Jo Ann Glim experienced a hemorrhagic stroke at age 52. She is the author of the book Trapped Within which was written to help and encourage other stroke survivors no matter where they were in their recovery.
07:00 A Hemorrhagic Stroke
13:40 Memory Challenges
18:28 There Was No Fear
26:48 Attitude Change
34:14 Always Recovering
40:28 Don’t Limit Yourself
45:35 Don’t Count Me Out
46:58 Trapped Within
53:45 Importance of Exercise
How long did you say your stroke recovery took? Or are you still chasing better health or a better outcome? What’s that like?
Jo Ann 0:10
I think you’re always recovering. There’s things that I know I can’t do but like you said, life gets in the way. The way I look at myself right now is I’m a million-dollar woman. I’ve got a pacemaker, I broke my hip and had a hip replacement. My husband told me I was a high-maintenance woman and he said why don’t you just go to the store and go shopping.
Do something low-risk.
Jo Ann 0:48
This is the recovery after stroke podcast, with Bill Gasiamis, helping you navigate recovery after stroke.
Hello, and welcome to recovery after stroke a podcast full of answers, advice, and practical tools for stroke survivors to help you take back your life after a stroke and build a stronger future.
I’m your host three-time stroke survivor Bill Gasiamis. After my own life was turned upside down and I went from being an active father to being stuck in hospital when we if I wanted to get back to the life I loved before my recovery was up to me.
After years of researching and discovering I learned how to heal my brain and rebuild a healthier and happier life than I ever dreamed possible. And now I’ve made it my mission to empower other stroke survivors like you to recover faster, achieve your goals and take back the freedom you deserve.
If you enjoy this episode and want more resources, accessible training and hands on support, check out my recovery after stroke membership community created especially for stroke survivors and caregivers.
This is your clear pathway to transform your symptoms, reduce your anxiety and navigate your journey to recovery with confidence into recoveryafterstroke.com To find out more after this podcast episode. But for now let’s dive right into today’s episode.
This is Episode 155. And my guest today is Jo Ann Glim. Jo Ann experienced a hemorrhagic stroke aged 52 and wrote her book trapped within to help other stroke survivors. Jo Ann Glim, welcome to the podcast.
Jo Ann 2:36
My pleasure. Thank you for being here. We finally made it we had one attempt a week ago. And it just goes to show that if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
Jo Ann 2:53
Absolutely right. You never give up.
Exactly right. And we weren’t gonna let technology get in our way of catching up. Jo Ann, can you tell me a little bit about what happened to you?
Jo Ann 3:16
I was 50 years old. No actually I was 52. And my husband and I had just moved to Florida. He had retired earlier that year. And so we had known all along we’re going to move to Florida we just could not take those cold Chicago days anymore.
Jo Ann 3:42
And so we did. And for six months, it was wonderful. We’d get up in the morning say okay what are we gonna do today? And we would just go out and have a good time and travel all over and see different things there was one night we sat and watched the news and they said that there was a launch going up over Kennedy Space Center.
Jo Ann 4:08
And that’s totally on the opposite side of where we are. We’re on the Gulf side of Florida. And this is on the east side. Well, Florida is so narrow it only took us an hour and a half.
Jo Ann 4:23
So we went down to connect got up around 10 o’clock drove over there found a place to park 20 minutes later this amazing rocket took off the sky looked as bright red as my background.
Jo Ann 4:39
And the earth shook under our feet. We said wow and it was going and we came home. but those were the things that we could do that we looked forward to doing for all these years.
Jo Ann 4:52
But then in February we decided that maybe we need to start getting back into the routine of real life again. And I have worked for Kelly services for 16 years, started off just as a file clerk, took all their classes and worked my way up to management.
Jo Ann 5:17
And spent about 9 to 16 years working as an on-site supervisor at Baxter Health Care, which I just love the whole experience. And so anyway, when I was down here, I took a one-day assignment and got over there in the morning and ready to go, kind of going through my checklist of everything I needed to do.
Jo Ann 5:51
And by noon the woman who had that position had forgotten to order the sandwiches for this conference where there was about 12 or 13 people I said don’t worry about it I’ll take care of it. So I did and went down to this place that they usually use. I really kind of coerced the guy into doing all these lunches because it was last minute.
You coerced him to make lunches? Wow, that’s terrible.
Jo Ann 6:27
I got down there, and I sat rand waited for him and watched all these boxes piling up, and went up to pay him. And I asked him how much do I owe you? And he came out sounding like Russian.
Jo Ann 6:45
And he was from another country. And he just looked at me, like he thought I was making fun of him. I felt bad about that. So I swallowed hard. And I asked him again, it sounded just as bad.
Jo Ann Glim Had A Hemorrhagic Stroke
Jo Ann 7:00
So I just handed him the credit card. And I took the boxes with me, a couple of boxes started to walk out to the car. And I felt my legs turn to jello, and I just sat there and just willed myself not to fall. And not that you can do that the stroke is always going to lead wherever you do.
You couldn’t convince your stroke to stop you from falling. That’s interesting.
Jo Ann 7:36
Anyway I got up to the car and someone else had brought all the other sandwiches and put them in there. I knew I couldn’t talk to to him so I just blew him a kiss and off I went. Well, I found that with my right hand, where I was trying to drive back, and I was working at Tropicana for the day, if you like orange juice, you know Tropicana.
Jo Ann 8:08
And so I was driving back over there. And I kept putting my right hand up on the steering wheel, and it kept falling off down on to the seat of the car alongside me. And no will power was getting it to do anything except that.
Jo Ann 8:28
So I drove a line. I’m always one, especially in a crisis situation that I tried to plan, you know, two or three things, if this doesn’t work, how about this? If this doesn’t work? And there had been a market that was absolutely huge, that had burnt down it was just ashes.
Jo Ann 8:53
And so I thought, well, it was on the way back and that if I do get worse, I’m just gonna pull up into that field and eventually somebody will find me. And so I didn’t need to do that, I made it back to Tropicana.
Jo Ann 9:12
And when I walked in there, and I knew I was really getting seriously ill. And in my mind, I knew I have had a stroke. And the only thing I’m wanting to do is to be able to tell my husband one more time that I loved him before I died because I knew I was going to die.
Jo Ann 9:33
My mother had passed away from a stroke when I was 14. And so I didn’t see any possibility of living through this that’s just the way strokes happen. So I called my husband and he answered the phone.
Jo Ann 9:55
And I tried to tell him what was going on, and there was just a long pause. And finally he said, I’m sorry, but I think you had the wrong number. And I just burst into tears going no I’ve got to tell him, I’ve got to tell him.
Jo Ann 10:13
And so the only thing I could get out was October, 19, which was our anniversary. And so what’s wrong with you? And all I could say was, I’m sick and I hung up. And I went to the hospital of course, I looked around, and there’s all these people at lunch time they’re walking back and forth, because they’re coming in from lunch.
Jo Ann 10:48
And the car was out in front, the motor was still running. And I tried to convince myself that it would be a good thing to call 911. And I decided, I don’t like doctors. And I just don’t like doctors.
Jo Ann 11:08
And so I chose Plan B, and got in the car and drove myself the extra maybe 10 blocks to the hospital. And when I got over there, I drove into the parking lot, and there was no place to park, the place was full.
Jo Ann 11:29
So I parked in a place for ambulances. And by this time, my mouth is dripping . I didn’t know if I’d be able to walk or not. And there’s this men they came up on a golf cart who was security.
Jo Ann 11:45
They came up on a golf cart and told me I’m sorry ma’am but you can’t park there. And I looked at him and I said, I think I’m having a stroke. And he looked at me, he said, Don’t worry about your car, I’ll keep an eye on it for you. And then he put it off. I was like it’d be nice if you would help me.
Jo Ann 12:11
I got myself out but by this time my shoulder’s drooping, I’m limping, my jaw is to the side, then I walked in and with my last little bit of nerve. I just stood right there in the entryway because nobody was looking up there they always used to double shut the doors.
Jo Ann 12:16
And so nobody’s sticking up and I just said that I think I’m having a stroke. And one of the nurses turned around, she walked in here? And all of a sudden people came running from everywhere. And I don’t remember anything after that.
Wow, that’s dramatic. I mean, it’s such a survival story, isn’t it? I mean, you’ve gone out of your way to survive and get help find a way to be safe, tell the people that were important to you what was going on, and then get medical help and get somebody to treat you seriously.
It’s a very common story from stroke survivors. It’s a very common story where people don’t take them seriously or they go to a hospital. And they get misdiagnosed as being drunk or on drugs or something else. But you finally got there. You don’t remember anything after that moment when you announced to them that you were potentially having a stroke? What’s the next thing you remember?
Jo Ann 13:41
I had little flashes. I can’t say I don’t remember anything I had little flashes, like the back of the wheel on the gurney as they were rolling me down for x-rays. And just a couple of things. I remember Bill coming to the room and having a chance to talk to him before you know those things were kind of blurred but, I spent I’m guessing because I don’t recall but I think it was about two weeks in the hospital.
Jo Ann 14:17
And then I was sent over to a rehab place and spent about three months in there. And when I got to rehab is when, I started having bits and pieces of memories. My brain was totally (inaudible) Tell me something it would just slip in one side and slip out the other. So it took a while before I was able to recall a full day.
Yeah, I had a very similar story to your getting to the hospital story. It was very interesting. So I had a bleed in February of 2012. And then I had a bleed six weeks Later. And then I had one in November of 2014. So in the three, almost three years between the first bleed and the second bleed, I experienced different versions of stroke.
And the second version, the second bleed, meant that I didn’t know my name. When I got to hospital. I didn’t know who I was, I remember going there with my wallet to try and tell them, I need help. My wife had dropped me off. And we were talking in the car minutes earlier, with no issue.
And then by the time I walked the 100 yards to get to the emergency screening area, I didn’t know who I was. And then I remember waking up a little later on, and my wife was at the end of my bed, and I didn’t know who she was, I didn’t recognize her.
That was that time, and then the third time, I was in our central business district here in Melbourne, on some business. And I started to notice the burning sensation on my left side, and I figured that it was a stroke after doing some things that were quite strange. I got out the car or walked around the car to make sure that this thing, whatever it was, was going to go away, it didn’t.
So I jumped back in the car. And then I drove myself to the hospital, there was nowhere to park. So I parked in an illegal spot. I rang my wife on the mobile phone and told her on the cell phone and told her I’m on the way into hospital right now. I’m feeling unwell, etc.
And then I got to emergency and I went to emergency and I said, I’m having a stroke, get me into the x-ray right now or something like that. And of course, they didn’t believe me because nobody does that, people don’t just turn up and tell them what condition they have and how to deal with it.
So they finally worked it out and they got me through into x-ray or into CT I imagine. And when we got into the CT scan area, usually there’s one or two radiographers that are hanging around there to take the photos this time the glass room behind the scanning room was full of people, everyone came to have a look and see who this weirdo was that turned up to say, I’m having a stroke.
So I can really relate to that survival story that part of you that is just I don’t know what was it like for you? For me, it was like it was, I don’t know whether it was instinct, or I’m not sure how to describe it, but there was nothing going on other than something else was pushing me to overcome all of the neurological condition, the barriers, everything that was happening, the cognitive issues that I was having, somehow, I drove myself to a hospital while I was having a stroke.
Jo Ann 18:08
Don’t do this.
Just ring emergency services 911 in the US 000 in Australia, whatever it is in any other country. How do you describe that journey? Is it like I said or was it different?
There Was No Fear
Jo Ann 18:29
There was no fear. I wasn’t scared. I knew there was something that needed to be done and had to be done right now. And there was nobody else to depend on except myself. So I just felt that I was thinking very logically and very clearly, obviously dragging yourself to the hospital is not a clear way to think not in that situation. And a lot of people I’m sure, do that. But you and I can attest to the fact that that’s just not the best thing to do.
Well, it’s really dangerous because you can have a stroke and die while you’re on the way because there’s nobody to treat you and you can have a car crash, and you can injure or kill somebody else on the way to try to get help for yourself.
So it is the worst thing to do. But I was so unaware of anything else, like I said is something else kicked in. And I had no concept of what’s right or wrong. I just needed to get help the best that I could.
And believe it or not the best way that I could wasn’t to pick up my phone and look up at the street sign which I was under and tell the ambulance that I’m under this street sign and I’m having a stroke, and I’m in my car, that did not occur to me and that ambulance being in the central business district is not far away, it’d be minutes away, if anything.
But I just couldn’t do it, it never occurred to me. So I was driven by another, I have to say, instinct, I don’t know what the word is, I was driven by something else to get to that particular location, which was a hospital.
Jo Ann 20:30
Well I think it sounds like you’re very similar to me, we’re independent people, we’ve been driven all of our lives to make decisions and to make choices and to do it wisely. And this was just another situation where, okay, we’ve got a real serious problem here. Let’s take care of it as quickly as possible.
Sounds like it’s a problem-solving challenge and let’s just work out a way to solve it get to help. And whatever has to happen has to happen. So you were 52?
Jo Ann 21:14
And you think you got out of hospital about two weeks after your situation occurred? What kind of stroke was it?
Jo Ann 21:26
It was Hemorrhagic it was left side so was paralyzed on the right. It was in the southern exterior of my brain, which I happen to be (inaudible) the most I have had to drink in my whole life was half a (inaudible) 1921. There was a rite of passage to have a drink on your 21st birthday.
Jo Ann 21:57
Found I did not like the taste of or anything about it. But with this happening in the thalamus, the thalamus is like a one-size gland within your brain. And it’s on both the right side and the left side. And it’s also the area that controls your inhibitions. And so with that being damaged, I was like I had no inhibitions I had to learn manners all over again. Yeah, I did some things that are kind of funny but were not proper.
Are you going to share those?
Jo Ann 22:48
No, yes there’s one in particular I will share with you. When I had gotten to a point that I was pretty mobile and pretty close to the time of coming home. I was getting day passed here and there to come home for few hours and so our neighbor called and said why don’t we all go up to this favorite restaurant of ours for dinner.
Jo Ann 23:16
So we did, and while we were up there it was very crowded. I was still using a cane but I chose not to bring the cane in with me. I didn’t like to walk with it if I didn’t have to. And there was an area there where you could look at cards.
Jo Ann 23:38
And so there was a couple people on one side, and this huge monsterous guy he had to be 6ft 8in, I mean he was huge he looked like a Pillsbury Doughboy. Here was just kind round he had a New York accent, which I love.
Jo Ann 23:54
And he had this big white legs that was just protruding from me these like daisy made shorts I mean they’re really obscene. And so they called my name now my husband told me, he said, stay right here. Don’t move, he’s gone up to let them know that we needed a table for three. And then I guess he decided to go to the washroom before he came back to me.
Jo Ann 24:26
But in the meantime, they called our name over the PA and then I didn’t see our neighbor and I didn’t see my husband and I thought I was hungry and I got to get up there and get that cable.
Jo Ann 24:41
So I started towards this gentleman and he looked at me and I looked at him and smiled and he looked at the cards. So I walked a little closer to him and I went (clears throat) he kind of glanced at me looked back at the cards he didn’t move.
Jo Ann 25:00
And so I thought this is not right. So I backhanded him I just go whack right on the back of his bottom he jumped straight up and there was an isle right next to him and he spun around the isle. And I just walked back and past him and proud I was so happy he moves so I can get that table.
You smacked him on the buttocks?
Jo Ann 25:34
Yes. Like you do with a kid, you know when you tell your child to do something and they’re not listening to you? Hey, this message is for you. So anyway, the next day I was sharing this message with the occupational therapist, at the time I was 52. She must have been about 35.
Jo Ann 26:06
And I was in my mood I’m so proud of myself and she sat down. And she said, Mrs. Glim you know I love you, but we need to talk about your manners.
Jo Ann 26:24
Whoever this man is, I’m sorry.
Yeah, it’s kind of very benign. Look maybe you couldn’t get away with it in 2021? I don’t know maybe because the world’s going mad who knows?
Jo Ann 26:42
Oh no, I’d on the ground for sure.
Possibly. But it’s interesting. Because I felt like I became like that as well. But not because of what the strike did just because my attitude changed. I wasn’t going to pussyfoot around things that shouldn’t be anymore.
It was a mindset shift. It was like, I’m just going to go down a particular path, and I’m going to address it, and I’m going to get an outcome. I’m not sure if that’s going to be a good outcome or a bad outcome. But I’m gonna go for it.
Jo Ann 27:21
There’s no time for drama. After you’ve had a stroke, you really, really filter through your mind and figure out what’s important in life. You know? And yeah, I know exactly what you’re saying, because I felt the same way. You know, don’t involve me in the pettiness of life, that’s not what’s important.
Yeah. Now, Kelly services, I’m pretty sure is a recruitment agency, wasn’t it?
Jo Ann 27:53
Yes. For short-term assignments.
Yep. And you were involved with the people that you had recruited on behalf of Kelly services, and you would go to work to the particular location they were at and check in with them and check in with your client is that the kind of role you had?
Jo Ann 28:16
But then after working with them for about a year, six to seven years, I had been chosen to work at Baxter Healthcare, they wanted to set up an on-site supervisor for temporary employment.
Jo Ann 28:34
And they had like at least 25 to 30 different agencies and all of them were vying to do their business for them. And it just got to be unwieldy for Baxter. So they invited Kelly services, to bring someone out there and put together a program and use maybe about five or six different agencies because we hired everybody from light industrial, all the way up to engineers.
So were you able to get back to the work after the stroke? And if so, how long did it take for you to get back to work?
Jo Ann 29:20
I didn’t go back to work in that way, that pretty much was over. I did a lot of volunteer work, then one of the doctors at the rehab center had asked me to work with the hospital for helping stroke survivors that were new to the experience, to help them to know what was available to give some insights to both them and their family. So I did that for about almost 9 years.
So, your work life had to change because of the stroke?
Jo Ann 30:13
It did. But it was still just as demanding. I wasn’t getting paid for anything I did. But I loved everything I did.
Yeah. Now I know that recently you’ve had some personal tragedy, and I know that your beloved Bill passed away. What was he like, during that time when you were at your worst, and you needed to be supported and guided? How did he go about supporting you? How did it affect him?
Jo Ann 30:59
He was amazing, he was just a very kind, very gentle soul. And he kind of would just watch from a distance, he would just let me just do my thing, and if I got in trouble, he kind of reel me back in.
Jo Ann 31:30
After 47 years, I will say he just really is an amazing man, he’s always been like that during our relationship. So both of us were kind of introverted, in different ways, but we’re both kind of introverted. But when it came to each other, we just, we could finish each other’s sentences.
Stroke tends to happen. While people are experiencing life, their regular part of life I raised Bill, because I know that you want to honor Bill and you want to do all the things that you set out to do. And part of what helped you get there and overcome that was his support and his love.
I also wanted to raise it because a lot of stroke survivors will have a massive stroke, a dramatic experience with their health, and then they’ll recover part of the way and then life will happen in between, they’ll lose a loved one. Or often, somebody else they know becomes unwell. And life doesn’t get to go on pause so you can do the stroke recovery. And then once you recovered, you could go back to life. You were 52 at the time, how old are you now?
Jo Ann 33:08
If you’ve had a stroke, and you’re in recovery, you’ll know what a scary and confusing time it can be, you’re likely to have a lot of questions going through your mind. Like how long will it take to recover? Will I actually recover? What things should I avoid? In case I make matters worse?
Doctors will explain things. But obviously, you’ve never had a stroke before, you probably don’t know what questions to ask. If this is you, you may be missing out on doing things that could help speed up your recovery. If you’re finding yourself in that situation? Stop worrying, and head to recoveryafterstroke.com where you can download a guide that will help you.
It’s called the seven questions to ask your doctor about your stroke. These seven questions are the ones Bill wished he’d asked when he was recovering from a stroke. They’ll not only help you better understand your condition, and they’ll help you take a more active role in your recovery. head to the website. Now, recovery after stroke, calm and download the guide. It’s free.
Always Recovering – Jo Ann Glim
How long did you say your stroke recovery took? Or are you still also forever in recovery? Are you still chasing better health or a better outcome? What’s that like?
Jo Ann 34:32
I think you’re always recovering. There’s things that I know I can’t do. But like you say life gets in the way you know, the way I look at myself right now is I’m a million-dollar woman. I’ve got a pacemaker. I broke my hip and had a hip replacement. My husband told me I was a high-maintenance woman and he said why don’t you just go to store and go shopping?
Do something low-risk?
Jo Ann 35:09
Yeah exactly, but yeah, you get to a point as you age where you just don’t know if you can say that these things are happening because of the stoke, or if they’re happening just because you’re aging. Yeah, it’s all a part of the life process.
I was gonna say, what are some of the things that you can’t do? What are the things that you lost because of the stroke that you haven’t been able to regain?
Jo Ann 35:46
And I still struggle with aphasia. It’s not real prominent, like with some people, but there’s times like we could be in a middle of a conversation, and I’m like oh what’s that word? You know I’m just having a hard time coming up with it. Or my words will slur, especially if I’m tired.
Jo Ann 36:13
So I do practice with that, I used to be a disc jockey back in another life. And so at that level, you really, I mean, your words have to be really sharp, and you have to be able to speak very quickly. And you have to think very quickly in those two things I’m not backcast ready. I’m just me now, and when it came to a point where I was asked about doing a podcast, I really kind of hesitated because I didn’t think I could do it. And then I realized how I speak, isn’t as important, as the message I have to share with others.
I think how you speak is really important actually, I actually enjoy it when I get aphasia, I’m going to call them warriors, aphasia warriors on the podcast, because what it does is it encourages other people with aphasia to get on a podcast or do something that is so global, right?
It’s potentially going out to millions of people forever. And I think it’s important to break the barrier of I have aphasia, I can’t speak or I have aphasia, I don’t want to, or I’m embarrassed by it, or whatever.
Now, I don’t have a aphasia. So it’s not for me to tell you what to do by any stretch. But that’s why I encourage aphasia warriors to come on because if they don’t, and they miss this opportunity, and they miss the next opportunity. I feel like it’s a setback in their recovery.
And I think that that mindset of not doing stuff is not going to help them improve one bit. So I’ve had a number of people who experienced difficulty speaking on the podcast, who perhaps have a different voice than what they used to. And I even had a young kid Jack. I can’t remember which episode it was. I’ll check that up while we’re chatting, who couldn’t speak at all almost.
But he was 19. And as soon as I reached out to him and said to him, Jack, do you want to be on the podcast? He said yes, immediately. Now, I didn’t know that he had aphasia to that extent. And he told me via email, he said, I have aphasia. And he tried to basically let me know the situation where he was at.
The episode I think took us about 20 or 30 minutes where he was speaking, and I was listening and just confirming whether or not what he said, was what I heard. And we just went backwards and forwards. And I edited that episode, so we didn’t have all the quiet bits in between and all the stuff where it was a bit awkward.
But we’ve got to the end. And we’ve created a podcast and jacket 19 was on his first podcast after having a stroke and having serious aphasia. So I think there’s a there’s a place for me intervening when you said what you said you didn’t think you could do it, etc.
And this is not a typical podcast. It’s not about being the best episode. It’s not about presenting yourself in the best way having the best audio and the best background, it’s not about that.
This is about showing stroke, the way that it is in every way, shape or form I think, and jack was on episode 127. He’s an amazing kid. And then a few months later, his mum sent an email and said, thanks so much for having jack on the podcast, it was a real big deal that we had him on there. So that’s the way I see it anyway.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Jo Ann 40:28
I think there’s two things that we miss in the opportunity. And one is like to say Don’t, don’t limit yourself, try things whether you have a hard time with it or not just try. Right after the stroke, after I’ve gotten home. I spoke with a slur, and Bill and I have gone to a picnic at his sister’s church and they did it every year, it was a big deal.
Jo Ann 41:10
There was this one table, where there was like, three people that were sitting at this one end. And they were saving that table for somebody it certainly wasn’t us or anybody else, and they were just drunk I mean really really drunk. And I was having a hard time standing, I was getting very tired, I knew I either sat on the chair, or sat on the ground, but I was going to sit I didn’t have a choice.
Jo Ann 41:49
And so I brought it up to the woman that was there and asked her if she minded if I sat there and when she heard my slur, that was just as bad as hers. She put her arm around my shoulder, she went tell the rest of your family come on over. You never know where it’s going to lead to.
Jo Ann 42:14
And that was the other thing that I wanted to mention. As traumatic as a stroke is and as devastating as it can be. And the work that you have to do if you want to come back, and sometimes unfortunately, some people have damages that cannot be repaired and we have to respect that they are what they’re going to be. But the thing is, is that no matter what the situation is you can always find humility.
Yes, I agree with you. And on episode 133, I interviewed Duncan Campling and Duncan was a locked in syndrome person. And when I think he reached out to me to be on the podcast, I can’t remember, I’m pretty sure he reached out to me. And again, I didn’t know his condition, I never know anyone’s condition really.
And then when Duncan decided to come on board, and do the interview, he actually couldn’t speak at all he was using a machine to speak. He pre-recorded one of those computer generated voices, where he would punch the words into a keypad. And he prepared the sentences, to questions that I sent him previously.
So that when I spoke about it in Episode 133, and asked him the question, he just pressed Enter, and he gave me the answer to the question that I was going to ask. So this is the thing like, I think it’s about I think, for me, what I’m trying to encourage is engagement.
Just get engaged in some way, shape or form, participate however you can. Nobody’s actually thinking, look at this guy, gal, weirdo, stupid person, nobody’s actually thinking that that’s just in your head. What they’re doing is looking at you in or going oh, my God, how tough is this person?
And how much effort are they putting in? And that part of the story that you said where you found this connection with this person. Most of us have been through something traumatic, believe it or not. And therefore we have a lot more in common with that person that we don’t know sitting next to us than we think.
And it takes an engagement situation you need to engage with them. You need to connect with them. You need to have some kind of a conversation with them. And you might just discover something you didn’t expect.
Jo Ann 45:08
It’s funny, you should mention this about a gentleman that had locked-in syndrome, we just did a show with Ikati and Henny Van Der Hoven. They lived in Finland. And she had been a model. She’s absolutely gorgeous.
Don’t Count Me Out – Jo Ann Glim
Jo Ann 45:35
But she can’t move at all. There’s nothing that moves on her. And we just did a show of with her in regards to wheelchair travel, she travels all over the world. And I look at her and thinking you can do it, I can do it. And she always has a smile on her face. And the two of them are just amazing people.
Now, is that your podcast?
Jo Ann 46:04
And what is it called?
Jo Ann 46:07
It’s called Don’t Count Me Out.
Don’t count me out. And it’s I know it’s available on YouTube. Is it available on Apple podcasts and all those places as well? Or is it just in a couple of spaces?
Jo Ann 46:19
It’s on there and it’s on Resilience Talk Network. It’s also on my website at joannglim.com and I am going to see if they’ll set me on Apple sometime this weekend.
Fantastic. So anyhow, I will make sure that links that we do have wherever it is available at the moment, I’ll make sure that we link our podcast show notes to that. So anyone who comes along who is interested can find it there. Now you also wrote a book.
Jo Ann 46:57
I did, yes.
Trapped Within Book
Now how long ago did you write that book? And tell me what it’s called?
Jo Ann 47:06
It’s called Trapped within. And I wrote it probably four months after I had a stroke. Because I really felt like when I read about you know there wasn’t anything that we should find to help get through, once you were past the hospital and the rehab and they deemed that you were miraculously cured, you’re on your way and that was it.
Jo Ann 47:47
And so for you to find things to do that would help you. It was difficult to do. And the other thing that I wanted people to realize is that there’s certain stages that you go through in the process. You know, I mean, we can sit here and talk and kind of laugh about some of the things that happened to us.
Jo Ann 48:15
But in the beginning, I know for myself, I have the doctors and stuff that were trying to prepare me for life of living in a wheelchair. You know, you may never walk again, you may never do this. But you’re still you. I heard that so often, in fact I wrote a whole chapter about that because don’t tell me that I’m still me. You know I can’t garden. So don’t tell me I’m still me.
No we’re good. I thought I lost you there for a moment. And you’re back, so go again. You can’t garden?
Jo Ann 49:03
Yeah, I couldn’t garden, I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything that I did before I only had one hand that work. I couldn’t walk, my eyesight was impaired. You know so don’t tell me I’m still me. You know, I used to ride horses. I was learning how to jump. There’s a lot of things that I did. I was very physical. And I couldn’t do them anymore.
Yeah, your identity gets challenged dramatically. And if your identity is wrapped up, which for most of us, it’s wrapped up on the things we do daily. If we can’t do them again, there is a real crisis there’s like Okay, so what do I do? What am I, I’m not doing anything, I’m not going anywhere, I’m not myself and you need to learn how to get beyond those feelings at the beginning and rediscover yourself or recreate yourself, how would you put it?
Jo Ann 50:04
I would say recreate the reason that seems to be more appropriate in my mind, is because we create ourselves all the time. Ever since we were very, very young, we’re always learning new things, we’re always trying new things. And for some reason, some stroke survivors get stuck on wanting to get back to who they were and why they were.
Jo Ann 50:36
And they wouldn’t in my estimation, be there now, 10 years later, anyway, they would’ve moved on, they would have found new experiences and new things to do. So I think if we can kind of open that door, and let ourselves walk through it, or wheel through it if we have to but go through it somehow, we might find that we may not be the same, but we may be better.
That’s profound, what you just said is profound that if we go back 10 years before the stroke, we had things we did, which would no longer do, which were taken away from us, either by choice or by circumstances, or by other situations. And yet, we didn’t stay stuck in the moment of, Oh, I want to go back to those days where I was, I’m not sure what it was, you know, knitting or whatever it was.
And now I can’t do it. So my life is over and everything is terrible. I love what you said that, that’s a really profound statement. And I’ve never thought about using that in that way and explaining it in that way. So you rediscovered yourself, you found that there was things that you couldn’t do? And then how did the evolution occur? I imagine it happened sometime after you went home from rehab, etc. How did that evolution occur?
Jo Ann 52:12
Well, one of the things because my walking was very bad. But by the time I got out of rehab, I was back to walking supposedly with a cane I used to use my husband’s arm, instead of a cane, but and then I would always leave the cane in the backseat of the car, I just happen to forget it.
Jo Ann 52:38
But I didn’t walk real steady. And I had been a line dancer before I had my stroke. And so my sister and I, because you know you can hang on to somebody’s arm, or you just have certain steps to do you learn those. We ended up going line dancing once a week. At first I started off just by sitting in the chair, and letting my legs follow the steps until I got the steps down.
Jo Ann 53:15
And then I would hold on to my sister and do it. And so the teacher talked to us and found out what my story was, she would come over and grab my arm and take me up in front and had me go through it with her. And I felt so comfortably confident with her. It just started to roll and I did it for years.
Importance of Exercise
Yeah, exercise is really good for helping to repair and heal the brain. It also supports making new neurons that supports your fitness. I mean, exercise is really important. any way shape or form that you can get exercise is important. And that’s awesome that you did it at the beginning was just in the chair, and you’re just wiggling your legs around until you got the steps, right.
That’s exercise. That’s really all it takes. It’s amazing. That that you did that. Now, the book, trapped within a true story about survival, recovery, love and hope. It’s an awesome cover. I love the cover. There’s a little paragraph on the front page says and I’ll have an image of it as well for anyone who wants to have a look at it in the show notes.
That there’s some words there that say Trapped Within is a powerful and intimate story about the endurance of the human spirit during a time of life-threatening crisis by Richard Paul Evans, number-one New York Times bestselling author.
Jo Ann 54:47
Who’s Richard Paul Evans?
Jo Ann 54:52
Richard Paul Evans is a very dear friend of mine. And he just went through some surgery. So anyone who knows who he is, him well right know but Richard, if you ask him to describe the types of books he writes, he says I write books that make women cry, he writes love stories, they’re not sexual, they’re stories about relationships.
Jo Ann 55:28
Something that someone is working on to make their life better. Maybe it’s a broken relationship between a father child. And he just writes beautiful stories. They’re sensitive, they’re loving.
Jo Ann 55:49
And there’s something that both men and women enjoy. He wrote a series of books called Michael Day. That are for young boys. And I’ve not read them yet but I want to and it’s about character that’s a teenager that’s flawed he has Tourette syndrome. But he does some amazing things. And yeah, Richard is a very special man.
Yeah. And what’s your book about? I know, it’s a true story about survival, recovery, love and hope. But what if I asked you what your book is about? Why did you write it? What was it about? I know you wrote it because there wasn’t much going on at the time. But what’s it about? What message Are you trying to get across?
Jo Ann 56:44
What I wanted to do is to help other stroke survivors no matter where they were, in their recovery, to look and see that some of the steps that they may be going to that others have been there as well. And so just keep going, just go through the process, I found after the last edit that I did on the book, and read through the whole thing, which I did about 70 times, but that’s another story I found that it actually is a grieving process.
Jo Ann 57:33
It’s very close to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and what she has written about grieving, and all of the steps that you have to go through. And we may go through more than once. And so it helps me to be able to say goodbye to the me that I had been before, and I was able to do it with a great deal of love and fondness for who I’ve been I worked on hard to become the person I was.
Jo Ann 58:11
And so you have to go through that. “How dare you take me away”? And I think that was the hardest option for me to face was that my body actually betrayed me, you know you rely on your body to take care of you. And it didn’t, that was the hardest one for me to forgive.
We take it for granted that our bodies can do that internally. But it doesn’t because it’s not meant to. And then we’ve got to come to terms with it. When you have that awareness. That’s the real hard part. Some of us are oblivious to life until life happens.
And then it’s really tough to come to terms with it. And I get it. And it’s a journey that we’re all going to go on no matter who you are a condition or something a life event is going to make life happen to you too. And I think it’s meant to that’s the thing. That’s the part that I got out of my experiences. Life’s meant to be happening to us. It’s not meant to be all roses and just non-events of achieving greatness and amazing stuff and doing all the things that you love and always having calmness and that’s not life.
That’s, I think that’s the complete opposite of life that’s not being alive at all. At least now I feel like I know what it’s like to nearly not be alive. And I prefer whatever I’m dealing with, even though it’s not pleasant, because it’s not always not pleasant.
The part that’s not always not pleasant is the part that I create that is really an important message is that what’s important is that we look for things, to balance out the terrible parts in our life, that and create those good moments and good memories, because we’re responsible for those, they’re not just going to happen to you.
It’s very rare that somebody is going to turn up and give you the amazing experience that you want exactly the way that you want it, you have to create that. That’s our job. Our job is to create balance between the things that happened to us that we can control, like life and flip it so that the balances in the favor of the good things so that when terrible things happen, we can deal with them quite easily. Does that resonate?
Jo Ann 1:00:57
Absolutely. Yeah. And I also think, I don’t think people gain compassion without having challenges. How would you ever know what compassion is? You wouldn’t recognize it if it past you on the street, if you haven’t experienced something devastating in your own life?
Jo Anne, I really enjoyed our chat. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. I look forward to keeping in touch with you. And following your ongoing journey. I am truly sorry that you lost your beloved Bill recently. And I wish you well, from here on and I hope that you’ll remember him fondly, like I’m sure you do.
Jo Ann 1:01:37
I feel his pressence around me all the time.
Thanks so much.
Jo Ann 1:02:03
Thank you for having me. I’ve enjoyed this so much. And one of these days, I’m gonna have you on my podcast too.
Thanks so much for joining me on today’s recovery off the stroke podcast. Do you ever wish there was just one place that you could go to for resources, advice and support in your stroke recovery? Whether you’ve been navigating your journey for weeks, months or years, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to get the answers you need.
This road is both physically and mentally challenging from reclaiming your independence to getting back to work to rebuilding your confidence and more. Your symptoms don’t follow a rulebook, and as soon as you leave hospital, you no longer have medical professionals on tap.
I know for me It felt as if I was teaching myself a new language from scratch with no native speaker insight. If this sounds like you, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone and there is a better way to navigate your recovery and build a fulfilling life that you love.
I’ve created an inclusive, supportive and accessible membership community called recovery after stroke. It’s all the ones support and resource program is designed to help you take your health into your own hands. This is your guidebook through every step in your journey, from reducing fatigue to strengthening your brain health, to overcoming anxiety and more. To find out more and to join the community. Head to recoveryafterstroke.com See you next time.
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