It was a normal start of the day for Nick Cole who woke up at 4:30 a.m. and went to his family room to watch the news. After lying down in front of the television, Cole felt unsteady and let his wife know something wasn’t quite right.
Cole’s wife, Janet and a neighbor took him to the emergency room at Foote Hospital in Jackson where brain scans suggested Cole, a former manufacturer and group president at Dana Corporation, had a condition known as pontine stroke.
It’s the kind of stroke that targets the back of the brain and more than anything else is often linked to hypertension, a condition Cole had long battled. The stroke in June 2007 had paralyzed the right side of his body.
“It was bad enough that my wife was told she should call the rest of the family to Michigan,” says Cole, 69. The family was told there was not much that could be done for him.
But Cole was transported by ambulance to the University of Michigan Health System’s Comprehensive Stroke Program where board-certified stroke neurologists work with neurosurgery, neuroradiology, emergency medicine, and cardiology to provide award-winning stroke care.
“I was completely paralyzed on my right side and lost the ability to talk,” he remembers. “Because I could not swallow, they put a feeding tube in my stomach for nourishment.”
He spent five weeks in the stroke unit under the care of the U-M stroke team. With treatment and rehabilitation, the stroke team helped Cole regain his speech and get his life back.
His paralysis has completely subsided. Much of Cole’s time is spent outdoors gardening, boating, and golfing. The Coles spend their winters in Florida and summers at their Michigan home on Lake Columbia.
“Thanks to the stroke team at the University of Michigan, I am able to enjoy everything that I used to enjoy,” says Cole.