Life After Stroke: Why This Stroke Survivor Pays it Forward

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During a shopping trip for Halloween with her daughter, Kim Archambault began to experience an intense headache. When she got home, her symptoms got worse, and she complained to her daughter Annie that she could not see out of one eye.

kim archambault and grandchildren

Her daughter contacted her stepfather right away, Kim’s husband Dan, who immediately called 911. It was 2005, Kim was 50 years old, and she had just experienced a catastrophic hemorrhagic stroke.

Kim relies on her loved ones for this memory, along with memories of the care she received several weeks after, as she has no recollection of that time. Dr. Dennis Oh (pictured in the bottom photo), now chief of Baystate Health’s Division of Neurosurgery, was one of the providers who delivered lifesaving care to Kim when she arrived at Baystate Medical Center's Emergency Department. 

Kim’s stroke was so severe they did not expect her to survive the night. Dr. Oh relieved the pressure on her brain, controlled the bleeding, and she continued to recover. She spent three weeks at Baystate Medical Center and then was transferred to a rehabilitation facility for a month. She needed physical, cognitive, and occupational therapy related to deficits in speech, swallowing, cognition, and physical coordination.

Life After Stroke

Today, over 15 years later, Kim works for the healthcare organization that saved her life. Nine years after her stroke, she was hired as an Access Service Representative in the Baystate Health Contact Center.

“I’m sorry I found Baystate Health so late in my work life,” says Kim. “I love working there and supporting the care team.”

She has some residual health issues from her stroke and still sees Dr. Oh as needed. “Physically, I have some balance issues still, I have a funky eyeball due to the pressure on the optic nerve from the bleed, and my short-term memory can be an issue. But I’ve learned to adapt and for my memory I keep pads of paper around me so I can take notes,” she says.

Kim with Dr Oh

Kim has raised four children and has 10 grandchildren, who she never would have known if not for her remarkable recovery.

Giving Back

“I am so grateful to Dr. Oh, the physicians, nurses, and all the team members who did not give up on me. I really feel terrific and have such a rewarding job helping those in need in the city of Springfield who receive care in our health centers," says Kim. “I’m doing so well, and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to give back to others.”

In photo, Kim with Dr. Oh taken in 2018 pre-COVID-19.

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