SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Every second counts when it comes to recognizing the signs of a stroke.
Last summer that message hit too close to home for a former Mercer Medical student who suffered a stroke while working out at a local gym.
Last Memorial Day weekend, Kain Weaver was enjoying his first vacation day of his intern year as a medical resident. He stopped by the Islands YMCA for a workout before heading to the beach with his family.
Mid-workout, he experienced something he’d only read about while in med school.
“I felt a pop on the right side of my head. And it felt almost kind of like it sounded like a tire popping in my head. And it got warm really really quickly," he said.
At the time Weaver was in peak physical condition, in his late-twenties and not someone likely to suffer a stroke, but that’s exactly what was happening.
“Oh, I immediately knew. I was like shoot, I’m having a hemorrhagic stroke.”
Weaver stopped his workout, walked out of the gym and called his mother who was less than a mile down the road at home.
“I said hey, don’t freak out, but I’m having a hemorrhagic stroke and I need you to take me to the hospital.”
“I didn’t know the gravity of the situation, not being from a medical background. So as I was driving, of course I was exceeding speed limits, but I got there quickly," said Kain’s mom Leona Weaver.
Leona Weaver found her son collapsed in a grassy median in the parking lot of the YMCA. An ambulance rushed the 28-year old stroke victim to Memorial.
And where Weaver was once making the rounds as a medical student, he found himself a patient there, going under the knife for a procedure that would save his life.
“The fact that he recognized that was going on initially, and it brought him to medical attention faster, it made all the difference in the world," said Dr. Ryan Lingo, Weaver’s Neurosurgeon.
Weaver had an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, rupture. In the weeks and months to follow, Weaver would regain movement in his previously paralyzed left arm and leg.
He’s starting his second year residency in North Carolina in July, and will carry with him a new appreciation of the patient experience.
“I always thought that the hardest role on the treatment team was the doctor. And I learned very quickly it’s actually the patient, the patient’s role it hands down the hardest role in the treatment team.”