They say it takes a village to raise a child, yet it also takes an entire community to support and strengthen our health- no matter how old we are. That’s something Naz Rayani, owner of the Heart Pharmacy Group, discovered in 2010 when he suffered an unexpected stroke.
Naz was watching television in his living room when he began slurring his speech and repeating himself. His wife, who with him at the time, immediately noticed something wrong and called the paramedics, who took him to Victoria General Hospital. While Naz had been able to walk out the door when the ambulance arrived, within 24 hours he could no longer move or speak- a frightening experience for both Naz and his family.
Doctors determined that Naz had experienced a hemorrhagic stroke, likely brought on due to an infection in Naz’s artificial heart valve. After consultation between neurologists, cardiologists and infectious disease specialists, along with performing numerous tests, Naz was transferred to the rehabilitation ward where he began to relearn how to walk and talk.
Less than six weeks later, Naz suffered another stroke, which landed him back at square one- unable to walk or feed himself, and in severe pain. He went into congestive heart failure and had another heart surgery before starting rehab again.
“At his low points his function was so poor we worried about his survival and his ability to be ‘Naz’,” says Rasool Rayani, Naz’s son, who works with his father at Heart Pharmacy, along with his sister Zahra, a pharmacist.
But Naz rallied, thanks to a positive attitude and an outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community. A daily stream of visitors arrived at the hospital to chat (even when Naz couldn’t speak in return), read to him, and pray for him- which he says plays a key role in his recovery.
Heart Pharmacy offers workshops about a wide variety of topics, including preventing strokes, heart health and nutrition, as well as blood pressure clinics. Staff take every opportunity to educate patients, particularly those who are at risk or have had previous strokes, about signs of stroke.