurred and incomprehensible?
Time – It’s time to call 911 if you see any of these signs!
It was encouraging to see that many attendees could recite the F.A.S.T. approach to recognizing the signs of a stroke. The brain is affected very quickly so response time is of the utmost importance.
I felt empowered that day as I learned something new about recognizing stroke victims. My topic was not about being a stroke survivor so I felt inadequate at the start. However, as my speech continued, I touched upon a nerve for the group – being a caregiver.
Some understood the trials of a caregiver as they either served as one or were being served by someone in that role. I was able to link it to brain health because caregivers need to create their identity outside of that rigorous role; otherwise, they will isolate themselves and become less effective. The other message given was that “anyone” can become a caregiver.
While signing copies of my book and hearing each guest’s stories, this meeting inspired me to continue my ministry to help others with health and wellness not only through my book and speeches but with the manufacturing company I represent to enhance the lives of others.
So now that you are educated on F.A.S.T., be on the look-out in your daily life as you never know when you will be the ONLY person available to help someone else with their health and wellness.