17 Years Old Slept in His Friend’s House Then He Woke Up to Find Out the Shock of His Life

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Cody Dietz, a teenager from York, Pennsylvania, was your ordinary adolescent. As a 17-year-old, he enjoyed spending time with his peers and attending sleepovers on a regular basis. As it occurred, he’d been living a normal life until something happened one night that altered everything.

Cody’s mother, Bonnie, attempted to contact her son on his cell phone and inquire as to when he expected to return home, but he didn’t answer the call. When he didn’t return her call after a short period of time, she realized that something was seriously wrong. She tried calling him over and over again, but he didn’t pick up the phone. Bonnie began to feel apprehensive.

More information on Cody’s story can be seen in the following video. Cody’s father’s phone finally rang, but it wasn’t Cody who was on the other end of the line. Cody’s companion informed them that Cody was unable to stand and was murmuring unintelligibly at the time of the incident. While he was holding the phone up to Cody’s mouth, all his father could hear was gurgling noises on the other end of it.

Cody’s parents were aware that something was badly wrong, and an ambulance was dispatched immediately. When the paramedics arrived, they initially thought Cody had suffered a stroke. However, he was later proved incorrect. He was flown to the nearest hospital in a rescue chopper as soon as they discovered him, and it was then that their fears were confirmed.

Dr. Ray Reischwein, the hospital’s neurologist, expressed considerable concern about Cody’s condition, saying, “The timeliness of the diagnosis is critical. Many of the therapies produce the best results when they’re completed within six hours.” Cody’s delay in receiving a diagnosis was approximately 12 hours.

In severe condition, Cody was sent to an MRI scan, which revealed that he had suffered a stroke on the left side of his brain. He only had a 20% chance of surviving the situation because of the amount of time that had gone between Cody’s stroke and his arrival at the hospital. Physicians were forced to undertake a difficult surgery that included the removal of the top of his skull in order to relieve the pressure on his brain. They would also reduce Cody’s body to 33 degrees Celsius or 91 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a process that’s commonly utilized on patients having open heart surgery and brain surgery. The cooling of the body minimizes the amount of oxygen consumed by the brain, preventing brain cells from being killed.

Cody spent three weeks in an induced coma following the procedure, during which time his parents feared for his life. During Bonnie’s time spent by her son’s bedside, trying not to lose hope, she recalled that Cody displayed signs of illness a week before suffering a stroke. He’d spoken slowly and garbled his words, and she’d seen that his limbs were twitching constantly throughout the conversation. The reason for this odd behavior had now been identified.

When Cody was brought out of his coma by physicians, the magnitude of the damage caused by the stroke was immediately apparent. The right side of his body was paralyzed, and he was unable to speak or write anymore. Doctors informed the family that their son’s rehabilitation would take a long time, and that they could not expect him to make a full recovery.

After a few weeks, Cody astonished everyone by regaining his ability to talk, and after two years of hard rehabilitation, he was back to his previous level of fitness. Following his horrific experience, Cody’s dedicated himself to educating other teenagers and their parents about the symptoms that can indicate the onset of a forthcoming stroke. “I wish I’d gone to the doctor sooner, but who knows what could have happened,” Cody said.

It’s also his mother, Bonnie, who’s been working tirelessly to raise awareness about the hazards and symptoms to watch out for. These include a feeling of faintness, facial paralysis, slurred speech, and eyesight issues. “My suggestion to parents is to not overlook any signals that their child may be experiencing,” Bonnie cautioned. “The most significant issue with strokes is that they’re extremely difficult for people to notice. It’s common for people to believe that strokes only occur in older people and to disregard the symptoms when they manifest themselves in younger adults and youngsters.”

The unfortunate irony of this is that doctors have actually detected a rise in the number of stroke cases among teenagers and children, and they believe this is due to an increase in the number of people living unhealthy lives. The fact is that many teenagers smoke, drink, and do drugs in the mistaken belief that they’re immortal. Unfortunately, many of them learn the hard way that they’re not, in fact, immortal.

Hopefully, by raising awareness among youth and their parents about the dangers of stroke and learning to recognize the signs and symptoms, strokes can be avoided or, at the very least, dealt with before it’s too late. The onset of a stroke can occur at any stage.

When Cody Dietz failed to awaken the morning after a party, his pals assumed he was suffering from a hangover and allowed him to sleep. They had no idea that their 17-year-old friend had suffered a stroke that may have resulted in his death, but it happened. The father of his friend contacted me and said, “Your son is stumbling around. Can I call 9-1-1?” Cody’s mother, Bonnie Dietz, recalled the events of July 30th, 2008, when Cody was killed. She explained that the boys had been drinking at another location the night before and had gone to his friend’s house thereafter.

A CAT scan performed at York Hospital’s emergency department revealed that her son had suffered a major left brain stroke. He was airlifted to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center by Life Lion helicopter, whereas neurologist Dr. Ray Reichwein had no time to waste in making critical decisions on his behalf. “The diagnosis must be made within a specific time frame. Many of the treatments are most effective when administered within six hours. Cody’s delay in diagnosis was close to 12 hours,” said Reichwein, who was unable to administer some of the conventional treatments due to the delay in diagnosis.

Cody’s friend’s lack of knowledge is not uncommon. Most adults, let alone teenagers, are unaware that a teenager can suffer a stroke, according to medical professionals. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, stroke is one of the top 10 causes of mortality among children, and the number of children who die from it is increasing.

Reichwein, head of Hershey’s Stroke Program, said that over the past several years, the usual risk factors—things like obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, smoking, and a more sedentary lifestyle—have become more prevalent in children. Those risk factors are associated with a considerable increase in the rise of a stroke. To make matters worse, most teenagers are unaware of their risk factors, and they’re unaware that certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, using marijuana, or taking birth control pills, can put them at even greater risk of having a stroke, according to Kathy Morrison, manager of Hershey’s Stroke Program.

“Most teenagers are unaware of their risk factors,” she said. “Because teenagers believe they’re indestructible and believe that stroke is mainly a problem for old people, adolescent stroke isn’t even on their radar screen,” according to Morrison, who’s in charge of Hershey’s School Age Stroke Awareness Program.

When Cody’s story is told to kids, they’re very taken aback, she says. “It doesn’t get much more dramatic than this for him.” Cody was suffering from severe brain swelling, and there was nowhere for it to go. In the absence of further intervention, his type of stroke carries an 80% mortality risk, and his was likely close to 100%, said Reichwein, who removed part of Cody’s skull and extended the lining over the surface of the brain to reduce swelling.

Cody was next subjected to therapeutic hypothermia, in which his body was cooled to 33 degrees in order to aid in the survival of injured brain cells and the reduction of edema. After several days, the swelling had subsided to a minor degree. In spite of this, his mother stated, “We weren’t sure whether he would make it for another three weeks. We had a large number of people praying for him. His presence here, I believe, is solely due to the grace of God.”

In the wake of the stroke on his left brain side, Reichwein explained that his speech and understanding were impaired, as was his ability to use his right side and dominant hand. “We have such a positive outcome given the extent of his brain injuries. It’s nothing short of a miracle. I’m not the only one working here. There’s another women in their 20s and 30s who were on the birth control pill are among the young stroke victims seen by Robin Petras, executive and program director at the Central Pennsylvania Aphasia Center in Danville, who says she encounters a significant number of young stroke victims. Taking contraceptives has been linked to a higher risk of stroke than other health risks, in her opinion.

“When someone is young, they don’t necessarily identify the signs of a stroke, especially if they come and go,” according to Reichwein. It’s critical that people understand that strokes may occur at any age and they’re aware of these signs and symptoms, and that they do not disregard them because “time is brain,” as the saying goes.

One of the most common symptoms is a rapid onset of weakness, usually on one side of the body, such as facial drooping or arm weakness. Other symptoms include speech or language difficulties, visual loss or double vision, and a lack of coordination, according to him. A severe headache accompanied by neck stiffness could be an indication of an aneurysm. Heart attacks and strokes are similar in that both include vascular events, but a stroke is different in that it affects the brain rather than the heart, according to Morrison. Because stroke is not painful, people may choose to wait for the symptoms to subside, but this is the worst thing they can do.

Stroke may be prevented in 80% of cases if risk factors are controlled, according to Morrison, who believes that education is extremely crucial. Cody, now 21 years old, and his mother, who live in Lower Windsor Township, York County, share their experience with new workers at the medical center and at hospital grand rounds. Their story is also featured in a movie that’s presented at school in health fair presentations across the country.

“Don’t disregard any signals your youngster may have,” Bonnie Dietz advises parents. “This could be a TIA or mini-stroke,” according to Reichwein. Ignoring a TIA for three months increases the risk of stroke by 20%, according to Reichwein. Cody had multiple variables that put him at risk for a stroke while not having obvious warning signs. A pinhole in his heart and a genetic clotting issue were all hidden from him. He also drank that day during the party. “I wish I’d seen a doctor before my stroke, but who knows?”

Cody had to relearn everything from walking and talking to eating and writing throughout his five-week hospital stay and three-week rehabilitation stay. He still has three weekly sessions of PT, OT, vision, and aqua. Cody struggles to express himself, frustrate him every day, but he remains optimistic that he being present was a plus. His mom is always supportive.

“What has God promised you?” I constantly ask Cody. “Absolutely,” Cody said. “It’s happening.” Thanks for watching.

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