This wasn’t on the calendar

For Stéphane, a golden thread woven into his pajamas serves as a permanent reminder of one fateful night. 

Andrea Lutz
Published on 11. Mai 2021

Stéphane had his pajama shirt repaired using a golden thread. A dramatic event in his life had a happy ending, and he wanted this golden thread to remind him of it. The thread mirrors the Kintsugi style of pottery repair.  Kintsugi is a traditional Japanese technique used for repairing broken pottery. Gold-dusted lacquer is used to rejoin the shards and thus emphasizes the cracks and adds beauty to the piece’s imperfections. 

<p>“Not everybody gets a second chance in life,” says Stéphane. The telecommunications engineer has always been driven by – as he puts it – “very high expectations” of himself.&nbsp;</p>
<p>One morning, Stéphane collapsed. His wife immediately dialed the emergency number. Because everything had to happen very fast, his pajamas were cut open for the examinations. That marked a sort of “cutting off” of Stéphane’s old lifestyle. Later, when he awoke in the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, the ambitious engineer once again felt that familiar restlessness. “I have to be ready for a meeting in two days,” he thought while a team of doctors fought to keep him alive.</p>
Portrait of Stéphane
Stéphane likes to swim
<p>Now, when Stéphane goes swimming, he does it unhurriedly. “You don’t have to swim fast to have fun swimming,” he says. These days, nearly every sentence he utters sounds like a mantra. But Stéphane didn’t have this realization until he was rehabbing from a stroke.</p>
<p>Marios Psychogios, MD, Head of Neuroradiology at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland<br></p>
Marios Psychogios, MD
<p>"I was called because there was a young patient with a stroke and severe symptoms,” recalls Marios Psychogios, MD, who heads the department of neuroradiology at the University Hospital Basel. His patient couldn’t speak, and the right side of his body was limp. So Psychogios acted quickly – very quickly – because his mantra when it comes to possible stroke is: Time is brain.</p>
<p>“I’m a competitive guy,” says Stéphane. And that attitude helped him recover after the <a href="What is a thrombectomy?" class="cp-fab-text-highlight">thrombectomy</a>, the procedure in which the blood clot in his bran was removed. “If I put my mind to something, I give it my all to accomplish it,” he says. And today, he has put his mind to celebrating every day of his life.&nbsp;<br></p>
Stéphane recovers best in the alps of switzerland

A thrombectomy is a gentle procedure used to remove a clot from a blood vessel. 

<p></p><p>Gian Marco De Marchis, MD, Deputy Director Stroke Unit, also achieved his goal. Not every patient is able to return to life with no long-term damage:<br></p><p></p>
Gian Marco De Marchis, MD, Deputy Director Stroke Unit

By Andrea Lutz
Andrea Lutz is a journalist and business trainer specialized on medical topics, technology, and healthcare IT. She lives in Nuremberg, Germany.