SOUTH HAVEN — When Catina Quinn’s husband, Alan, 34, called her from work New Year’s Eve and said he had some numbness and tingling on his left side, she never would have dreamed that the next 24 hours would change their lives forever.
Alan suffered a massive brain stem stroke that left him with a rare neurological disorder called locked-in syndrome. The disorder results in complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the ones that control the movement of the eyes. Individuals with the syndrome are conscious and awake but have no ability to produce movements (outside of eye movements) or to speak. It is caused by damage to the pons – a part of the brainstem that contains nerve fibers that relay information to other areas of the brain.