On a typical day last fall, 76-year-old Joe Johann tilted his head back in front of the bathroom mirror and reached up to put a couple of eye drops in each eye. “As soon as I put my arms down I started getting dizzy,” he said. “I realized later, when my arm was raised, it was stressing out my artery and cutting off the blood flow.”

In 2001, Johann had his first stroke and doctors warned him that the carotid artery in the left side of his neck was completely blocked, leaving it up to his right artery to get blood to his brain. “We were told there wasn’t really anything we could do for it, that as long as the right side was open, it would be OK,” said Joe’s wife, Carol Johann. But after his dizzy spell, Joe suspected it was time to take action.

He got to Penrose Hospital, where Scott Shay, MD and director of interventional neuroradiology at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, did an angiogram and discovered Joe’s right carotid artery was 95-percent blocked; he’d had a second stroke. On October 3, Dr. Shay inserted a stent to increase blood flow in Joe’s remaining carotid artery, dramatically decreasing his risk for future strokes.

“Dr. Shay has a fantastic bedside manner,” Carol said. “He explained everything to us in great detail, to the point we almost didn’t even have to ask any questions. He even took pictures before and after the stenting and showed us so we could see the difference.”

The Johanns also said they were impressed with how Dr. Shay treated his staff at Penrose Hospital. “They all seemed to enjoy working there, and they really took care of us both,” Carol said. Penrose-St. Francis Health Services provides 24/7 advanced stroke treatment and was named a certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. Penrose-St. Francis is part of Centura Health, the region’s leading healthcare network.

Joe has recovered and said he felt back to his normal self shortly after receiving his stent. He is due for an angiogram the first week of June and expects everything to be in working order. “You have warning signs for a reason,” he said. “They say you should listen to your body, and it’s very true. If I hadn’t gotten dizzy, I might never have known that I was headed for a worse situation.”

Pikes Peak Newspapers, Editor

Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years. She studied journalism at Kansas State University and enjoys biking, skiing and hiking in the Rockies.

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