Search & Replace S02E18: Jo Ann Glim

Jo Ann Glim faced a one-in-four chance of surviving her hemorrhagic stroke. However, she quickly discovered that recovering from a significant brain injury isn’t just about healing your body; it’s about coming to terms with a new sense of your entire self. Setting small goals, like wiggling her fingers and maintaining a positive attitude of gratitude, has helped Jo Ann to thrive during twenty-five years of recovery. Listen to how Jo Ann dealt with her life drastically changing in just one day on Search and Replace. 

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[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialist at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode. 

[00:00:10] Joe Taylor, Jr.: What if everything you thought you knew about yourself, about your life, suddenly changed? I’m Joe Taylor Jr. This is Search and Replace.

Jo Ann Glim spent her entire career communicating with people. She worked as a disc jockey in her hometown of Chicago before moving on to San Francisco and Hawaii. She shifted into copywriting and later business management, specializing in human resources. And on a day that Jo Ann says started just like any other, she suddenly faced the biggest crisis of her; a stroke. 

[00:00:52] Jo Ann Glim: I got in the car and I drove myself to the hospital. Now I suggest to anyone who is in the throes of a stroke, do not do that. First off, you need to have the time behind you so that they can get you the help that you need. And there’s different types of strokes.

Mine was a hemorrhagic, which means that it was a bleed. And so the medication that they can give to someone who has an ischemic stroke would not have worked for me. But if that’s what you are having, you put yourself in jeopardy by not allowing professionals to help you as you’re on your way to the hospital.

I got over to the hospital. I walked in on my own and stood in the vestibule for the emergency room, and people were very busy. Nobody was looking at me coming in, and I just shouted out, I think I’m having a stroke. And all of a sudden people came running from everywhere. Someone put their arms under my arms and I gently collapsed back into them. And they put me onto a gurney. 

The last thing I remember is my husband as he came into the room, because that was the one thing I wanted to do, was to be able to tell him how much I loved him because I knew I was going to die. 

[00:02:23] Joe Taylor, Jr.: As she wrote about in her memoir, ‘Trapped Within,’ Jo Ann faced a one in four chance at surviving. And no chance at all her doctors would tell her at surviving with all of her brain function intact. 

[00:02:35] Jo Ann Glim: When I got to the rehab center, it was like my brain was made a Teflon and memories would sick with me, but probably no longer than one or two hours. I couldn’t talk. I had aphasia. I couldn’t see straight. I had terrible double vision. I could not walk. So I basically was confined. My world was no more than the size of a hospital bed. And that lasted probably for about a month. 

What I was told to do, and they had propped my hand up on a pillow. They told me to concentrate on my hand and see if I could get my fingers to move. So I would work on that 24/7. Anytime I was awake, I would sit and I’d look at it, and I’d try to get it to move. And it took probably almost a month before I had any wiggle at all, and it was so slight, but it did wiggle and that was the beginning of coming back. 

[00:03:46] Joe Taylor, Jr.: Recovering from a significant brain injury isn’t just about healing your body, it’s about coming to terms with a new sense of your entire self. 

[00:03:55] Jo Ann Glim: One of the things that you find out very quickly is who you were before is not who you’re going to be now. That’s gone. There are semblances and parts of it that will come back, but as far as knowing how far back, you have no idea if you will get it back at all. 

And so one of the things that I discovered that I found out afterwards is there’s a grieving that takes place because who you were is not who you’re going to become. And so you have to learn to say goodbye.

However, if you allow yourself to grieve, love what you had, and look forward to what is in the future, you may find a peace and contentment and joy that you never knew was there. You may even find talents that you didn’t know you had before. 

[00:04:54] Joe Taylor, Jr.: For Jo Ann, unearthing her talents meant delving into storytelling about herself and her family.

[00:05:00] Jo Ann Glim: I think, for myself, the reason that I wanted to document, and I did it chronologically so that because I had no idea what the ending on this story was going to. I can give you a spoiler alert, I did survive, so we know the end now, 25 years later. 

There is life after. It’s not just an existence, but you have to work as hard as you can. And if you set up goals, even if your goal is just to make that one finger wiggle, and then maybe a month later add another. Those are major goals when you’re trying to recover from a stroke. 

[00:05:42] Joe Taylor, Jr.: Jo Ann reminds us that setting small goals can be crucial for your survival. 

[00:05:47] Jo Ann Glim: Our life is filled with choices. We have the choice when we wake up in the morning to be happy or to be angry, or to be sad, or to be vindictive, you know. And so we have choices to make. Personally, I like to choose to be happy. I like to choose to do the best I can during the day. And when I lay down at night to go to sleep, I like to be able to look back over the day and say, I did my best. And no matter how you are, even if you’re in a bed and you cannot get out, you cannot talk to others, you can still have a happy countenance. You can still think of the beauty that’s in the world and you’re not over living yet. You’re going to get back. You’re going to do things that are good, even if it’s only to accept the kiss of a grandchild on your cheek. How could life be any sweeter than that? 

[00:06:49] Joe Taylor, Jr.: That’s author Jo Ann Glim. We’ve got links to Jo Ann’s books in our show notes and on our website at 

Today’s episode was produced by Nicole Hubbard with help from the entire Podcast Taxi team. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr. 

[00:07:04] Announcer: This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. 

Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. 

Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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