FaceTime Chat Helps Idaho State Senator During Stroke

BOISE — An Idaho state senator is crediting modern technology and attentive family members for her speedy recovery from a mild stroke after her son recognized her symptoms during a “FaceTime” chat on their iPhones.

“I flew over to her house and took her to the hospital,” said Phillip Thompson, son of Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise. “I’ll always be a dedicated fan of the iPhone.”

Thompson said the incident happened last Sunday, when it had been getting late and Buckner-Webb hadn’t yet had her daily visit with almost-3-year-old Zaida, Thompson’s daughter and Buckner-Webb’s only granddaughter.

“Those two are joined at the hip,” Thompson said. “Her and I had been playing phone tag all day. … We FaceTime so they can see each other and talk when I don’t have time to run over there.”

But as Thompson began the call with his mother, he could tell something was wrong. “While we were talking, first she looked like she was very tired,” he said. “But then she messed up my daughter’s name twice, and that’s never going to happen.”

He immediately grew concerned. “I said, ‘Mom, are you all right?'” he said. “She couldn’t quite enunciate or pronounce things properly. … Some of her responses weren’t on point. You could see the right side of her face looking not as it should.”

That’s when Thompson, 37, dropped everything, drove to his mother’s Boise home and rushed her to the hospital, where she was admitted and treated right away.

“She’s doing quite well,” her son said. “We had her to the hospital in no time flat. They kept her a few days. … She’s speaking much better now. Her strength’s pretty good. She’s just working through it now. Everybody expects a full recovery.”

Buckner-Webb said in a statement Monday that she is “fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends and to have received excellent professional care,” and stressed the importance of learning the signs of a stroke, including one side of the face drooping, arm weakness and difficulty speaking.

The Idaho Senate’s minority caucus chair, she said she expects to be back in action in time for the start of the legislative session in January, declaring, “I will be standing tall as the legislative session begins.”

A first-term senator who previously served one term in the House, Buckner-Webb is the owner of Sojourner Coaching and a noted jazz singer.

Thompson said, “If you have adults that live away, you need an iPhone for them. I’m serious, that’s huge. … Seeing their face, you can actually see if something’s amiss.”


(c)2013 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)