January 4, 2014 10:10:23 PM
Carl Smith - firstname.lastname@example.org
State Rep. Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, can now laugh about a stroke he had last summer.
"It scared my family -- and me too!" he jokingly said, Friday.
Ellis, 67, says he's now in good physical health and ready to join other state lawmakers during the upcoming state legislative session, which begins Tuesday.
"It's a good thing, because that place can definitely be a hostile environment," he said.
In late July, however, Ellis' future in the Miss. House of Representatives was in question after he suffered a slight stroke. It was a night like many others, Ellis said, until the legislator's wife noticed his face did not look normal.
"We were about to have dinner when she said something was wrong. I wasn't even aware that I was suffering from any kind of medical condition, let alone something as serious as that," he said. "I guess when you've been with someone for so long, they just know when something's wrong."
At the urging of family members, Ellis was transported to OCH Regional Medical Center. There, he learned blood was not reaching a portion of the right side of his brain. He was immediately airlifted to Jackson and placed in Baptist Medical Center's intensive care unit.
Ellis' condition improved quickly, and he was later discharged. Although the stroke did not cause any long-term damage, he began physical therapy to improve his motor skills. He spent a significant portion of the fall and winter lifting light weights and riding an exercise bike.
Physical therapy concluded in December.
"I am truly blessed because I dodged a big bullet," he said. "I had a good team around me, from my wife and family to my doctors here and in Jackson."
Ellis was first elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1980. In addition to serving as the House's minority whip, he also leads the Second Running Water Baptist Church.
He remains a vocal proponent of Starkville and Oktibbeha County, and most recently delivered a speech supporting former Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill when aldermen ousted the city's long-serving second in command.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch