A mother of two has revealed how FaceTime saved her life after she suffered a debilitating stroke.
On 13 March, Jodi Wilkins from Brisbane, Australia, woke up with a piercing migraine and went to lie down on a couch.
A bad migraine
“I often get migraines but in the weeks leading up to the stroke they became more frequent and more severe,” Jodi says.
“I also had a little numbness on the left side of my face, but I’d experienced that before with migraines so I didn’t really think anything of it. On the morning I had the stroke, I just woke up feeling quite ill with a bad migraine.”
While the 48-year-old single mom, who’s originally from New Zealand, was lying on the couch her phone rang. She says she didn’t feel like answering but picked up after her “inner voice” told her to. It was a childhood friend, Carys Simpson.
“We’re good friends,” Jodi says. “We’ve known each other since we were 13 and grew up together in New Zealand.
“I hadn’t seen her for six years and hadn’t really talked to her in months, because we keep missing each other and we both lead pretty busy lives.
A little voice inside me
“I wasn’t going to answer her call because my migraine was so bad, but then I just had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to speak with her.
“It was like a little voice inside me telling me to pick up the phone. I can’t explain it. It was my intuition and I couldn’t ignore it. So I picked up the phone.”
Jodi recalls how after they’d been talking for about an hour her long-time friend suddenly became distressed and repeatedly asked her what was wrong.
“Then all of a sudden the colour drained from her face,” Jodi says. “She looked so worried and frightened. She began yelling ‘Jodi, what’s happening? What’s wrong?’
“I had no idea what she was talking about. She told me that I was slurring my words and wasn’t making sense.”
Despite Jodi saying she was “feeling fine” a terrified Carys watched helplessly as her friend began slurring her words and noticed that the left side of her face had dropped.
'My whole left side was paralysed'
“Then Carys got really worried,” Jodi recalls. “She asked me to lift both my arms up but I could only lift up the right side.
“That’s when I realised my whole left side was paralysed. I couldn’t walk or feel anything on that side.
“Carys just said to me ‘Jodi, you’re having a stroke.’ She was panicking but I was in denial.”
After some quick thinking Carys, who lives in New Zealand, called Jodi’s ex-husband in Australia and told him to call an ambulance.
Jodi was rushed to hospital where doctors found a huge blood clot in her brain. They said if she’d waited any longer for treatment she would’ve died.
After a two hour-long operation to remove the blood clot Jodi spent five days in hospital before being sent to a stroke rehabilitation centre for four weeks.
Now the mom is back at home and has weekly rehab sessions with a physiotherapist, a neuropsychologist, an occupational therapist and a speech therapist.
Time is critical in those situations
While Jodi has regained most of the movement on her left side, her left hand hasn’t fully recovered from the paralysis caused by the stroke. She’s also suffering post-stroke depression and anxiety.
“After I woke up from the surgery to remove the clot I’d regained some feeling in my left leg. A day or two later I could lift my arm up a bit. Day by day, my whole left side came back to normal except my left hand.
“It’s getting better, but I still don’t have full use of it and the doctors said it might never fully recover,” she says.
She and Carys have been staying in touch since the stroke and Carys plans to visit Jodi soon.
“Jodi is a very close friend of mine,” Carys says. “We grew up together and have been friends since we were kids.
“I felt so helpless being so far away. But I’m just glad I could help because I know time is critical in those situations.
“I definitely plan to fly over to see Jodi sometime in the near future. She means a lot to me.”
Source: Magazine Features
Image credit: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA