January 14, 2024

THE HUDSON INDEPENDENT: Returning to Phelps Hospital to say "thank you"

Tarrytown Author and Stroke Victim Returns to Phelps to Say “Thank You”

January 12, 2024

By Bar­rett Sea­man–

Easter morn­ing 2017 started out like most morn­ings for Bonni Brod­nick, ex­cept that she would be dri­ving that day to Con­necti­cut to pick up her mother and bring­ing her back to Tar­ry­town for Easter din­ner with her fam­ily. At 86, vi­su­ally im­paired and deaf in one ear, her mother could no longer be trusted be­hind the wheel of a car—or so Bonni and her sib­lings had con­cluded.

As she washed her face, she felt “lit­tle blips in­side my head,” which she had been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lately but had con­cluded that they weren’t enough to war­rant call­ing her doc­tor. “You can’t call your doc­tor about every­thing,” she lec­tured her­self.

On the drive back on I-95, Bonni and her mother chat­ted ex­cit­edly about plans for her son David’s up­com­ing wed­ding. But about 10 min­utes into the drive, she found her­self star­ing at her right hand, which was shak­ing on the con­sole be­tween the seats. She heard her mother shriek “pull over” as they bar­reled down the in­ter­state at 65-mph. “I was­n’t light­headed,” she re­called. “I was­n’t dizzy,” but she had no con­trol over the car. It took her mother to reach over, grab the wheel and steer them into the guardrail.

A pass­ing cou­ple, Janie Parks and Joe Manna, whom Bonni would come to call her “good Samar­i­tans,” stopped, called 911 and stayed with them un­til help came. She was taken to Stam­ford Hos­pi­tal, where TPA (tis­sue plas­mino­gen ac­ti­va­tor, an an­ti­co­ag­u­lant used to break up clots in the early stages of a stroke) was ad­min­is­tered. She was then trans­ported to Yale New Haven, a ma­jor med­ical cen­ter au­tho­rized to per­form thrombec­tomies, a pro­ce­dure in which a wire-born mech­a­nism is threaded up into the brain where it clips off the of­fend­ing clot. Yale New Haven had been per­form­ing thrombec­tomies for only two years. The pro­ce­dure took four hours.

Dis­charged and back home in Tar­ry­town, Bonni was sent to Phelps Hos­pi­tal, just ten min­utes up the road, where for two weeks she un­der­went Phys­i­cal and Oc­cu­pa­tional Ther­apy (PT and OT) and speech ther­apy, with spe­cial­ists Kathy Gibbs, Joanne Gelsi and Car­olyn Bossi­nas. In her book about her or­deal, My Stroke in the Fast Lane: A Jour­ney to Re­cov­ery, Bon­nie cred­its these three not only for their med­ical skills but for the moral sup­port they pro­vided. In a “thank you” event at Phelps this past week, she re­called in par­tic­u­lar Car­olyn’s en­cour­age­ment to re­trieve words. She analo­gized find­ing a file cab­i­net in her brain where words were sto­ries. “Well,” she told Car­olyn, who was in the au­di­ence at the time, “I found the file cab­i­net.”

In ret­ro­spect, Bonni wishes she had been taken di­rectly to Phelps fol­low­ing her stroke—be­cause of “the fact that they have a heart unit, a neu­ropa­thy unit, thrombec­tomies ,,, such a com­plete cen­ter for some­one like me.”

My Stroke in the Fast Lane is avail­able through Ama­zon. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on Phelp­s’s stroke treat­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties, see (https://​the­hud­sonin­de­pen­dent.com/​phelps-state-of-the-art-stroke-cen­ter-saves-time-and-thus-lives/) and (https://​the­hud­sonin­de­pen­dent.com/​phelps-opens-state-of-the-art-neu­ro­surgery-cen­ter/).

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