Your Health: Ex-firefighter recovering from stroke - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Your Health: Ex-firefighter recovering from stroke

Ted McKelvey (Source: WAFF) Ted McKelvey (Source: WAFF)

Imagine living life to its fullest, professionally and personally, and being sidelined by a stroke. That's what happened to one Decatur man, but he's taking charge of his life and pushing himself to achieve his goals.

Ted McKelvey is a friendly face to staff and patients at River City Center. In October of last year, McKelvey, then 44 years old, was asleep when his ex-wife got his attention.

"She woke me up and said, ‘Hey I think you've had a stroke.’ I told her I just needed a drink of water that my throat felt funny," McKelvey said.

He said he knew something was wrong and his ex-wife called 911.

"The only thing I was cognizant of was waking up and couldn't talk right and couldn't move part of my body. And then I was worried about trying to get halfway dressed before the fire department got there, so I actually was able to use a little bit of my own willpower and strength to get up and get my clothes gathered up and get dressed,” he said.

McKelvey is a former battalion chief and a 25-year paramedic for the city of Decatur.

"The crew from station 5, which as a battalion chief, I knew all, most of them,” he said.

They set out for Huntsville hospital with his buddies talking to him, trying to keep him calm.

"They were talking about what they were doing, and one of them used the word stroke. And actually what I had was a septic stroke,” McKelvey said. "A septic stroke is when you have an infection in your system, and the infection in my system set up in my heart valve and messed up my aortic heart valve and that's where the clot they think it came from."

This event comes from an infection.

"A few months before this happened, I had a small abscess on my knee,” he said.

He had to leave the force via medical retirement.

"I could not provide for the safety of the folks that I worked with, so I did not want to put them in danger and or myself in danger,” he said.

But thanks to a lot of therapy, he's making progress and anxious to get his former life back.

"Bits and pieces of it back, but not quite to the level that I want yet. One of the hardest things to do is not to give up,” he said.

He has some major goals to help him.

“I'd love to be back where I could meet the physical requirements to be back at the fire department. I do not want to be on disability for the rest of my life,” he said.

One goal has been reached.

"My daughter's wedding was coming up after Thanksgiving and I wanted to walk her down the aisle,” he said.

He said he got there on a crutch. Those who know him believe it was grit and prayer.

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