Father hikes 10 miles for help after son has mini-stroke in wilderness
PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KOVR) - A 26-year-old California man is recovering after having a mini-stroke in the remote wilderness. He’s thanking first responders and his father for his life.
Brian Lee, 26, and his father, David Lee, were all smiles on their April 24 backpacking trip on Bake Oven Trail outside Foresthill, California. But the tough trail became the least of their worries when Brian Lee felt a tingling in his arm and lips while they were setting up camp.
“I started just sweating, and then, my speech went out the window. I remember the first thing I said to my father was ‘Why am I talking like this?’”
David Lee says he recognized his son’s symptoms as signs of a stroke. As it turned out, a mini-stroke, or transient ischemic attack, had temporarily blocked blood flow to the normally healthy 26-year-old’s brain.
“It was really frightening. At that point, I told my father I was scared,” Brian Lee said.
Knowing the attack could be very serious, David Lee got his son squared away in their tent then hiked more than 10 miles to call 911.
“When I set out to leave him there, I did spend a few minutes thinking, ‘Is it better for me stay with him, or is it better for me to go? I’m leaving him without anybody here.’ That was a really frightening decision,” David Lee said.
Before he left and as darkness set in, David Lee set up a strobe light to show his son’s location.
Early the next morning, Brian Lee was airlifted to safety by a search and rescue team made up of members of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol and others.
Brian Lee is now recovering from the incident, crediting his father’s quick actions and preparedness along with rescuers for his life.
“I appreciate that so much, and it’s very possible that everyone involved that day had a hand in saving my life,” Brian Lee said.
Officials say the story is a reminder to hike with others and be prepared for an emergency.
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