Stroke victim feels ‘thankful’

Published 8:00 pm Friday, December 23, 2011

Tonya and Johnny McGlown of East Brewton will celebrate Christmas this week but they say it will be done with a lot of Thanksgiving in their hearts.
On, Dec. 3 Johnny was taking a walk in the neighborhood  when he suffered a massive stroke on Simmons Street not far from his home at Wynn Chase Apartments.
Tonya received a call from a pastor that her husband had been found on the side of the street and was unconscious. She quickly called 911 and Johnny was rushed to D.W. McMillan where it was determined he needed to be air lifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla.
“He was completely paralyzed on his right side and didn’t even know who I was,” Tonya said. “When we arrived at the hospital they did a brain scan and found a large clot on his brain. Dr. Lawrence King, the neurologist on call, came to me and started telling me about a fairly new procedure that they could do but there were a lot of risks. My pastor and I had already been praying and we asked God what we should do. We got a clear answer from Him that it was going to be the right thing to do.”
The MERCI retriever, a corkscrew-shaped device, was used to try to break the clot. Dr. Kramer was called upon to do the procedure that consists of running a small tube to the place of the clot and using the corkscrew to pull the clot out of the artery.
The procedure is realtively new, but Tonya said it worked for Johnny McGlown.
After spending two nights at Sacred Heart, Johnny walked out under his own steam, while giving his doctors  something to talk about.
“Johnny is the only one who has had the procedure and left the hospital after two days,” Tonya said. “While he was there talk went all over the hospital and we had a lot of visits from other doctors who just wanted to talk about the procedure. They all wondered about his condition, but I know it was God’s doing. We also found out that Johnny had actually had a previous heart attack that he didn’t even know he had.”
Johnny also give thanks to God and those that got him back on his feet after the ordeal.
“I thank God for what he has done for me,” he said. “I can’t wait  to be able to go back to work at Wal-Mart, but I have to get the okay from my doctor first.”
Tonya said that although he is much improved, there are still a few problems, such as a little bit of a memory loss.
“He is 100 times better today than when he walked out of the hospital, but he is 1,000,000 times better than when I saw him lying by the side of the road,” Tonya said. “We have only been married for eight months, and was afraid that I was going to lose him. I have three Christmas presents wrapped and under the tree, but I already have the best present — to have my husband doing so well.”
Tonya and Johnny will spend this Christmas thanking God for His goodness. They both lived in Brewton years ago, and both went their separate ways. It was only a couple of years ago that they found each other back in Brewton. Life will be much sweeter to them now that Johnny is on the road to a complete recovery, Tonya said.