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Father had stroke-Any advice u can give?

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Old 03-25-2006, 07:38 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: nyc
Posts: 7
NYCdaughter HB User
Father had stroke-Any advice u can give?

Hello, My father is 74 years old, very active, writer, owns his own business. During a yearly checkup, the Dr. listened to his neck and said his carotid arteries were 90% blocked and he should have surgery. I live in NYC and found a top surgeon for the procedure. He never got that far. The anesthesia gave him a massive stroke and heart attack. Today is day 10 since the stroke and heart attack. He is completely paralyzed on the right side. He doesn't seem to understand words. He can not write, read or communicate. The therapist held out a comb and a pen and asked him where the pen was...he reached for the comb.

He can swallow purees, and water by the teaspoon. I'm devasted that I brought him to this hospital to have this procedure and this is the result. He is asleep most of the time, and can not do much with his non-paralyzed side (left side) either.

What to do?? I feel like they are dismissing him and suggesting a nursing home. How can he do physical therapy when he has no strength? How can he do speech therapy when he falls asleep in the middle of it? How can he follow directions if he can't understand?

Does anyone have advice or a similar situation? 10 days is not long--shoudn't they give him more time? They just want him to leave the hospital to free up the bed. He is so helpless and I feel so helpless to help him.
Again I'm in NYC. Can anyone recommend the best course of action? Thank you.

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Old 04-05-2006, 12:28 AM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Wedderburn, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 1
Marnie52 HB User
Re: Father had stroke-Any advice u can give?

I am in Australia but faced a very similr problem a couple of years ago. My father was 76, he had a stroke that paralized his right side. He was unable to speak, eat, use his bladder or bowels, walk etc.
He seemed to understand what we were saying, sometimes. When my little 18 mth old grandson wandered from the room, he grabbed at Mum's arm and pointed at the door. He made gestures with his good hand about what he wanted and we felt he was still in there somewhere. The medical staff told us that having a stroke like his was like opening a filing cabinet and throwing all the files into the air. When you pick them up, nothing is in order and nothing makes sense. He had to be tube fed, have his bladder catheretized and wear a nappy. He kept getting infections from the tubes and the hospital asked us if we wanted to have him treated or just let nature take it's course. We didn't understand that he was so ill, because every now and then we could see the man we knew come through, so we asked that he be treated, we kept thinking he could get better with physio etc.
They said that physio would only work if he could understand what they were saying and respond. He couldn't. After three months we realised that he was never going to get any better and he wouldn't have wanted to live in the state he was in. When the next infection set in we made the agonising decision to let him go. Three days afterwards, he passed away peacefully.

It is the hardest thing in the world to do to someone you love so much but I know we eventually did the right thing by him.

I guess what I am trying to say guided by the medical staff. They see this sort of thing every day and if he cannot respond after two weeks it is very unlikely that he will. They told us that if there is going to be any gain, it will be in the first ten days. After two weeks, what you have is all you've got.

Seven days before he died, it was my mother's birthday. I got a card and gave him a pen and asked him to write something. The staff had tried in vain for nearly three months to get him to write (he was left handed). I thought he would throw the pen away as he had always done in the past but I stressed that it was for Mum, and how happy she would be if he could just make a mark on it. This time he held on to the pen and slowly and laboriously wrote something on the card. Mum was overjoyed at the effort he had gone to but it was a day later when we were passing it to someone that the penny dropped.
He had written her name, each letter was either back to front, upside down or a mirror images but he had actually got all five letters of JOYCE in the correct order. It was a wonderful gift and we treasure it. But I still believe we did the right thing.

If he can respond to instructions then you should keep pushing for treatment to improve his quality of life. He can still have treatment in a Nursing Home but honestly sweetheart, if he is that bad and hasn't responded by now, then the chances are that he will not get any better.

Good luck, my thoughts and sympathies are with you.


Old 04-05-2006, 09:28 AM   #3
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Re: Father had stroke-Any advice u can give?

hi NYC daughter, I'm sorry I can't give you any advice on your father. I can tell you, 10 days, 10 weeks, even 10 months! isn't a terribly long time post stroke, though it seems to be. my stroke was on November 2nd. 1992. I'm still making improvements, as subtle as they may be? every stroke is different, to every person. my stroke effected my entire left side. even, the doctors can't honestly give you exact prognosis of stroke recovery! according to my doctors then, i shouldn't be here today. but i am, and I'm happier than i've ever been in my life! the doctors i see now say, "I'm so healthy I'm boring." go figure? stroke recovery is a life long process, improvements can be made, as long as the patient works to improve? I'm not ready to give up hope of even more recovery. below is my story posted on a traumatic brain injury board, I'd posted in 1996, or 7 i believe. none of it pertains to your father's condition? only serves to show there is always hope! my member status shows me as a newbie? actually, i've been a member for years. just never post much.

may cod bless you and your father!



sorry i don't have a picture. as for my story here goes.
it's not unlike a lot of others except there is no-one else i can pass the blame onto no drunk driver no icy roads. my tbi came about by my own accord. it was on November 2nd 1992, it started out as any other day i left home at 5 AM heading out to work. i was a foreman for a construction company i had been a union carpenter for 27 years.

we started work at 7 but i always left early to stop at a local greasy spoon for coffee and BS. I left there about 6:15 and drove the 30 miles on to the job site we were building a us post office in Delaware. work started as usual at 7 sharp being a union job of course coffee break was at 9:15 but only 15 minutes. i looked at my watch it was 9:30 time to go back to work heading back i was informed one of our hydraulic man lifts was in the way of electricians so i climbed on to move it as I'd done hundreds of times, while backing the lift up i looked back and saw the beam coming but no time to do anything. the beam hit me in the back pushing me forward onto the controls of the lift i was pinned as i was pushed i was pushing the controls with my body the more i pushed the more i was crushed by the way i was up in the air 27 feet. i was caught from my waist to my head with 9,000.pounds of pressure no escape. there were 14 people working for me i yelled the best i could nobody heard me.

i never lost consciousness finally the pressure squeezed me enough that my chin pushed the off button by the controls but not before breaking my jaw in 5 places because i never passed out i heard every pop of the bones breaking in my jaw. my teeth were pushed out one at a time i spit then onto to lift floor. eventually someone saw what had happened and tried to get me out the brain surgeons they are they decided to cut the lines but they have check valves in case of accidental breakage so the lift was stuck in that position. the rescue squad had to use the jaws of life to free me.

i remember getting free and into the ambulance then into the emergency room where i was trying to tell them to call my wife but my broken jaw was just kind of flapping as i tried to talk but when i pointed to my wedding ring they understood and said it was being done the problem is my wife was in Texas for her job at the time i had taken her to the airport the day before they did get in touch with her and told her i was there and talking that i had broken my jaw. i was so combative in the emergency room they gave me some kind of meds. to temporarily paralyze me(or they thought) i guess i went into shock about that time my heart rate jumped to like 260 and blood pressure sky high caused me to have a massive stroke i lapsed onto coma that lasted 9 days

by the time my wife made it back from Texas. i can remember most every minute of it i could hear the doctors telling her I'd die by morning my left eye never closed for some reason i could see and hear when i came out of my coma i told my wife who had been to see me and what they were wearing the doctors couldn't believe it i was told i had over 50 visitors that first day they even forgot the 2 at a time rule my wife said at one time there was 17 people in my room at once the nurses let them stay. when i woke up 2 days later they took me in to set my jaw and i wore an external fixator until 2 days before Christmas i can still remember each one that was standing by my bed when i woke up there was 9 people not counting nurses and doctors.on December 16th i was transferred to a re-hab in pa. only to be shipped back to the hospital in Delaware because of high fever re-hab wont take sick people.

if i lived through the night this time they would remove my gall bladder the next day well i lived they did i felt much better then stayed there another week then back to re-hab lots of extensive therapy physical and occupational along with speech and cognitive on January 11th i was doing well enough i was transferred to their independent living facility on site there i am completely paralyzed on my left side and still needed lots of assistance doing most everything

in my room was twin beds so my wife was allowed to stay with me. she went to work from there each day and returned at night workman's comp even approved the extra expense. i had 7 house of therapy a day so the time went fast i remember my first night in the independent living i was in bed i just knew i could get up to go into the bathroom WRONG i got out of bed and hit the floor yelled for help an aide heard and came got me back in bed was a long night no sleep. you'd think i woulda learned wrong again that night in bed i looked over looked at my wife in other bed i knew i could make it that far i crawled into my wheelchair i made it gave her a nice hug the bed was too small she sent me back to my bed so i climbed back into the wheelchair and damned if that thing didn't throw me back on the floor the aide heard the thump and came in she said that the only time she ever sees me I'm on the floor we both laughed back in bed i went. with a lot of hard work and perseverance i was able to go home in February for the nights my wife picked me up after work we went home i got up early and rode with her to work a bus picked me up across the street and took me to therapy all day this went on till the 12th of march 1993 the i was released to stay home all the time.

my wife took 90 day emergency leave and stayed with me as i still couldn't stay alone i couldn't ever wipe my own butt. how embarrassing that was i couldn't even stand up to pee i found out what it's like if someone leaves the toilet seat up whoo thats scary. i remember the first time my wife got back to rehab after work when i was with my physical therapist and she saw me walking with a quad cane she just smiled at me then we both started crying seems like ages ago. she finally had to go back to work the 90 days were over i had a community

services agent who came to the house 3 days a week for 5 house a day he took me anywhere i wanted/needed to go. we went bowling, visiting my friends or whatever i wanted to do my doctor prescribed a membership to the YMCA so we went there and got in the swimming pool i practiced my walking and exercises my Christmas present to my wife was going to be walking from the bedroom into open our gifts without any assistance it took lots of work but i did it boy was she surprised i couldn't have bought her a better present but i had another motive too my daughter was getting married in may nothing was going to stop me from walking her down the isle NOTHING i was lucky the house we lived in was a rancher one floor so was fairly accessible whatever needed to be done to make it so workman's comp picked up they were good in every way but i didn't know that when my law suit was settled they got every penny back in my case it came to over a million dollars but they knew it all along.

well it's been almost 13/12 years now I'm still paralyzed completely on my left i was left handed still cant write very well but don't need to we have more money than needed we are happy live a good life my wife was even able to retire we take lots of vacations wheelchair and allow have 2 wonderful grandsons ages 2 and 3 we love spending time with them. that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

thank you for listening i mean reading
great big huggs
your TBI friend
survivor of a stroke

happiness is a way of life, not a goal in life, success comes in cans not can'ts

Old 04-05-2006, 07:04 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: nyc
Posts: 7
NYCdaughter HB User
Re: Father had stroke-Any advice u can give?

Thank you so much Mary and Larry and all who reply and for sharing your touching stories. It's nice to come home and feel I have someone who can relate (even virtually) Mary when I hear your story I guess I should feel lucky. My father is eating (like a horse) so they didn't have to put a peg. He drinks lots of fluids. He went from totally paralyzed on right side to wheelchair to cane (although wobbly) with 8 days of therapy(although still no use of right arm). He always goes to bathroom for #2 and has lots of accidents with #1. He will try to repeat the words I ask him to (in a whisper) and has a wicked sense of humor. (When the speech therapist he's not so crazy about finally leaves he nods goodbye graciously and when she's out of sight he ROLLS his eyes : ) It's just so hard to see this man who was so brilliant...designer, author, inventor....he had a new product launching this summer, now he doesn't know his last name. IT DEVASTES me. I've had my share of pain in this life (lost my sister to breast cancer) but NOTHING (to me) is worse than a brain injury. I guess you just have to grateful for the little victories, and do your best. Thank you all again for reaching out. ---Blessings, Claudia.

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