The woman who takes your pictures is just grateful to be here

Bev Horne lost her voracious appetite for reading, world travel, even riding her bike.

Yet that, she says, is a pretty good trade-off for being on the right side of the 50 percent of people who suffer a brain aneurysm rupture.

Of the half who live, about a third "won't ever be the same," she says. Another third have long and less-than-full recoveries. Bev belongs to the final third, the lucky ones who are doing just fine.

Save for the inexplicable, though not uncommon, loss of interest in her former passions.

'I'm really, lucky'

Bev, an assistant photo director for the Daily Herald, was 52 and in seemingly perfect health in July 2014 when she was having lunch in Rolling Meadows with colleague and friend Mark Welsh. Bev recalls getting an excruciating headache, and she stumbled and fell as she walked toward the door. Mark knew immediately this was serious and called 911. Rolling Meadows paramedics were there quickly, and within 10 minutes Bev was in the emergency room at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, where doctors immediately drilled a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure of the bleeding from what the doctors call a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

The next three weeks, save for a vague recollection of squeezing the hand of the paramedic in the ambulance, are lost, possibly forever, in Bev's mind. But after surgery in which coils were inserted arthroscopically into her brain, Bev began a recovery that could reasonably be called miraculous.

"I'm really, really lucky," she says.

After her surgery, Bev convalesced at her mother's home in Madison, Wisconsin, where she underwent outpatient speech therapy to assist with memory. At first, she was confused - "I was in a foggy, dreamlike state," she says - but she steadily began to fill in the gaps. By October, she was itching to go home, she did so in November, and by December she was back on the job. After two weeks of easing back into the routine, she was ready to take on a full workload.

Of course, her supervisors were careful not to overwhelm Bev with assignments, but the truly amazing thing was how it seemed she hadn't missed a beat. In fact, she already has been promoted to a photo editor's spot since her return.

"Bev is a very talented photojournalist and photo editor, but more than that, she's just a great person," says her boss, Photo Director Jeff Knox. "We are all thrilled that she has her health back and that our readers still get the chance to see their communities though Bev's vision."

You can see yet another example of Bev's vision on today's Page 1.

She captured the poignant pose of Alan Pasquesi, a 65-year-old Darien man who is part of a new program that treats people with memory loss through music therapy.

Bev speaks to hospital

It's easy to forget what Bev went though. She's just so ... so much herself.

A few days ago, I walked past her desk, chatted for a moment and noticed a photo of Bev on her laptop. She is very much not one to call attention to herself, so this was a bit of a curiosity. "What's the occasion?" I asked. Turns out Bev was invited to speak to employees and former stroke patients at Northwest Community, where the hospital celebrated about two weeks ago its certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. And, make no mistake, Bev does credit the immediacy and quality of care for leading to her profound recovery.

The story about the hospital also being recognized as one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation for stroke care was written by Eric Peterson, who snapped that photo of Bev.

But, of course, Bev took the other photos.

Hospital recognized for stroke program

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