Anchorage photographer survives stroke, highlighting importance of preventative measures

Anchorage, Alaska (KTUU) – For the past 20 years, Eberhard Brunner has traveled the world with a camera in his hands.

“I love a challenge and I love being outside,” Brunner said of exploring his hobby. “Seeing if I could do a better and better job.”

His travels from Alaska have taken him to East Africa, where he’s looking forward to snapping that perfect shot. Brunner said timing and patience were key to his success.

“I saw that tiger get into the pile of rocks there at 9 a.m., and I got the photo at 5 p.m.,” Brunner said, describing waiting for the tiger to come out of its lair for dinner. It was in Africa.

Just as timing is important for photography, Brunner said it is also important after a stroke. The medical staff at Alaska Regional Hospital would agree.

“Time is a mind. The brain is important,” said Tami Spade, MD, stroke coordinator at Alaska Regional Hospital.

It’s a fact Brunner knows all too well. The elderly citizen had a stroke in October 2021.

Brunner recalls the moment his stroke struck him: “I walked from the kitchen to the living room, and I kind of fell.” “I didn’t lose consciousness, but I couldn’t speak.”

Brunner fell to the ground, suffered a stroke in front of his family.

“I heard them talking to me but I couldn’t answer them,” Brunner said.

According to Brunner, an ambulance arrived within 20 minutes and took him to Alaska Regional Hospital for treatment, saving the precious minutes that made all the difference.

“This is the most important thing. Every minute a stroke occurs, two million neurons are damaged or affected,” Spade said.

Hospital staff said Brunner was lucky to have been with his family while he had a stroke. They say knowing the signs of a stroke is helpful in being able to help those who may be experiencing it, or who may begin to experience symptoms on their own.

An easy way for employees to say to remember stroke symptoms is to use the acronym FAST Broken down, where the first three letters stand for facial droop, arm weakness, and difficulty speaking. The letter “T” indicates when to call 911. Experts say emergency responders should be called immediately.

“It is very important to know the signs and symptoms of stroke so that you can identify them on your own or someone close to you,” Spade said.

These days, Brunner is looking forward to spending the summer fishing and coming back outside to take pictures. He said he’s getting better and taking daily walks.

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