Protecting La Familia

Seventy-seven year old Victoria Gonzalez and her husband, Estevan, have lived what they feel was the American Dream.

Estevan supported the family by driving an 18-wheeler for 40 years, while Victoria focused on caring for the couple’s home and family. With six children, 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren, theirs has been a rich and busy life.

Last summer, the security of that life was threatened when Victoria began unexpectedly displaying strange behavior following a routine doctor’s appointment. “She wasn’t able to hold her arm right,” recalls Estevan, “and her words weren’t making sense.” Estevan and daughter Christina rushed Victoria to the Emergency Department at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, just minutes from their Oceano home. Doctors quickly determined that Victoria was having a stroke.

“When someone is showing the signs of stroke, there is a short window of time during which we can intervene,” says Emergency Physician Dr. Juan Reynoso. “If we’re not able to do that, the patient may not have the best chance for making a full recovery from physical and cognitive impairments due to the stroke.”

The quick assessment and treatment Victoria received likely prevented her from what could have been devastating consequences.

After her emergency department visit, Victoria was treated in Arroyo Grande’s Acute Rehab Center. Medical staff helped her to regain muscle control, so she is now able to get around with the help of a walker.

“She is still limited in what she can do,” says Estevan. “But we know that if she had waited any longer it could have been much worse.”