Decatur Stroke Survivor Educates Others on Stroke Symptoms

John Steven Taylor, 53, of Decatur, has survived numerous ischemic strokes and is able to quickly recognize stroke symptoms. Passionate about the importance of stroke awareness, he shares his story with anyone who will listen.

“I’m just blessed because I recognized the symptoms,” Taylor said about his latest strokes, treated successfully at both Decatur Memorial Hospital and Memorial Medical Center. “When your eyes start shaking, your face goes numb…you try to stretch your mouth out to talk, move and chew. Then one side of your body starts going numb. If you feel like that, you sit down; you get on the phone; and you call for an ambulance. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke and occur when the brain’s blood vessels become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow. B.E.F.A.S.T. stroke symptoms include changes in balance, eyes, face, arms and speech.

Taylor’s first stroke occurred ten years ago. He suffers from diabetes and sleep apnea and also has a pacemaker. Those are common contributing factors for stroke. Others include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, a family history of stroke and even COVID-19 infection.

Last year, he survived three separate stroke incidents, but he has been stroke-free since due to a medication regimen that includes blood thinners.

“My care at both Decatur Memorial Hospital and Memorial Medical Center was good,” Taylor said. “They listen to the patient. They also asked me lots of questions and were surprised I caught it in time. Honestly, if you didn’t know what the symptoms were—you’d be stressing out!”

Related Articles and Resources

Memorial Health System includes two hospitals with earned certifications in stroke care from The Joint Commission. Memorial Medical Center is a Comprehensive Stroke Center while Decatur Memorial Hospital is a Primary Stroke Center.

Recovery after Stroke
Caregiving for a Stroke Survivor
Not All Strokes Exhibit B.E.F.A.S.T. Symptoms