Real Life

Real life: FaceTime saved my life

As we chatted, she became more and more frantic.

Jodi Wilkins, 48 from Brisbane, Qld, shares her true life story;

A familiar sharp pain pulsated through my brain.
I'd been suffering from terrible migraines for a couple of weeks.
No amount of medication helped and I was fed up.
"Why won't they stop?" I wailed as I flopped down on the couch.
It was 2pm and all I could think about was closing my eyes and taking a long nap to ease the pain.
Just as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard my mobile phone vibrating on the table.
I saw that it was my childhood friend, Carys, wanting to FaceTime.
The two of us had grown up in New Zealand together.
She still lived in Auckland while I'd moved to Brisbane nearly 20 years earlier, but we had always been close and kept in touch.
We hadn't talked in months because we kept missing each other's calls.
Despite my headache, I accepted the video call and the two of us started nattering away for the next hour.
Me before the stroke.
Suddenly, a look of confusion swept over her face.
"I think … the connection is bad," she said hesitantly.
It was fine for me, so I kept chatting away.
Then I saw the colour drain from Carys' face.
"What's wrong, Jodi? What's happening?" she yelled.
I could hear the horror in her voice.
"You're slurring all your words. The left side of your face has dropped," she wailed.
Carys asked me to lift my left arm up but I couldn't.
My entire left side had gone completely numb. I began to feel faint.
It was just me and my youngest son, Elliot, 14, at home, while my ex-husband and my older boy, Asher, 15, were at the gym.
In rehabilitation after the stroke.
Before I knew it, my kids were standing over me as I was being carted off in an ambulance.
"You're going to be okay. We love you, Mum," my sons yelled out to me as the doors slammed shut.
I was in surgery for two hours while a blood clot was removed from my brain.
If I'd got there just a couple of minutes later, I'd have died or been in a vegetative state for the rest of my life.
That's when it hit me: Carys saved my life.
After I fell to the floor, she didn't know how to call the Australian emergency services from New Zealand, so she rang my ex-husband and told him to get an ambulance.
I'm back home now and have regained most of the movement on my left side, but my left hand has not fully recovered yet.
I can't tie my hair up or use a knife and fork.
I'm also still struggling with slurred speech and memory loss, but I should get better in time.
I'm just so thankful to still be alive, and I owe that all to Carys and that fateful FaceTime call.
Carys saw all the signs of a stroke and got help.

Carys told Take 5:

"I realised she was having a stroke when she started slurring her speech. I felt so helpless being so far away. I know time is critical in those situations. We hadn't spoken in a long time so it was meant to be that we chatted that day."
If you think someone you know if having a stroke, thank F.A.S.T!
FACE Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
ARMS Can they lift both arms?
SPEECH Is their speech slurred? Can they understand you?
TIME Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.
This technique is recommended by the Australian Stroke Foundation.

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