Illinois nurse feels ‘pop’ in her head and nearly loses her life

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – When an Illinois nurse felt a “pop” in her head, she told her husband to get her to a hospital right away. She was taken to SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital where workers saved her life from a stroke caused by a ruptured aneurysm.

“It was awful. It was the worst headache of my life,” stroke survivor Amy Roth said.

Amy and her husband knew cleaning the garage had to be done but an interruption told them something more important had to be done first.

“So we’re cleaning out the garage and I bent over and felt a pop and got all warm and my arms started going numb and I told my husband he had to bring me to the hospital,” Roth said.

It was a 30 minute drive from her home in Hardin to Jersey Community Hospital.

A cat scan confirmed she had a ruptured aneurysm.

“It was very scary being in nursing school, you always hear about the horrors of what could happen, and I went to the hospital thinking I wasn’t going to make it,” Roth said.

It was decided that Amy would be flown from Jersey Community Hospital to SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital where a team of stroke specialists moved into action.

“It was quite serious when she developed the sudden onset of that headache, we call it a thunderclap headache and it’s the worst headache that anyone’s ever experienced,” Dr. Guillermo Linares, SLUCare neurologist at SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital said.

Amy said her husband wasnt allowed to visit because of COVID restrictions.

“Even when they did my brain surgery, they wouldn’t let my husband in they told him to stay home, and they would call him.”

Dr. Linares did a minimally invasive technique inserting a catheter in a blood vessel. He then moved it into the brain and released a coil that blocks blood flow to the aneurysm.

“At this moment, I don’t think it’s necessary to do anything else to it other to monitor it,” Dr. Linares said. “That aneurysm will not give Amy any more trouble.”

Amy’s stroke happened in May 2020. After two surgeries, she has occasional headaches but is back to work and home-schools her two kids. She has this message during stroke awareness month, “Just pay attention to your body. If you think something is wrong, get it checked out don’t wait.”

“There’s a lot of wisdom in what she said. I like that. Listen to your body, your body knows,” Dr. Linares said.

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