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Old 06-23-2012, 11:04 PM   #1
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What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

How is our intelligence affected when we survive a stroke? I am recovering very well from my stroke last December, but sometimes I worry if I am not as smart as I hope to be. I used to be very smart, and I was a super fast learner, but am I really the same now? I hope I am the same as before, but maybe I don't know what I don't know. Does that make sense? I know so much has happened in my brain since the stroke - I couldn't read, and I could only understand very "simple" things, and looking back I didn't realize that I had limitations at the time. Now I feel like I am "back to normal", but am I just kidding myself? I was even thinking that maybe I should take an IQ test to see how I score, but I don't know what my IQ was before i had the stroke so knowing how I do now doesn't really help.

 
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:55 AM   #2
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

G'day MarieKD,
welcome here.
hope you are as well as can be,and in good sprits.
you are still in early stages of recovery, you will keep on improving as time goes on.
the more you exerise your brain, the stonger it will get.
i had a brain stem clot back in march 2010, my math and spelling after the stroke was very poor. i had studied survey engineering, but could not do simple addition or spell simple words.
over time my memory and body has improved and is still improving.
no one can tell you how much or how long it will take to make a recovery.
every person is different to next.
the most impotant thing one has to remmeber, never give up on yourself, you must keep on, keeping on.
George.

Last edited by goingtorun; 06-24-2012 at 12:57 AM.

 
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:39 AM   #3
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

I have wondered the same things about my husband. They told me he was exactly the same, but just couldn't retrieve the words. I find it isn't true, as he gets confused so easily, it's NOT just that he can't get the word. I think it is wrong for them to tell people the stroke victim is exactly the same, because it sets the caregiver up for frustration when the stroke victim can't understand simple things. Fortunately, I did a lot of reading and was not surprised by it, but it made me mad that they gave the info out that he was as smart as ever, knowing it would cause frustration to many caregivers down the road. I do feel that all stroke victims have the POTENTIAL to be as smart as ever(meaning retrieve the info that is in there again), it just has to be brought back thru his brain to where his brain can pick it up in a new part of his brain and work from there. It will depend on how hard they work on it, and how much damage was done. Fatigue takes a hit on intelligence for all of us. I've not had a stroke, but am careagiver to husband who has, and I'm just not as smart when I'm exhausted, so it would be the same for stroke people. I mean, I COULD say I'm still as smart, just tired, but the fact is, I make sure I don't do my bills when I'm real tired, because I don't want to have to work thru the mess I would make, later.

Tonight I was trying to get my husband to 'stand up' and as usual, I had his gait belt on and was standing there with my hand on the back of it. But somehow it went over his head and he was bewildered at what I wanted him to do. Finally he asked, 'which side'. I would repeat, 'stand up', and he'd ask again 'which side?'. This went on awhile. Maybe the question is asked wrong. Maybe it shouldn't be 'are they as smart as before?' Maybe 'what info can they access in their brains that they could before?' They told me he had no problem with numbers, and he used to be GOOOD with numbers. But I watched as he missed simple addition they asked him. Sure, it may be in his brain still, or maybe it was in a place that was destroyed. But I'm thinking even if destroyed, his brain will have the same aptitude to pick it up again. We work on brain things, all the time, sometimes they just seem like games, but I have thought carefully about how his brain will react to the simple things and cause it to process logic and relearn things.

So, I guess if you wonder if you can mentally do the things that you could before, you'd have to try to do them, and see if you can do them as easily as you could before. If not now, if you are pro-active in retraining your brain, (I say this because some stroke victims just veg-out) then you still have the potential to get there later.

Last edited by Sandy Caregiver; 06-24-2012 at 07:27 AM.

 
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:41 AM   #4
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarieKD View Post
How is our intelligence affected when we survive a stroke? I am recovering very well from my stroke last December, but sometimes I worry if I am not as smart as I hope to be. I used to be very smart, and I was a super fast learner, but am I really the same now? I hope I am the same as before, but maybe I don't know what I don't know. Does that make sense? I know so much has happened in my brain since the stroke - I couldn't read, and I could only understand very "simple" things, and looking back I didn't realize that I had limitations at the time. Now I feel like I am "back to normal", but am I just kidding myself? I was even thinking that maybe I should take an IQ test to see how I score, but I don't know what my IQ was before i had the stroke so knowing how I do now doesn't really help.
Hello Marie,
Welcome back. I have not introduced myself to you yet and I apologize for that. I have been very busy the last few months and was not able to write here as much as I have liked to. Just so you know, I had a major stroke in Jan. 2010 fyi. I will answer your questions, but know that this is my opinion only. You can take what helps you and ignore anything that doesn't help you.

I would not worry too much on how intelligent you are. Intelligence has no bearing on your recovery. I think that intelligence is over rated sometimes. I have known so many people in my life that are very smart with high IQ's but have not common sense whatsoever. Common sense will take you a lot farther in life than raw intelligence. Intelligence will not pay the bills or fix a clogged toilet. Intelligence will not plant a healthy flower or hang a painting on the wall. And intelligence will not help in your stroke recovery. At times intelligence will hamper our recovery because intelligence always tries to make things more complicated than they need to be. The best solutions in the world are always simple; in other words common sense. My stroke made me slow down and humbled me to the point of feeling like a child. After the shock, confusion, and anger that I could not read or write again - I realized that I am not going to get better until I accepted what has happened to me. So instead of pitying myself, I humbled myself and started to re-learn how to read and write. I felt like I was in first grade again and I actually was. God put me back in first grade, so I could get it right this time around.

I have a new appreciation of my life and a love for the world and nature and the new people around me. Now I start my morning by feeding the wild birds and the bunnies in my neighborhood and watch the beautiful sunrise and thank God for the day and ask Him, "what do You have in store for me today?" My intelligence has nothing to do with my outlook in life and the peace and serenity I have gained.

I would not worry about taking an IQ test. It is way overrated. By the way it is not a "test" at all. There are no answers. It is more like problem solving and how you respond to it, so your brain has to be really sharp and the questions can be very confusing, even pre-stroke, so I don't think that would help you at all. It may just make you depressed. The IQ test was written by men and what they think intelligence should be. Intelligent people wrote it ya know? People who probably can't unclog their own toilets (ha ha!)

So Marie my friend. You ARE "back to normal". But your "normal" now is a "new normal". Try not to look at the past and try and recreate it. Look to the future and your new life and you will find your new place in the world and I will guarantee it will be better than what it was. But remember this. It takes time - lots of time. I am 2 1/2 years since my stroke and am just now understanding this myself. And the learning never stops. We will learn more everyday, if we accept our situation and listen to what God is saying to us as He helps our brains heal.

God Bless you Marie,
Tim

Last edited by Positive Cynic; 06-24-2012 at 05:44 AM.

 
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:44 AM   #5
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

Marie,
Hi, I'm Casey. I had two strokes in May 2010. Everyone has a different experience and a different take on what happens after the event.

I can tell you that I am not the same smart-as-a-whip Casey I was before. I used to have almost total recall of anything, phone numbers, area codes, names, recipes. Now, I don't. (The only total recall that is left is my ability to quote song lyrics-something that makes me no money! and technical processes-something that is useful.)

I applied for a job recently and failed a series of tests I could have aced previously. I was depressed for days.

However, this new me is all I've got! I work it to the best of my abilities. I'm always challenging myself to read, to learn and to remember. I now write more information down and enter names, dates, phone numbers in my electronic calendar.

In my opinion taking an IQ test wouldn't help you. If you scored lower than you anticipated you'd just be upset and you don't have a comparison point from before anyway. Even if you scored high, you'd prove very little, UNLESS you are planning to join Mensa or another group like that.

My advice is to continue your recovery, knowing that you will continue to improve over days, months and even years. And if you see a deficit, like my inability to recall phone numbers, come up with a replacement system. (My electronic calendar/phone book, for example.)

Hope this helps in some small way.

Casey

 
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:45 PM   #6
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

Hi Sandy
Something came to mind when I was reading your post. I know when a child is trying to learn something new they have a better chance when we use all sences not just one. So when telling your husband to stand up (hearing) show him a picture of someone standing up,(visual) Then motion him to stand up. I know there are picture cards you can get that are great for teaching certain movements. You can probably pull some off the internet from free clip art. If you google in images and then type in clip art movements etc.. you might find some. Print them off in black and white and glue them onto playing cards or if need be do bigger cards with his vision problems.Show him the cards before you even start so he can see the imagine and it will help him figure out what your trying to do. Or tape them on a wall infront of him but always show him a few seconds before going through the process. I will see if I can find them. It just ramps up his chances of understanding the command when you include another sence. Just a thought.
God Bless Mulchie

Last edited by Mulchie; 06-24-2012 at 12:50 PM.

 
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

The thing is, it is the first time he didn't know what I meant! He never has had a problem with standing on command before!

 
Old 06-24-2012, 05:08 PM   #8
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

I got a Job delivering pizza! the boss knows about my stroke and still hired me. Its good rehab for me working around Pizza and the free pizza is a big bonus. I go home with a pocket full of cash tips too so its ok.

 
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:24 PM   #9
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

Happy Pizza to you!

 
Old 06-24-2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

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Happy Pizza to you!
The point is that there is life after stroke. I myself am surprised at my recovery progress. I had a bad brain stem stroke, within 2 months I was driving again, within 4 months my vision returned to normal, within 6 months I got a job. I am lucky as my wife has a big income from her job and provides me with top notch health insurance. She keeps a roof over my head and all the bills are paid. I think the lack of pressure also helped me in my recovery.

 
Old 06-24-2012, 05:43 PM   #11
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

Oh yes, I know, my husband had a stroke too. I understand what you mean, my comment was a congratulations on all you've achieved to get to this place where you got the job. I hope you don't think I was just happy you were eating pizza

 
Old 06-24-2012, 06:08 PM   #12
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

I know sometimes you feel like he is going 2 steps forward and 3 back but that is normal. Sometimes the exhaustion, can cause confusion. He is working hard to recover and the further along we get in our recovery and the harder we work sometimes it can cause confusion. I found sometimes I could think so clearly and other times search for 5 minutes just for a word. It is the ups and downs to recovery and I think everyone would agree they have experienced the same kind of thing.
When I went to my neurologist the one I went to for a second opinion . He was the one who told me about the right and left brain fighting after a stroke and about the swelling. He also told me that while this is going on we can experience other symptoms. He also asked me if sometimes I felt like I had another stroke. WELL I just wanted to kiss that man. He was the first doctor I talk to that seemed to know what I was going through. Its normal he said. Keep pushing forward, rest as much as your body needs to and be kind to yourself.
Your poor husband must be so frustrated when things like that happen. Tell him we are all here for him. Im glad you are reading the posts to him because hope is alive and well on this stroke board.
God Bless Mulchie

 
Old 06-28-2012, 11:16 PM   #13
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarieKD View Post
How is our intelligence affected when we survive a stroke? I am recovering very well from my stroke last December, but sometimes I worry if I am not as smart as I hope to be. I used to be very smart, and I was a super fast learner, but am I really the same now? I hope I am the same as before, but maybe I don't know what I don't know. Does that make sense? I know so much has happened in my brain since the stroke - I couldn't read, and I could only understand very "simple" things, and looking back I didn't realize that I had limitations at the time. Now I feel like I am "back to normal", but am I just kidding myself? I was even thinking that maybe I should take an IQ test to see how I score, but I don't know what my IQ was before i had the stroke so knowing how I do now doesn't really help.
I wonder the same thing all the time. Sometimes I'll surprise myself with a thought and think for just a second "i'm back" and then its gone azgain and I get confused by something simple again. I would like to think that the moments that come even if only for a fre seconds that make me feel "together" are a sign of how its going to be again if it can come back at all then why cant it come back for good right?

 
Old 06-29-2012, 10:27 PM   #14
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Re: What happens to our intelligence when we survive a stroke?

I know what you mean. Once in awhile, my husband will have such an excellent speech that you would not know he had a stroke. I always call our son right away, so he can talk to his father. I think, 'oh, he's getting better'. Then the next day it's all "blurb, blurb, blurb" again.

 
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