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Jeanette's story

It was a pretty special weekend for anyone who follows the All Blacks – the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.

Like thousands of fellow Kiwis around the country, Waiheke Island couple Jeanette and Wayne were planning to watch the All Blacks take on the Wallabies at Twickenham in the early hours of Sunday morning.

But early Saturday morning Jeanette could feel what she thought was a bad migraine coming on and headed downstairs to the kitchen to take some migraine pills. But as she did, she felt a sharp pain and a warmness envelop her head. Her years of nursing experience told her something was seriously wrong. She managed to make it back to bed and told Wayne she thought she was having a brain haemorrhage and to call 111.

She has a vague recollection of hearing Wayne talking to the 111 operator. But that was the last Jeanette remembers from that day, and the days and weeks that followed.

Jeanette was airlifted to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition. She underwent numerous tests which showed she had suffered a subarachnoid (brain) haemorrhage which in Jeanette’s case doctors found to be an isolated incident and not linked to an aneurysm or other brain injury.

She was unable to communicate for some weeks. She was also unable to walk and her memory of those first few weeks is minimal. Her family was told her chances of a full recovery were limited.

But although her recovery was slow, Jeanette continued to improve week by week and after six weeks she was eventually discharged to a rehabilitation centre, before her return home to Waiheke Island just in time for Christmas. 

While in hospital several weeks after being admitted, Jeanette remembered she had taken out a trauma cover with Fidelity Life. While she couldn’t remember the details, she asked Wayne to make contact with her financial adviser, Brett Pearce.

“From there, Brett took care of everything for us. It all went very smoothly and I received a lump sum payment under my trauma cover,” says Jeanette.

Jeanette had taken up the trauma cover with Fidelity Life after her long-standing income protection cover expired. “I was just starting to get to the point of wondering if I should keep the trauma cover in place – I was fit, active and healthy. But I was working and not noticing the premium payments too much, so I decided to keep it going,” says Jeanette.

That decision ultimately changed the life that Jeanette now leads. With the exception of some relatively minor health issues and visits to the physio, life has returned pretty much to normal and Jeanette is living life to the fullest, always aware of how fortunate she is.

The payment she received through Fidelity Life has contributed to her recovery in many ways, including removing any pressure to return to work.

“It’s allowed me to concentrate on getting better for the future so I can enjoy life and retirement, rather than having to get better, solely to return to work.”

It’s also helped with lots of practical items too, adds Jeanette.

“I can now walk but at times I’m still a little unsteady on my feet, so I’ve had to replace all my shoes with flat shoes. We needed a caregiver for the early weeks, which meant Wayne could return to work, and we also upgraded the spa pool and put in a gas fire as I would be spending more time at home.”

And it has also allowed some valuable family time with a trip to visit her only daughter, son-in-law and grandsons in San Francisco.

“We’ve been able to afford to do this and not worry financially – my focus is totally on getting better and enjoying life,” says Jeanette.

And as for that Rugby World Cup final she missed?

“It may have been a few months late, but we finally got to sit down and watch the game!”