Doctor shares personal stroke journey and alarming stats
RETIRED doctor Brad Butwell is proof a life-changing condition can affect any one at any time.
Dr Butwell was a Kingaroy GP for 42 years, but his life took a sharp turn when he had a stroke nine years ago.
"I was unconscious for two days,” Dr Butwell said.
"I have no recollection of what happened.
"I was always a fit, healthy individual. I used to walk 40km a week.”
Symptoms of stroke include trouble walking, speaking and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg.
"I am permanently and totally disabled in the left side of my body,” he said.
"I can't move my body. I can't get up steps.
"If I didn't have my wife, I'd probably be in a nursing home.”
The passionate country doctor has moments of emotional weakness, but he is still able to see the bright side of life.
"One of the things that kept me going is knowing there is always some poor bastard worse off than me,” Dr Butwell said.
The retired doctor is set to present a stroke information talk at the Kingaroy Library next week.
In his presentation, he will share why knowing the FAST principle is so important.
"Most people go to these things and they forget everything within the first 15 minutes,” he said.
"FAST is the one message I want to get across.”
As it so often is, behind every great man is an even greater woman and Dr Butwell praised his wife of 54 years.
"This has been a big impact on my wife's life,” he said.
"Just when we were about to think about slowing down, she now has had to care for me.”
Being a doctor means he is able to deliver the information and raise awareness of stroke in a simple to understand manner.
"I certainly have a bigger understanding than most people,” Dr Butwell said.
"I do these talks to spread the word.”
In Australia, 56,000 people had strokes in 2018.
"25 to 30 just in Kingaroy will have a stroke this year,” he said.
"Of those 30 people, two will die.”
Dr Butwell first began practising back in the 1960s when he was only 23.
After his first couple of years as a doctor in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, Dr Butwell found his true calling in Kingaroy.
"I always wanted to be a country GP,” he said.
"I grew up in the country and have a great respect for country GPs.”
To book for Dr Butwell's stroke information session on Thursday, March 14, at 10am, contact the Kingaroy Library on 4189 9256.