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Old 01-04-2013, 06:01 PM   #1
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Mom just had some mini strokes - terrified daughter needing advice!

Hi everyone. I'm new to the boards and looking for some advice andguidance through these waters.

My mom was admittd to the ER with severe pain and it was found that she had severe pneumonia in her lungs and an infected abscess in her lung taking up about half of her left lung. So she was admitted for urgent surgery to drain the infection.

Now she is an alcoholic and a smoker so they gave her something to sedate her and to help with detoxification side effects, so they pasically put her out for the night. But she was still semi aware as she yelled "STOP" when they were messing with her IV.

She goes into a successful surgery and because she was not waking as fast as they wanted they did a CAT scan right after. Everything looked fine.

Fast forward a day and a half and still no sign of her waking up. They do another CAT scan and now see several minor strokes.

It is now almost a week and still no consciousness, which is freaking me out because she walked into the hospital talking and aware....so what happened??? They still don't know what caused it. Sh has no clots and they have tested her heart - no problem there.

OK so here is where we are at as of tonight. When they use pain stimulus to make her uncomfortable enough to try and move, she has moved her right arm quite a bit. She has not moved her left at all. She has moved her left toe ever so slightly and a little more movement on her right foot.

If you hold her eyelids opened for her now she seems to look around and even make eye contact. My sister held up two fingers and she closed all the other fingers on her right hand except two so it seems she has a little awareness. If she's at least that aware, how come she can't open her eyes. Could her eyelids be paralyzed?

She is on a respirator because of the surgery and to give her body a chance to heal, though she is breathing more than the respirator is giving her which is a good sign, so we may not need that much longer.

I'm really worried about quality of life. Will she be able to swallow? How can therapy teach someone to do that when its muscles inside the throat. How do you teach that?? I know we're dealing with a lot of physical therapy down the line but I'm so worried as to her personality and awareness.

Can anyone tell me what to expect, and what we can do for her in the meantime? Will it help if we move her extmities around a bit? ANy pitfalls or things I should know. I'm just terrified for her and fairly depressed. Thanks so mch in advance.

 
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:01 PM   #2
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Re: Mom just had some mini strokes - terrified daughter needing advice!

Hello and welcome to our family of stroke survivors and caregivers.
I am so very sorry for what you and your mom are going through. It is so difficult to be a caregiver when we are caring for someone we love.
Your mom has suffered several mini strokes and when that happens the brain swells. It takes time for the swelling to go down. She needs positive gentle encouragement. Tell her she is going to be fine. Tell her she is going to get through this. Your mom will recovery how much we dont know but some of the things you are mentioning are very positive. Make sure you read the posts of other caregivers and stroke survivors because you will find them amazing.
Never give up and never lose hope.
Yes if she wakes up and cant swallow on her own there are therapists who are trained to work those muscles and bring that back. With stroke the brain has been hit and the body is trying to reconnect. As we have all found recover holds much possibilty.
You must be her advocate and speak on her behalf. Demand the best care and demand you know what is going on and how you can help her. Remember recovery is slow. Stay positive and do some reading. It is good to be educated on stroke so you can ask the right questions and it helpsyou feel like your in control. You can gain a lot of info from this board.
Please keep posting and let us know how your both doing, You are in my prayers God Bless Mulchie

 
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:04 PM   #3
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Re: Mom just had some mini strokes - terrified daughter needing advice!

I join Mulchie in welcoming you to this special place. I am also very sad for all you are going through during this waiting phase.

Although each stroke is different, there are many parts of stroke that are very similar as well. I know when I was in my state of unconsciousness, I remember many parts of it. I was aware of my family being around me, and the nurses chatting and joking. I could not respond at all. But I did have some awareness, so I also encourage you to talk to her, rub her hands and legs and feet. Stimulate her gently and provide her as much comfort as you can.

At the same time, get yourself enough rest while she is in the hands of the hospital, as you will need to be strong in the weeks and months ahead. Keep yourself well hydrated, and well fed. Stroke recovery is a long process, but one filled with potential.

Please feel free to continue to post your feelings and questions. WE are here to help, and know the many aspects of recovery like no others do.

Waiting for answers seems like forever, but each day will likely have some new information for you. With your mothers other health issues, these can complicate any diagnosis, but please be patient.

Do you have any other family that can help you with the hospital visits. Reach out to anyone you can trust to comfort you during this difficult time.

Be well, and let us know anything new,..

Janet

 
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:15 PM   #4
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Re: Mom just had some mini strokes - terrified daughter needing advice!

Hi, and thank you so much for the support and encouragemnt.

So here is where we are now and I'd LOVE your advice. She can move her left arm and is answering yes/no questions when she is awake by moving her hand. There has been a very tiny bit of movement inher right toes but nothing on the left at all. She is also only able to partially open her eyes.

They took the breathing tube out on Monday to see how she does on her own and she's holding just above the level of respiration that would be the minimum to not intubate her again so it's touch and go.

But I think it may have been too soon because I can see she is struggling and now she's sleeping much more and is a lot less responsive. So I think it's really taking it out on her and I've said as such to the nurses. Do you think I could be right? They say stroke injuries heal during sleep right? So if she's not getting enough good rest it could be slowing her recovery?

They did a speech and swallow test on her. Right now she cannot swallow anything at all, but they don't know if it is because her throat is aggravated from the respirator and feeding tubes. They are feeding through her nose now.

I'll post more updates when I get them. Thanks so much everyone!

 
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:38 PM   #5
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Re: Mom just had some mini strokes - terrified daughter needing advice!

So sorry to hear about your mother. I hope that she will regain herself soon. I know this is a very difficult time and I pray for your strength.

Be wishes and prayers sent.

Iwamura

 
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:14 AM   #6
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Re: Mom just had some mini strokes - terrified daughter needing advice!

I feel your pain and anxiety and I want to tell you to stay strong and focused for a positive outcome. My 79 year old father was in Taiwan in April 2007 and was struck on his shoulder by a passing truck. He suffered a massive stroke too. I was notified by telephone at midnight that he was in critical condition. I flew to Taipei the next day, (around 18 hours from NJ). The first 10 days he was completely paralyzed & unable to speak. Around day 7 the doctor came in to his room and told me he would never walk or talk again. She said he was brain damaged and couldn't understand anything that was happening around him. I was standing by his head and his eyes were opened. Tears were coming out of his left eye & his eyes were bulging. I knew he was very conscious of what was happening & was trapped inside of his own body! I knew that doctor was wrong. She also said he would be dead within 3 months. I spoke into my dads ear that I knew he could hear us & I was getting him out of there as soon as it was medically possible and would stay there by his side until he was ready. In two weeks time he got up. His left side was paralized. We did physical therapy everyday for hours. After two weeks he could walk again. I got him back to the states in 30 days. He couldn't talk yet. It will be 6 years in April, he's walking, talking (limited vocabulary compared to before stroke) goes to the gym every morning to work out (hes 84 years old now) & still kicking it. So hang in there.
Best Wishes and keep positive as best you can.
Mickey

 
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:53 AM   #7
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Re: Mom just had some mini strokes - terrified daughter needing advice!

The nurses are right and You are too. It did take a lot out of your mom when the tube came out and if she is struggling a bit to breath then yes everything we do when we are in stroke recovery seems to tax our energy and you are right. However the nurse is right too in stroke recovery rest and sleep is so important because it is healing. Im so glad she is answering yes or no because you have established communication. that is very good for mom and you. But when she is sleep so much its hard I know to gather enough information from her. Continue to encourage her with encouraging and positive words. Gentle and quiet communication and constantly tell her she is going to get well. You are healing you are getting stronger with every day.
You mentioned she is partially opening her eyes thats is great news. I know some of these things seem like tiny little improvements but really they are big and as long as they continue she is moving in the right direction.
How are you doing? I know its hard to stand by and watch and wonder and worry. Your doing a great job knowing whats going on and questioning the nurses. Continuing to be your moms advocate is doing the very best thing for her. Hang in there and please continue to post if you can. It is good to talk to people who understand what your going through. We are all here for you and your mom.
God Bless Mulchie

 
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