On May 23, 2022, Wendy Spradley felt slightly “off.” But she and two friends hiked up Adams Canyon anyway, and the rest of her day was uneventful. However, at 5:00 a.m. the next morning, she got out of bed and felt “like a car out of alignment.”
“When I stood up, my body kept pulling to the right. I almost hit the wall,” Wendy recalls. “It was so weird! I wondered if I was dehydrated or if my blood pressure was off, or maybe I needed to eat something.”
Then the vertigo and nausea hit, and Wendy hit the floor. Even so, she was able to call her son’s girlfriend, who is a CNA, and then her sister, who is an RN. Both told her she was probably having a stroke and needed to get to the hospital. Her son drove her to the ER at Ogden Regional Medical Center (ORMC).
“By then, I couldn’t walk, talk, or even open my eyes. Everything was spinning and I kept throwing up, even in the CT room. I couldn’t stop.”
Wendy’s inability to walk was especially concerning to ER physician Daniel Humphries.
“A lot of people deal with vertigo, and it can be caused by many different things, but Wendy was having a hard time walking and that was a red flag,” he said. “As we get older, there’s a stroke syndrome that can cause vertigo, so we started activating what we call a ‘stroke protocol.’”
After an EKG, MRI, and CT scan, Dr. Humphries had both good and bad news for Wendy. It was not a stroke; but there was a large, dangerous aneurysm in her brain.
An aneurysm is a bulge that forms in the thinning wall of an artery. The doctor described Wendy’s as a ticking time bomb. As he explained to her, “We talk about the rule of thirds when it comes to brain aneurysms. A third of the people will die, a third will live but have lifelong disabilities, and a third will have complete recovery.”
Further tests revealed two more aneurysms, and Wendy underwent neurosurgery to remove the two largest on June 28. Her recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.
“When I went home after surgery, I was drooling on myself and needed a walker. I was unstable, weak, nauseous, and exhausted. Honestly, it was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done – my hardest physical challenge. But my home health team was amazing! And I was blessed with prayers and help from family, friends, church members, and co-workers – even complete strangers! It's good for the heart and soul to know that people are loving on you.”
Now, Wendy is not only able to walk and care for herself, she’s driving again and has returned to work. The fact that she is alive is a source of joy, and she wants to live a long time so she can help others like she was helped.
Wendy credits Divine Intervention, Dr. Humphries, and the ER staff at ORMC for saving her life. Four months after landing in the ER, Wendy returned to personally thank everyone.
“I want them all to know they made a difference in my life. The care I got from the ER staff that day was incredible. I couldn’t see anyone, because I couldn’t open my eyes, but I knew I was in good hands. They reassured me every step of the way. They talked me through everything – I heard everything they said. Even though I wasn’t very responsive, they were calming and comforting.
“What they do makes a huge difference in people’s lives. The people they care for every day – the hard things they see every day – and they keep going back to work day after day. I need them to know that I love, care for, and appreciate them for that.”