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Leann Heim, Big Lake, On the Road to Recovery

LeAnn HeimOn a day like any other, Walter Heim of Big Lake, had put in a full day at work and was excited to go home and see his wife, LeAnn. He was startled to see a police officer behind him and pulled over to let him pass. But the real surprise came was when he arrived at home to see the police officer in his driveway.

LeAnn had been at home and while talking to colleagues on the phone mentioned she had a headache and was on the floor. “After that, everything went black.” LeAnn said. Thankfully, employees at her office called 911.

When Walter and the police officer found LeAnn, she was laying on the kitchen floor and appeared to be having a seizure. An ambulance arrived and took LeAnn to St. Cloud Hospital.

“When I got to the emergency room, everyone kept saying, ‘your wife is very sick,’ and I didn’t know what that meant,” Walter said. Walter came to learn that LeAnn had experienced a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke that is more rare and devastating than a normal stroke.

In addition to the stroke, LeAnn’s brain had swelled and doctors needed to remove a bone flap from her head to reduce pressure. Placed into a medical-induced coma, LeAnn’s condition was dire and her future ominous.

Never Give Up

Ten years earlier, LeAnn and Walter had read about amazing medical stories. At that time LeAnn had told him, “Whatever you do, don’t let them stop — keep praying. Trust in God. Miracles can happen.” Given his earlier conversation with LeAnn, Walter didn’t waiver.

At one point in LeAnn’s care, her family and care team came to a crossroads. They were contemplating additional procedures to prolong her life or end-of-life care. “Staff told me she was going to be in a nursing home the rest of her life, that she would probably get an infection and die an excruciating death,” Walter said.

After a two-month hospital stay, LeAnn, still unable to move, was transferred to an inpatient rehab facility, closer to their home, where she has been for six months. Today, she’s walking, talking and getting stronger every day. After going from a caregiver at work, to being cared for, LeAnn is anxious to go home and get back to her job serving others.

“This accident really changed my life,” LeAnn said. “I try to live in the moment and not rush to the next thing. I believe my experience was divine intervention. With God, all things are possible. I’m 50 and I survived a stroke. There will be a full recovery — I plan on it.”

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