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Horicon EMT returns home after medical emergency

June 30, 2018 GMT

HORICON — A Horicon EMT returned home on Thursday night after spending two weeks in the hospital following an aneurysm.

Katy Gripentrog was at home on June 13 around midnight when she started to feel severe pressure in her head.

“For me, I felt a pop and then the most intense pressure and pain I have ever felt before,” Gripentrog said. “Then came a deafening humming in my ears and then my vision went. I went numb through most of my body and at that point became pretty unaware of everything.”

Her mother rushed over after Katy’s husband, Jake, contacted her, and they decided to call 911. Gripentrog had a ruptured aneurysm.

A brain aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic website. An aneurysm can cause bleeding after a leak or a rupture. A ruptured aneurysm can be life-threatening.

“Because of my family history and knowing it is something that can run in families, I knew pretty quickly that was what was happening,” Gripentrog said. “However, I wasn’t able to verbalize what had happened by the time the emergency responders got to me.”

Gripentrog works full time as a hair stylist and part time as an EMT in Horicon.

“I have been an EMT for six to seven years, and I also worked as a tech in the ER at Aurora in Oshkosh,” Gripentrog said.

She was taken to Beaver Dam Community Hospital, where a CT scan was done and they found a brain bleed due to the ruptured aneurysm. She was flown by helicopter to University Hospital in Madison.

She underwent a surgery on June 15 that lasted all morning to repair the bleed.

“I have no recall of the ambulance, Beaver Dam Emergency Department, the helicopter and the first couple days in Madison,” Gripentrog said. “The staff at UW was amazing and very accommodating for my situation. The flight crew that brought me there even came and checked on me and asked me to bring my up to see the deck.”

Gripentrog is at home now with her husband Jake and their two children. She doesn’t expect any complications.

“Being home is amazing, something I didn’t think I would be able to do again after that night,” she said.

For now, Gripentrog said she has to go to a follow-up appointment on July 10, but she is grateful for some life-saving steps that happened since the aneurysm.

“My advice is to know your family history and if a doctor says to get it checked out, do it,” Gripentrog said. “My family was told years ago, when my uncle had a ruptured aneurysm, to get it checked and none of us took it seriously.”

Gripentrog said high blood pressure, which also can run in families, can make aneurysms more likely to rupture.

“Healthy or not, it can happen to you,” Gripentrog said. “Listen to your family history and the doctors. If I had years ago, this probably wouldn’t have happened to me. I would have had a totally different experience. I am just thankful for everyone involved and the people that were there made all the difference. If things hadn’t been expedited the way they were, we probably would have had a different outcome.”

Friends of Gripentrog are planning a benefit for her. There is also money being raised on GoFundMe for Gripentrog and her family.