About 6 weeks ago, my 54-year-old father suffered a hemmoraghic stroke in the right side of his brain. Doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of surviving. After staying one week in ICU, he was released to a skilled nursing facility and has been there since, receiving physical, speech, and occupational therapy everyday.
It seems like he's making a lot more progress physically than emotionally or mentally. The personality changes he has gone through are making life so miserable for my family, especially for my mother, his primary caregiver. A lot of the changes I see in him seem typical for the type of stroke he suffered. He displays complete lack of judgment -- for example, he thinks he can get up and walk, and gets really upset with my mom if she tries to explain to him why he can't. He thinks she's trying to purposely hold him back. He's impossible to reason with at this time.
Since he's unable to move, he has to ask her to do tasks like get him water, food, etc. The thing is, he'll ask her to do like 10 things at once. It's like he doesn't realize that she only has 2 arms and cannot do everything at once. His emotions are also really up and down -- once he got really angry that she left him for a few minutes and started throwing stuff in his room.
He also gets obsessed with random thoughts and ideas. For example, he was never a religious person but now he wants to start attending church and is adamant that our whole family do so. He'll get really fixated on an idea like this and spend days just talking about that.
It's to the point where he's getting impossible to deal with, and we just don't know what to do anything. As much as we try to be compassionate about the fact that he's suffered a stroke, these changes are making life with him impossible. Has anyone else dealt with these types of problems before? If so, do you have any suggestions on what we could do to address these problems? Do they tend to fade with time, or are these changes permanent? Are there medications/drugs/therapy that will help?
The following 4 users give hugs of support to: bella135
betsypear1 (02-19-2012),goingtorun (02-19-2012),Mulchie (02-26-2012),Positive Cynic (02-23-2012)
G’Day Bella 135,
Hope you are well and healthy. Two years ago at the age of 54, I suffered a clot in the brain stem. My future didn’t look very rosy, the doctors told my wife “ if he lives he’ll never walk”. There was no real reason for me to suffer this type of stroke, I was fit and healthy. Later on the reason for the stroke was put down to the enormous amount of stress I was under during the previous 6 years.
I changed after the stroke, both physically and mentally. The physical changes are noticeable and with constant exercise I’m improving slowly, I’m able to walk and drive now. The real battle is with my emotions.
Before the stroke I never really cried and could control emotions’ rather well. Now I find I cry at a drop of a hat, and it’s not just a whimper the crying and the excessive laughing is humiliating.
I know I don’t suffer the same as your father, and you might find it hard to find someone with the same symptoms. No one stroke is the same as the other, you got to remember he’s just had his brain sort of been rearranged, for want of a better term.
After a long resistance, I going to see a “shrink “about my emotional problems, maybe your dad needs similar help. You have to be patient with your dad, it takes time for the brain to start heeling itself. He might not even realise exactly how he’s behaving. I can tell you one thing for sure; a stroke can sure put the fear of God in you, real quick.
Hope your dad keeps improving and you and all your loved stay well and healthy.
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Positive Cynic (02-23-2012)
Hello Bella, and welcome to the stroke board. We are happy you have found us and hope we can offer you the support you need to get through this difficult experience with your father.
As George mentioned, strokes are very mysterious, and strike all of a bit differently. Depending on the area of the brain that is afflicted and the severity of the damage can create a multitude of symptoms, many of which most of us recover from.
I am a survivor of 4 simultaneous strokes, nine years ago now. Although I have had quite an amazing recovery, it has taken lots of time and even more patience...from both myself and my family.
The early months following the stroke are very very confusing and is scary as heck for the survivor. His thoughts are so jumbled and criss crossed, it can be terrifying. Of course, the family is faced with your own struggles, as there is so little you can do to soothe your dads discomfort and confusion. He is scared, he is frustrated, he does not know why this has all happened to him. When you have a stroke you wake up and your entire world had disappeared and you are left with a new world that does not make sense, your thoughts are unable to control and your actions are impossible to understand. it is truly a horrible situation with no answers. One minute he was your dad, with a whole life behind him and in front of him, and the next, he has no idea what to expect the next minute.
The best news I have for you is that with time, there is a great possibility that many of his normal functions will return. The emotions are a very normal part of the early processes which are disturbed. I dont know of a stroke survivor, and I have met many...who have not cried uncontrollably for months, for no apparent reason. There is a lot to cry about, trust me, but it just seems to be an important release mechanism. I remember crying my eyes out when I read in the newspaper that the president got to sleep in! The more my family laughed at me, the more I cried. Of course, we all laugh about it now.
Reming yourself and your dad that you love him dearly, that you are not going to abandon him. That he is still your hero, that he is still the man you remember, that taught you to ride your bike, to take you campling, whatever it is he did. Remind him and yourself, that he has suffered a brain injury that his brain is frantically trying to repair., Remind him that sleep is when most of his repair is happening, so to rest, to sleep to relax. Remind him and yourself, that he is trying to make sense of what makes no sense.
Save your anger and frustrations for when you are out of his presence. Find some stress relief strategies for yourself that you can use to purge the anger and stress from your body and mind. He is not trying to drive you insane, and dont let him. He is in the middle of a brain trauma, and he needs love and family more that ever in his life.
Celebrate his triumphs, as there will be some every day if you look for them, however little they may seem.
Spend as much time with him as you can to keep his spirits and his thoughts on you...
I hope this helps a bit.. I just lost my dad and he changed into another person at the end, but we just have to look beyond the effects of what has happened and remember our love and our care...I wish you the very best...
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Mulchie (02-26-2012),pooja bhatia (10-20-2012)
Hello and Welcome to the stroke board. You will find wonderful caring people here as you already know with George and Janet and I agree with both of them. They have a true understanding of what you are going through.
When we suffer a stroke our brains take a hit and there is swelling as a result. This swelling takes time to go down and some symptoms are because of it. Having a stroke is like hitting a wall. The life we had is gone and we are very scared. Emotions are sometimes uncontrollable and confusing. I know you and your family are having a hard time understanding how your dad is feeling and Your dad is having a hard time understanding how he is feeling. Respect his wishes best you can. Love and understanding, quiet and gentle care and like Janet said when you are lost for patience leave and take a break. Your dad is so early in recovery, so much will improve with encouragement. Tell him he is going to get well. Tell him he is not alone and you know he is scared. A good book for you and your familly to read is My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. Its a wonderful book and will help you understand some of what your dad is experiencing. Try to create a calm environment and if your dad wishes to get spiritual go along with it. We suffer tremendous fear and worry of having another stroke. Sometimes God comforts us when we have no where else to turn. In our darkest hour he is there and if your dad reaches out to him, thats ok he will find comfort.
The anxious thoughts you talk about seem to be a common thread with stroke. I pray you are all able to come together as a family and understand he will get better. How much he will improve no one knows but he will improve.
God Bless Mulchie
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pooja bhatia (10-20-2012)
My father who is 69 got brain stroke just 7 days before ,He has a very active personality .By God grace it was first minor attack,he had got some clot in brain stem.And he is alright now,only little effect physically we can see in his left arm.I know a person who affected from this brain stroke and independent in all sense ,really got a lot of difference in his emotions.Because he is not able to understand why and what is happening with him ?He want to stand like before and for emotions all we need a lot of patience.
G’day Pooja Bhatia,
Hope you and your family are well and in good sprits. Your father is in the very early stages of recovery.
He has had a hit to his brain, and believe me that’s a fact that should never be understated. You must remember no two strokes are the same. I’m sure he’s under medical supervision, but your help and understanding is invaluable. You have to encourage him to strive to do his best with in his capabilities. He has to shown a lot of patience and caring. Keep his sprits high.
I wish you and all your loved ones all the best now and in the future.
You may want to start a new thread to keep track of your fathers progress? Keep in touch.