Luckily my husband recognised my stroke

September 03, 2021

By Carlie 

It was an April morning in 2011 when I had a stroke 

I was working as a rehab nurse at Darwin Hospital, and had just finished having a shower, when I lost all movement in my right arm. 

Confused and uneasy, I called my husband Larry to come and help. He could see that my face had drooped, so he piled some clothes on me, and bundled me into the car. We were in the emergency room within 20 minutes. 

I was lucky that he recognised the signs of stroke and knew that time was precious. 

I was an in-patient for three months, and my rehab consisted of walking on the treadmill for three kilometers a day and working with a speech pathologist three times a week. 

Over time my right sided weakness improved, but the aphasia, I still struggle with it to this day. I am plagued by half-words. 

When I was discharged, I was sent home with five folders of words to work though, which I did with my youngest son. 

Unfortunately, I had to go back to work in October, seven months after my stroke. It was too early, but it had to be done. 

Back at work, my mind wasn’t working. The activities and tasks that were once second nature had to be relearned.  

Fatigue was a constant issue. I had to build up my resistance slowly; however, as the only rehab nurse, there was little that I could do but get through it. 

I am now at Palmerston Hospital as part of the ‘stroke squad’ in the rehab ward. Having stroke-related disabilities has made me a better health professional, and it is exciting to see the advances in acute stroke treatment. I look forward to seeing future breakthroughs for stroke rehab too. 

People say that I am inspiring, but I don’t think so. I had the knowledge and support to battle through it. I feel sad for those who don’t. 

Carlie smiling