Stroke survivor sends Benefis thank you letter: “They saved a life – mine”

Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-11 18:16:22-04

GREAT FALLS – A Great Falls man is forever grateful for his life after suffering a stroke one year ago.

David Saenz said he started his day normal by going to a morning meeting, catching up with an old friend, and heading into work.

It was when he got to work that he started to feel unwell. A co-worker quickly turned into one of the many life savers David was about to encounter.

“I couldn’t quite hear her or understand what she was saying. I think I remember asking her if she was saying anything to me because I could see her mouth moving, but I couldn’t hear her,” David said.

That co-worker dialed 911 and David was rushed to Benefis Health System. They found he was suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke and needed to be airlifted to Seattle as soon as possible.

“They told my wife to prepare for the worse,” David said.

During his time in Seattle, David had surgery and needed to attend physical therapy sessions. His doctor said it would be a year before he’d be able to live a normal life. David proved them wrong.

“There’s a lot of people that this happens to and they are not as lucky as I have been,” David said.

But if there’s one thing David learned from this experience, it’s to not dwell on things.

“I’ve learned not to take things for granted. Seriously, every day that I wake up, I thank god,” David said. “I’m thankful to whoever they are that decided to go to work that day. I wish I could give each of them a million dollars. I can’t, of course. But I am so grateful to them whoever they are. I just want to tell them thanks for what they have done.”

And that’s what he plans to do. David wrote a letter this week to Benefis Health System thanking the first responders and those at the hospital.

The letter reads, “I wish I could personally thank everyone that was involved that day. The ambulance driver, the fire department, the emergency room staff, hospital technicians, nurses and the doctors all played a part in literally saving my life.”

March 2, 2019 marked one year since David’s stroke.

“I’m reminded of that date like I am my birthday now,” David said.

But he’s also reminded of miracles.

David’s letter to Benefis concludes with this, “As I said earlier, I wish I can thank each person myself and show them and explain to them how thankful I am for their effort in just doing their job. But in just “doing their job,” they saved a life – mine, and for that I wish to thank you. Thank you to whoever you are for going to work that day and just doing your job. Attached is a picture of my family that I get to still see and spend time with because of each of you did what you are trained to do. Since this picture was taken, and since my stroke, I’ve had another grandson born, and I have another due to come next month. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News