👨‍❤️‍👩‘I was right this one day:’ Husband of 51 years detects wife’s stroke

Couple celebrates anniversary in hospital

ORLANDO, Fla. – A unique photo making its rounds in a Central Florida hospital is giving perspective and bringing awareness to stroke symptoms.

“My right arm flew across the table, knocked over my water... My arm would not work. I could not hold anything,” 86-year-old Ginny Lukasik said.

Ginny and her husband, Frank, were sitting at home over the summer when he noticed something strange.

“She wasn’t able to speak and I assumed it was a stroke right from the start... something wasn’t right,” Frank said.

Frank called 911 and paramedics arrived. Turns out, Ginny was having a massive stroke and was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

“She came to our hospital and was evaluated and was found to have a blood vessel that was secluded in her brain,” said Dr. Marshall Cress, director of neurovascular surgery.

Dr. Cress performed emergency surgery to remove the blocked vessel. All of this happened as the couple marked their 51st anniversary.

“The trauma nurse did not think I was going to make it,” Ginny said.

The surgery was successful. Frank was by her side on their anniversary as Ginny was moved to the recovery room, a bystander capturing a photo of the two, arms linked, walking down the hallway of the hospital. The photo has been shared throughout the hospital.

Ginny and Frank Lukasik walking the halls at ORMC after surgery. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

“It’s emotional. You never get to see the cool moments like this,” Cress said.

“Either the RN brought us up a piece of cake or our granddaughter (did). We ate that together in my room... so that was our anniversary. No dinner, just desert,” Ginny said.

Months later, the couple reunited with Dr. Cress, the Neurosurgeon they say saved Ginny’s life.

With the holidays in full swing, Marshall Cress said this is a reminder for people to look out for the signs of stroke when visiting loved ones.

“One of the things we like to use is the acronym called BEFAST. We’re looking at balance, eyes, facial weakness, arm weakness, speech, and t stands for time,” Cress said.

  • Balance - Sudden loss of balance or coordination.
  • Eyes - Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Face - Ask the person to smile. Look to see if it’s uneven.
  • Arm - Ask the person to raise both arms. Check if one arm is weak.
  • Speech - Ask the person to speak. Listen for slurring.
  • Time - Call 911 at the first sign of stroke.

According to Cress, Frank luckily didn’t waste any time when he noticed the symptoms of a stroke.

“My wife is always right most of the time, but this time I put on the calendar: ‘I was right this one day,’” Frank said.

The couple is thankful to spend more time with family this Christmas and to continue their more than 50-year romance.

“I think the secret to a successful marriage is to listen to what your spouse is saying and try to understand his point of view and not always thinking of your own point of view,” Ginny said.

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About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.