RHINELANDER - Doctors with a particular specialty can be hard to find here in the Northwoods.
For patients having a stroke, that can be a scary thought.
Rhinelander's Bill Roesler woke up to a normal day in late March.
He got up, did some chores, made coffee, and let the dog out.
"I did what I usually do, I went and laid back in bed, laying on my back. All of a sudden, the whole arm just went numb. Just instantaneously," Roesler says. "Then when the left leg didn't start - wasn't cooperating, was dragging - I knew that something was wrong."
It was a stroke.
Bill's wife rushed him to the Emergency Room at Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.
Within 10 minutes, Bill had taken the preliminary stroke tests.
But there was no stroke expert scheduled at that time.
So he became the first-ever Rhinelander patient to use TeleStroke.
"We'll then start using the camera and start asking the patient to do certain things. We'll start examining them, and see if the clinical signs we're seeing on the camera correlate to the ischemic stroke process," says Neurologist / Neurointensivist Dr. Jesse Corry.
Over a video connection, Corry in Marshfield determined Bill needed medication administered in Rhinelander right away.
He also needed to come to Ministry St. Joseph's in Marshfield.
That's where he got the full stroke treatment and now is back to feeling well.
But if Bill had needed to travel all the way to Marshfield before seeing a specialist, things might have turned out differently.
"Here in a northern community, up here there are smaller hospitals, nobody around here has a neurologist on staff 24/7, to have a big hospital like Marshfield, have this available," says Roesler. "It's the medicine of the future."
Bill will again become a pioneer in this TeleStroke technology with his follow-up and recovery going forward.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Winter can be hard on everything, but you might not think it's hard on fish. They're protected under a layer of ice from the weather. But that layer of ice can create problems if it lasts too long.
"You don't get enough light penetration that goes down into the water. So there's no photosynthesis by the algae in the water so there's no oxygen that's produced," says Jim Kreitlow, DNR Lakes Biologist
Big bucks to expand nutrition, physical education in Wisconsin schools
WISCONSIN - Seven Wisconsin school districts have been awarded a total of $3.2 million in federal grants to help them expand their nutrition and physical-education programs.
To qualify, the districts have to implement programs that teach students healthy eating habits and good nutrition. They also have to make sure kids have access to certain physical fitness activities, which could include fitness assessments or developing certain team skills.
The largest grant is going to the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, which will receive about $850,000. The Mukwonago Area School District and Pittsville School District will each get about $445,000.
WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.
That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.
That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.
The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.
An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.
For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.
"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."
The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.
A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.
"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."
The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.
Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.
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