Three months ago, Ramon Zerwer had no idea what was happening to him.
"This was super full of pins and needles, and I determined how far or not far it was going to bother me," said Zerwer.
He knew something was wrong, but the 77-year old certainly didn't think it was his second stroke in 8 years. This one felt different.
"Well everybody knows stroke always starts on the left side no it doesn't. I found out later it doesn't, but i still wasn't convinced I was having a stroke," said Zerwer.
Zerwer went right to the doctor at prompt care who knew it was a stroke. Within minutes, Zerwer was in an ambulance on his way to OSF St. Francis Medical Center. The Illinois Neurological Institute's stroke team was at the emergency department door waiting on him.
"There's no time to waste. The faster you treat it, the better people do," Dr. Deepak Nair said,
Dr. Nair sent Zerwer to get a CT scan. That would tell the team if there was bleeding in his brain and determine how to treat it. There was no bleeding fortunately, so doctors gave Zerwer a drug known as t-PA. It's used to clear a stroke-causing clot.
"The speed at which the stroke was recognized and how quickly he got to us. How quickly things happened when he was here, that all sped up his road to recover," said Dr. Nair
But what the stroke team didn't realize what was happening, in the process of helping to save Zerwer's life, they were also making history. Tying the unofficial world record of how fast a stroke patient was administered t-PA. Doctors say professional guidelines say it should happen in an hour. The average is actually 79 minutes nationwide. Dr. Nair says nine minutes is simply incredible.
"Time is brain. There is no other key factor that helps us limit the amount of injury," said Dr. Nair.
If you think you're having a stroke go to the doctor immediately if you have sudden weakness on one side. numbness, vision trouble, trouble speaking or with your balance. Also, go to the doctor if you feel like you're spinning or if you have a sudden headache. Doctors say don't take an aspirin if you think you're having a stroke.