A STROKE survivor has implored people to not ignore feeling unwell - after she spent three days in intensive care fighting to recover from a stroke she didn’t realise she was having.
Mandy Rylance was taken ill in September 2020 at Buzz Bingo, near Barnsley town centre, where she has worked for 39 years.
The 60-year-old, who helps manage a team of 35 staff at work, was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield where she was given intravenous blood clot treatment.
She said: “On the day I’d been at work since 8am - at 11.20am I went to check my emails and my son rang me, then at 11.50am I started to think ‘I don’t feel too good’.
“I didn’t have a headache or anything but I just got on the floor and touched my face and it didn’t feel right.
“One of the staff found me and phoned an ambulance - I became aware that I couldn’t talk properly.
“I just kept thinking ‘I don’t feel very well’.
“I was telling the staff to go back to work and not to worry, that I would be alright.
“Like a lot of people, I thought it would just go away.
“I was not even aware I was having a stroke - if I’d been at home I would have just laid on the bed and would never have got out of it again.”
She was then transferred to a specialist stroke ward where she stayed for 12 days, but Mandy’s urged people to get checked out if they feel something is amiss.
She added: “I couldn’t use my left arm and lost some sight in one eye.
“When you’ve had a stroke, everything’s strange - it feels like you’ve been abducted by aliens.”
When she returned home to Royston she was cared for by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s award-nominated Integrated Community Stroke Rehabilitation Service.
Mandy, who has a son and is grandma to a five-year-old, said: “The team never missed a day with me and helped me through exercises to build up strength in my arm and leg.
“I’ve got a walking stick now and although I drop things all the time, I’ve managed to do a phased return to work and am now back full-time which is great as I love my job.
“I want to spread the word that I didn’t expect stroke to be like what happened to me.
“People in Barnsley don’t come to hospital as quickly as they should when they’re having a stroke.
“It might be something about being ‘tough’ which is a Barnsley tradition, but stroke is treatable and the sooner you receive treatment, the better the outcome.
“Don’t put off seeking medical care.”
Data shows the average time from onset of stroke symptoms to first medical presentation for Barnsley patients is approximately 15 hours, which compares with a national and a regional average of 3.5 hours.
Consultant James Griffiths said: “We know that the people of Barnsley are stoic and sometimes don’t want to bother anyone but it is vitally important that, if they notice symptoms of a stroke - facial droop, arm or leg weakness or speech difficulty - they must dial 999.
“This will give them the best chance of receiving the best possible care.
“As with most conditions, getting the right patient to the right specialist at the right time is crucial in ensuring we get the best possible outcomes for Barnsley stroke patients.”