Avera Medical Minute: Sioux Falls man focuses on recovery after having second stroke

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 7:43 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -May is National Stroke Awareness Month. It’s a good time to learn about the signs of stroke and prevention. So a Sioux Falls man is sharing his experience of having two strokes in hopes of helping others.

Alan Perry is working hard to improve mobility in his right hand after having a stroke in March.

“It went from being completely numb and I couldn’t move it, it wouldn’t even hang, I couldn’t even hold it straight up...That’s just kind of gradually gotten better,” said Perry.

He goes to therapy three times a week for 45 minutes a session.

“I can now actually eat with this hand. I’m a little slower and, you know, I take my time a little bit, but I can do it. And I can write very slowly and I’ve even typed a little bit on the computer with it. And I’ve also been able to use the mouse with this hand, so that’s been encouraging,” said Perry.

This is the second time Perry has experienced a stroke, which is common, according to Dr. Adil Shaikh, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician with Avera Medical Group.

“If you have had a stroke, you’ve already had compromised to some of the vessels in your brain and the actual brain matter itself. So that puts you at a higher risk,” said Dr. Shaikh.

Perry’s first stroke affected his memory. His second stroke affected his speech and movement on the right side of his body.

“The effect of a stroke depends on which part of the brain is affected,” said Dr. Shaikh.

To be able to identify all the signs of stroke Dr. Shaikh says to remember the acronym “BE FAST.”

B - Balance issues

E - Eye issues.

F - Face drooping or numbness.

A-Arm weakness or numbness

S - Speech difficulty,

T - Timing.

If you notice any of these signs, call 911 immediately like Perry’s wife did.

“The timing is very important. Some of the acute treatment that you need after you have a stroke is very time-sensitive…The best statistics are in the first couple of hours,” said Dr. Shaikh.

Dr. Shaikh says starting therapy right away is also important. Perry was referred to speech, physical and occupational therapy. As he’s improved, his main focus is now on his hand.

“When I first met him, he is a right-hand, dominant guy and he came to me using his left hand for everything. To eat, to dress himself, to write even, and then in the last couple weeks he’s made significant progress,” said Avera Occupational Therapist, Amanda Jacobsen.

Getting movement back has been frustrating, but Perry is making the best of it.

“Just don’t give up, you know. Just keep positive and, you know, work hard at whatever task they give you and hope for the best,” said Perry.

He’s also working on lowering his risk of having another stroke by visiting his doctors on a regular basis and living a healthier lifestyle.

“One of the things I want to do is be able to get back on my bicycle outside. I’ve been riding my exercise bike at home in the basement and I certainly would like to get back on the bike trail,” said Perry.

For more information on strokes, head to

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