The hardest person to diagnose is yourself. Medical professionals undergo years of training to learn how to identify health problems in the patients that come to visit them.
But what happens when they are the one in need? It isn’t as easy to be objective and grasp the reality of the situation.
Christie Cunningham, 35 and a mother of four, is a nurse at Boise Valley Asthma and Allergy. She’s seen her fair share of emergencies, and is trained to know exactly what to do in a number of situations.
Thanks to chance, circumstance, and good instincts by Cunningham’s daughter, Kailey, 8, the native Idahoan survived a terrifying episode in September of 2017.
Christie Cunningham picked her daughter up from school early one day in September; if she hadn’t, the nurse might not have lived.
Kailey, a second grader, wasn’t feeling well, and so her mother took her out of school early that day. While the two were home, Kailey noticed her mother acting strangely.
Cunningham was experiencing back pain. She laid down on the floor to use a foam roller, but had become paralyzed while on the ground.
Since her mother was unable to get herself up, Kailey wanted to call an ambulance. But Cunningham assured her everything was fine and that calling an ambulance wasn’t necessary.
Instead, Cunningham sent her daughter to fetch her a glass of water. When Kailey returned, she said her mother was talking funny, the side of her mouth was drooping, and she was unable to lift her arm to grab the water.
She continued to assure her child everything was alright, but Kailey wasn’t sure.
“Are you playing tricks?” Kailey asked her mom, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune.
Cunningham said she didn’t need an ambulance. Kailey, not want to disobey her mother, but realizing she was not well, called her dad.
Kailey got her father on the phone and explained the situation. He asked his daughter to give the phone to Cunningham, and when he heard the way his wife was speaking, called 911 right away.
“She (Kailey) caught it all,” Cunningham said to the Idaho Press-Tribune.
As a nurse, Cunningham was shocked that she didn’t pick up the signs of a stroke. She was told she’d had a stroke as a result of a hole in her heart. Doctors estimate approximately 20 percent of people have a similar affliction, but don’t know it.
Cunningham was not only young but didn’t have risk factors that could lead to a stroke, such as smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Cunningham underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair the hole in her heart that caused her to have a stroke.
Doctors were able to identify the problem and get Cunningham back to health quickly. But if it weren’t for her Kailey, the story might have turned out very different.
For her quick thinking, the girl was awarded a Life Saving Award in November in front of her classmates, the paramedics, and police.
Surgery to repair the hole in Cunningham’s heart was on Tuesday. She will have to take baby aspirin for the rest of her life because of the operation.
“This really makes you take nothing for granted,” she said. “I don’t want to miss out on anything.”
“I’m just glad she’s still alive,” Kailey said.