Retired pastor thankful for Palmetto Health stroke care

Posted on 5/29/2018

Palmetto Health recognizes National Stroke Awareness Month with stories of patients who experienced a terrifying time in their lives, but found the care they needed and the strength within themselves to pull through and recover. This is the fourth and final story we will be highlighting during the month of May.

“I had come back home from a trip to the post office, and when I came back inside the house, that’s when it happened.”

Retired pastor Ernest Liferidge suddenly felt dizzy and lightheaded. His wife noticed his unusual condition and called their daughter, who recognized the signs and dialed 911. An ambulance arrived and rushed Ernest to Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, where he was asked questions about his symptoms and tests were conducted.

“They told me I had a stroke,” says Ernest, “and then they sent me to the Palmetto Health Richland Stroke Center by ambulance.”

Luckily, the stroke that Ernest suffered was a mild one and he got care quickly. “They gave me medication and I stayed for one night,” he says. “I went home the next evening.”

Ernest was especially thankful for the Palmetto Health doctors and nurses easing his fears during a very scary time. “They told me to relax and that they would take care of me. They made me feel like, ‘hey, you’re not the only one to go through this—you’re going to be okay,’ and I really appreciated that because a hundred things were going through my mind. Was I going to have to go through the scanner? Was this going to happen to me again? They treated me like a person and made me feel like everything was going to be alright.”

Ernest is looking forward to a complete recovery. “I’m doing great. I’m about 95 percent back to where I was before the stroke. I have no physical impairment, no slurred speech or anything like that.”

Having a stroke has changed Ernest’s outlook on taking care of himself. “I’ve learned to watch myself, to watch what I eat. Before the stroke, I knew that certain things were bad, but I did them anyway. I never smoked, but raising four children can have an impact on your diet. And as a pastor in a church, everybody fed me, and fed me well. Some of it was good and healthy, but some of it was not so healthy. I hated not to eat it because they went through so much trouble to prepare it, and so it was easy to get caught in a kind of catch-22.”

Ernest advises, “Take care of yourself. Don’t wait until you get into your 50s and 60s. Start when you’re young. I would tell anyone that, especially young black men, because we’re more prone to strokes and heart attacks. Just take care of yourself from an early age and don’t act like it can’t happen to you.”

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Expert physicians and advanced technology have earned the Stroke Center at Palmetto Health accreditation as an Advanced Certification Primary Stroke Center from The Joint Commission.

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