Jodie Adams-Brinkley speaks of the inbuilt desire to want to get better, to want to do more

Memory loss is an ongoing challenge for Jodie, but with incredible support from her husband and children she gets up and keeps achieving what she sets out to.

Jodie speaks of the inbuilt desire to want to get better, to want to do more. Life may never be the same, but you learn to carry on with what you’ve got.

Some of the topics discussed will get you thinking about your own experiences. If you feel any distress, talk with someone you trust—perhaps a family member, friend, or your doctor. If you need support, information or advice StrokeLine’s health professionals are available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, AEST. Call StrokeLine on 1800 787 653 or email strokeline@strokefoundation.org.au. Lifeline is available 24 hours a day on 13 11 44.

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Video transcript

Jodie: My name is Jodie, I’m 52, I was working as a junior doctor and after having a very long career as a paramedic also as a registered nurse. I had some occasions where I could go overseas and work. So I went over to Vietnam and helped teach first aid in orphanages. That was really an amazing experience. I fell in love with the place. Being really lucky to have several other trips to go overseas and then this last sort of trip, we said, no we’ll stay home now. And we’ll just sort of see around Australia.

And then that was it, I had the stroke. Well, I believe my stroke occurred when I went to the gym, and I was just using some equipment for my legs. And that was it. I don’t really remember anything for, I don’t know. It could be two months. Don’t remember the ambos that came or anything. Yeah, so it was pretty dramatic, I guess. It’s a lot when you go, you have eight days in ICU. I had another three weeks, I think in the stroke unit. Don’t remember that at all. And so that, there’s this big chunk of time, you know, if you said, “Oh, it would be painful.” I didn’t feel pain, did not feel anything. I didn’t really recognise that I’d had a stroke. I didn’t really know what had happened. which was really, really scary. But I was in a place of, you know, “Oh, this is great fun, we’ll go home soon and it’ll be all over”. But hasn’t happened like that.

Everyone looked after me and as a junior doctor, back in the hospital where I worked, that would have been fairly confronting for other people. And I went back up to the hospital, 12 months later, got to speak to a couple of the people, who actually looked after me. One fellow, the young doctor, he said, Oh, he said, “They wanted me to take blood from you.” He said, “I couldn’t do it.” He said, “I quit. I had to get someone else.” And it was really sad. You know, it was sad for them, that they had to go through that.

My memory is really funny. If I do something now, I can remember it for a few hours. But then if I go to bed, I have a sleep, I wake up, it feels like it was three years ago. And then after going to bed and have another sleep, It feels like it’s six years ago. It’s a really odd feeling, but I just said “memory loss. Yeah, memory loss that’s it”.

Well, my daughters moved down, moved back from Queensland and my son is a paramedic and he just would come in, and you know, every patient he brought in, he’d bring the patient in, get them sorted, then he’d come over and see me. And that was a huge, huge help.

But you see that both the kids have risen and they have chosen to get a hold of me and to guide me. And the biggest support of course, is that of my husband, Yeah. It’s been amazing. I have that in-built thing where as I want to get better and I want to do more, I do a lot of walking, so I might walk five or six kms, and some other days I might only walk two. It sort of just depends. I had a bit of right sided weakness and everything.

So it was, my goal was to be able to ski. So I got stuck into physio and every sort of exercise you could do. I would be bending, squatting, everything, so that my leg would be better. And I skied in Canada, and then I came over here and skied down at Perisher. And that was, it was invaluable. It was great.

You know, your life is never going to be the same again, but it doesn’t have to be different. You just learn to carry on with what you’ve got. It’s just, you just need to get up and get into things and get into life and just get in and do it. That’s it.