Striking a cord with stroke recovery

The story of Patrick McNally

Bass player for the Spokane Symphony, Patrick McNally had played a Labor Day concert in Spokane and the very next day just didn't feel himself.

The 38-year-old musician says he felt extremely tired then felt numbness on one side of his body. "I sat down and Googled the symptoms," Patrick says. "Based on the symptoms, it said I was probably having a stroke. I said to my wife, 'You better call 911,' and she did."

Within two hours of his initial symptoms, Patrick was at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, undergoing tests and receiving the clot-busting shot, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

"I could always talk," Patrick says. "And my face was never drooping; I didn't have any memory issues, but I was really weak and could barely lift my arm and leg on the left side."

"My week my Sacred Heart was great," Patrick says. "I was able to start therapy while there, and got excited to go to St. Luke's where I could really start moving around." Patrick's kids
Patrick received the rehabilitative care continuum at St. Luke's with occupational, physical and speech therapies physiatrist, a doctor specially trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation, reassured Patrick he would play the upright bass again.

"I brought a bass guitar with me to St. Luke's and the occupational therapist recommended I wait a bit because I might become frustrated-my left-side coordination in my hand just wasn't there yet," Patrick says. "Meeting the physiatrist every day always gave me confidence. He had worked with musicians before and reassured me that I'd be back and I'd be fine. It's not always easy to think that when you're in the hospital separated from your family." 

Patrick did return to playing with the Spokane Symphony for his eleventh season and his teaching positions with Whitworth College and Spokane Falls Community College.

"I don't know if we'll ever know what set off the stroke," Patrick says, "but I'm back doing just about everything I was doing before it happened." 

Learn more about Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center's Neuroscience Institute and St. Luke's Stroke Program and how their coordinated care, from immediate acute care to focused rehabilitative medicine, can help in lasting recovery.

[Main photo by Hamilton Studios]

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St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute
711 S. Cowley St.
Spokane, WA 99202-1330

Inpatient Information: (509) 473-6058 or 1-833-FOR-SLR-1
Outpatient Information: (509) 473-6869