Jamestown man makes 'miracle' recovery after stroke left him paralyzed
Charles “Chuck” Christ had a stroke in April 2022.
JAMESTOWN – A Jamestown man who was told he would never walk again said his recovery is a “miracle.”
“I can walk and I can move my arm a little bit,” he said. “I could not do that before.”
Charles “Chuck” Christ, who used to be a race car and stunt driver and professional repairman, had a stroke in April 2022. He said he woke up around 4 a.m. to use the restroom and just went down.
“I was paralyzed on the ground for 12 hours straight before my son found me,” he said.
Christ said he was aware of everything that was going on, but he just couldn’t move. He said he could hear his phone ringing about 3 feet away from him.
“I couldn’t move my arms or legs to grab the phone,” he said.
Christ said his son, Billie, tried to call his phone because the two were going to a racing banquet in Lisbon, North Dakota.
“He came over and I was laying on the ground in the bathroom,” he said.
Christ was taken by ambulance to Jamestown Regional Medical Center before he was transported to Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck. He said family members were told he might not make it.
“It was pretty bad. I had my son, who lives in North Carolina, come down here,” he said. “They called him right away and told him he better come here and see his old man for the last time.”
On a GoFundMe page that was created by Billie Christ, he wrote the Sanford neurology team confirmed his father had two collapsed arteries near his brain stem.
“With the length of time between when the stroke happened and when medical attention was received, the doctors determined that any type of surgery or medication to reverse the effects of the stroke would only cause more damage,” he wrote.
Chuck Christ said he stayed in a nursing home for a few months after being in a hospital for two weeks.
He was told he would never walk again. But he attended physical therapy to try to get himself to walk again.
He said he started physical therapy with Thielges Therapy and later went to JRMC. He said he did exercises with machines and worked with other electrode machines.
He has a brace on his left foot to help him walk, he said.
“If I didn’t have that brace on I couldn’t walk,” he said. “Below the knee is numb.”
Not only can Christ walk, he can also move his left arm.
Amy Walz, an occupational therapist at JRMC, gave Christ Christmas crafts with cotton puffs and tinseled pipe cleaners as therapy to work on hand dexterity and motor skills, a news release from JRMC says. Walz knew Christ liked working with his hands.
“Some of the best therapy comes spontaneously when you ask a question and listen to their needs,” Walz said in the news release. “I’m glad we did these exercises; I had not seen Chuck smile and light up like that in a long time.”
Christ said he had no signs that he would have a stroke in April. He said he felt good and his heart and kidneys are in good condition.
“The night before I had no idea it was going to happen,” he said. “I went to bed that night like no problem like every other night. I am a diabetic. I don’t know if that made any difference or not.”
He said he doesn’t wish it upon anybody to have a stroke and become paralyzed.
“Even my worst enemies, I would not wish it upon them,” he said. “I’ve said that since day one.”
Every year, the JRMC emergency department treats about 40 people experiencing a stroke, according to a news release from JRMC. In 2022, JRMC partnered with Essentia Health to offer on-call telestroke services.
“A push of a button brings a neurologist into the room, interacting with the patient,” said Nikki Mack, registered nurse and “stroke champion” for monitoring care and improving outcomes, in the news release.