WHEN Jackie Brockman started slurring her speech and spilling her drinks her husband Ernest knew straight away something was wrong.
Tealby housewife Jackie was rushed to hospital and examined by six doctors – but none of them could work out what was causing her odd behaviour.
She had started snapping at people for no reason and her personality completely changed – Jackie became quite aggressive and even admits upsetting quite a few nurses.
Jackie spent several months in hospital and underwent all kinds of tests before eventually being diagnosed with encephalitis – a rare, and sometimes life-threatening, illness that attacks the brain causing irritation and swelling.
“It changes your personality – it made me really violent, I was biting people’s heads off. One of the nurses wanted to walk out because I called her an awful name. But it just wasn’t me, it was the illness,” said Jackie.
Many encephalitis sufferers make a full recovery, but in severe cases like Jackie’s the person is left permanently impaired.
Jackie was eventually discharged from hospital in May 2004 – but her life has never been the same since.
The 55-year-old now struggles with many basic tasks and relies on help from Lincolnshire charity Adults Supporting Adults.
Jackie – who was forced to move from her three bedroom house to a bungalow – said: “My wrists and legs are really weak and I fall over a lot so getting around is difficult.
“I can’t play with my grandchildren and I love cooking but I’m not allowed to do it now. There are times when it really does bother me but I try to just get on with things.
“It’s so confusing when I can’t remember things – I get very frustrated. I can remember things from way back when I was a child but I can’t remember things that happened yesterday. ”
ASA day time provider Michelle Walker supports Jackie two days a week – she helps her get to appointments and they do things like swimming and shopping.
Michelle said: “It’s led by what Jackie wants to do. I help her out because she’ll forget how to do things she likes – simple things like making greetings cards and using a computer. That really does impact a lot on everything she does.”
Area manager Karen McNulty said: “All staff write profiles of themselves so they are matched up to suitable clients to make sure it works well. Michelle and Jackie were matched up because they both like card making.”
Jackie said: “If it wasn’t for theses ladies I wouldn’t have the confidence I have now. I am more able to make my own decisions. I now try activities that support me and my ongoing health.
“The support has shown me different opportunities to which I though I could never do or see, this has opened up my life outside of my home.”
Jackie’s husband Ernest said: “It gives me my own space and can do my own thing without worrying about Jackie.
“I have seen a steady improvement in all different ways, with her confidence, making decisions and self esteem. Before this support she would not go out and I was unable to leave her on her own.”
For more information about ASA call 01529 416270.