WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) It's Tuesday at Chicken 'N' Pickle in Wichita and like most other days, Karen Fox is here.
"Pickleball is kind of a combination of tennis, ping pong and badminton," Fox said.
It opened at the perfect moment for Karen. It was right as she was getting good at the sport and right as she was looking for a job.
"I was here playing one day and started talking about if there was a position here for me," she said.
Two interviews later and she had a job. She went home that night and sat down to watch a football game with her husband. It was a normal evening but would quickly change.
"I said how ya doing?" Karen's husband, Ted Fox, said. "And she said just fine but she slurred it back to me and I asked her again how you doing and she slurred back some words to me and I flipped on the light and looked at her and I could see that her eyes just weren't tracking right and her face looked a little off. And again, I tried to speak to her and she just slurred back to me. And she was happy. she honestly did not know it was happening."
That's when Karen's husband knew his wife was having a stroke and called 911.
"Good thing he was home and we were together because if I was upstairs, i didn't know anything was happening to me," Karen said.
Karen went to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis and made it to Dr. Kumar Reddy.
"People are familiar with like cardiology, with heart attacks, how important it is to get to the hospital as soon as you can. Brain is even more susceptible to injury with time," Reddy said.
Time is brain, Dr. Reddy said, so those moments count. From Ted to the paramedics to doctors, each moment is imperative.
"All that that's been done has to be done efficiently and in a timely manner to get to the clot and dissolve the clot as quickly as possible because every second 32,000 cells are dying," Dr. Reddy said.
Thankfully for Karen, those moments were few and her recovery was quick.
"Basically six days after my stroke, I was playing pickleball and then 21 days after that, I was in a mix tournament in Oklahoma and my partner and I won gold," she said.
But she said if it wasn't for her husband and his quick actions, things would be very different.
"If you're wrong, what is the penalty? Nothing. If you're right, you could save her life," Ted said.
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, Ascension Via Christi says you should think of the acronym FAST.
F - Face: Ask the person to smile and see if the smile looks lopsided.
A - Arms: Ask the person to hold both arms up evenly. Pay attention to if one arm falls.
S: Speech: Ask the person to repeat a sentence and see if there are any slurred or mixed up words.
T: Time: If you have any concerns or think someone is showing these symptoms, call 911 immediately.