Jim “Steve” Mayhan and Matthew Bonner, MD, emergency medicine physician.

Jim “Steve” Mayhan has more to be thankful for this November as he returns to work after suffering from a severe stroke earlier this year.
Mayhan is a deputy sheriff at the Garvin County Courthouse in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. On Aug. 16, Mayhan was returning from lunch and grabbed a door handle, feeling like he was shocked, then going completely paralyzed on one side of his body.
Mayhan was able to drag himself down a hallway to get the attention of one of his deputies who called 911. When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics told him he needed to be transported to an Oklahoma City hospital by helicopter, but when he took a turn for the worse, the helicopter diverted to Norman Regional HealthPlex in Norman. Upon arrival to the HealthPlex, Mayhan remembers Matthew Bonner, MD, emergency medicine physician, calling a “code stroke.”
Dr. Bonner told Mayhan they needed to do a computed tomography (CT) scan to see if there was bleeding on his brain, and if there was, he would need to go directly into surgery.
“It was very scary, but we did the CT scan and thank God there was no bleeding on the brain,” Mayhan said.
Mayhan was then given a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). A tPA has to be administered within four hours of a stroke to be effective.
After stabilizing Mayhan, Norman Regional’s EMSSTAT paramedic team transported him to Norman Regional Hospital, which is home to the health system’s stroke program and dedicated stroke unit. He was admitted directly into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Mayhan said the first night in ICU was long and scary, as he couldn’t feel one of his arms, but he was surprised and excited the next day when he was able to lift his hand.
From the ICU, Mayhan was transferred to the Progressive Care Unit (PCU) before going to Inpatient Rehabilitation. His entire stay totaled nine days.
“I’m glad [the medical flight team] came here because I had a good experience. I have nothing but praise for Norman Regional. I was expected to be in Rehab for two weeks, but instead I was only there for three days. The doctors and nurses kept calling it a ‘remarkable recovery,’ which was the result of the tPA, but they also acknowledged that it had to do with lots of prayers,” Mayhan said. “The doctors, nurses and entire staff—everybody was really good and so caring to us.”
Becky, Mayhan’s wife, said that everyone she came in contact with was good to her and everyone explained everything in detail so she was never left unsure about Mayhan’s treatment plan. Becky stayed by Mayhan’s side the entire nine days. The nurses even showed her a place where she could shower and clean up without having to leave her husband.
“It was a very scary time, but it was a very good experience. This hospital is one of the things to be thankful for—we have a big circle of things to be thankful for this year and God orchestrated it all,” Becky said.
Mayhan walked into the HealthPlex less than two months after his stroke to personally thank Dr. Bonner and his other emergency medicine doctors for saving his life.
Dr. Bonner said he was happy to see how well Mayhan has recovered, commenting on the fact that no one would even be able to tell he recently recovered from a stroke.
“I love hearing ‘thank you,’ especially in person—it means a lot,” Dr. Bonner told Mayhan.
Mayhan is still attending outpatient physical therapy sessions, as well as doing follow up visits with Brett Dees, MD, a board-certified neurologist. Dr. Dees released him back to work this month.
“Dr. Dees is super. He has the best bedside manner I’ve ever seen. He sits and talks to you and makes you feel like you’re somebody important,” Mayhan said.
Now that Mayhan is back to work, he said he’s busy, but feeling great and it seems like everything is smoothing out again.
“I’m very thankful to have this time to just visit after all the dark times we went through. It finally feels like I’m back to my normal life,” Mayhan said.

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