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  • Grandmother had a stroke (Advice needed)

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    Old 10-28-2007, 01:03 AM   #1
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    Grandmother had a stroke (Advice needed)


    My grandmother had a massive stroke back on the 7th of October that affected the left side of her brain. She had a heart valve transplant 2 years ago and the doctor said that the stroke was from a blood clot. The doctors also said there was another blood clot in the valve so they were going to put her on blood thinners to try dissolve the clot. She's been on blood thinners since her surgery so we were surprised. The stroke left her weak on her right side but she still had movement and was unable to speak. A day or two later another MRI scan revealed that she suffered from another small stroke at the hospital and caused hemorrhaging in the brain. The hemorrhage, however, was not severe. As the weeks went by, she began to regain a lot of her strength on the right side. She did have a lot of phlem so they put in a trach to help keep her lungs clean. She was getting better every day, she began receiving therapy to further strengthen her muscles and they started sitting her up. The doctor then wanted to discharge her to a rehab facility but when we asked about her blood clot in her valve, the doctor said we would wait until it dissolved. It was as if he forgot all about that.

    This past sunday night she had a seizure. She was given a sedative and doctors said that she would be asleep for a day or two until the sedative wore off. Tuesday she still had not awaken and the doctor suspected something else was wrong so they did an MRI. The MRI revealed that she had suffered another major stroke on the other side of her brain along with the seizure. The clot in her valve is now gone so we're assuming that she passed it and it caused her stroke. Now the doctor has said that there is nothing he can do and that she is comatose.

    She doesn't really open her eyes but she moves. Now, however, she doesn't move her left side very much but is constantly moving her right side (the side that was affected from her first stroke). I know that she can hear us; she broke out into a sweat yesterday and we didn't exactly know what was wrong because she wasn't running a temperature and my aunt asked her to blink her eyelids if she needed to go to the bathroom (#2) and she did, she couldn't go to the bathroom and needed some help. The nurses are always doing pain tests and she pulls back both hands and legs and whenever they suction the trach she moves both of her legs and tries to put her hand on her throat as to try to stop it because it hurts. She also saw her sister who she had not seen in years and when they told my grandmother she was here, she opened her eyes. She barely opened them but it seemed like she was giving it her all. My question is, how can the doctors think she is comatose. I thought comatose meant that the person was showing no type of response.

    I just feel very frustrated with her doctors. She had not one, but 2 strokes under their care. When she had her most recent stroke, I felt they just gave up on her. It took them two days to decide that they were going to do an MRI when they knew she had a clot they were trying to dissolve to prevent another stroke. On wednesday, the day after we found out she had another stroke, the doctors said they were going to discharge her that same day to another facility that was pretty far from home. They wanted to discharge her knowing she recently had another stroke. I just thought it was too soon for someone who just suffered from a major stroke. As of now, she is still at the hospital but the healthcare facility is very persistent on letting her go. Her therapy stopped, everything just came to a complete stand still.

    The only facility that had room for her is that facility but we have seen it and have read reviews and they are all bad. We want to make sure that wherever she goes will be a safe place. Right now her choices are also limited because we can only go to facilities that are affiliated with her hospital. We are intending to switch insurances at the beginning of the year. We have asked if it would be ok to take her home, atleast for now, and they have agreed. Does she need therapy at this point? Or will that come later when she makes more progress? Her hospital, at this point, doesn't think so.

    I have faith that she will continue to make progress despite this up and down rollarcoaster. I'm just afraid that if she goes home, we will impede her progress. I know if it's necessary, we will hire someone to come and give her therapy. I know this will take time but I just want to make sure everything that's being done is in my grandmother's best interest.

    I am also extremely upset at how her doctors have treated her. I know that I may be biased as the patient is my grandma but I just don't think they were very professional. When my grandmother suffered from her seizure and stroke she was unresponsive compared to what she was before that stroke and nurses continued to come in and kept asking her to wake up as if they had no idea what had happened. That made me a little nervous. Putting that all aside though, I just want to help my grandmother.

    Any advice you may have for me is greatly appreciated. Has anyone else experienced bad hospital service? Is there anything you can do to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else?

    Thank you,
    Andrea (sorry this was sooo long)

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    Old 11-10-2007, 12:02 PM   #2
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    Re: Grandmother had a stroke (Advice needed)

    That sounds like a bad hospital. They have specific hospitals that deal with heart attack and stroke. You should look into that.

    Old 11-16-2007, 07:51 AM   #3
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    Re: Grandmother had a stroke (Advice needed)

    Hi Andrea I am so sorry of the treament your grandmother is getting from the hospital, I cannot see how they can just discharge someone how has had a massive stroke as my Dad had also had a massive stroke on the left side of the brain which left him with no movement on the right side of the body, loss of speech and no swallow reflex. I am pretty sure my Dad knew how we were.
    If you would like to discuss any issues as to my dads outcome please feel free to.


    Old 11-16-2007, 11:12 AM   #4
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    Smile Re: Grandmother had a stroke (Advice needed)

    Hi Rob,
    I am interested to know if your Dad recovered his speech. My husband had a massive stroke a year ago that affected the left side of his brain. He regained his physical abilities but still cannot form his words. He understands everything we say but he cannot express himself to us. He does write and draw things sometimes. Hope your Dad is doing well.

    Old 11-17-2007, 04:48 PM   #5
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    Re: Grandmother had a stroke (Advice needed)

    There's a coma scale, that has specific numbers to tests for eye opening, speech, limb movement, and responses to stimuli....each has a different number for the type of response, and if the total number is under a set number, the person is considered to be comatose- there are different levels of coma, and some people do come out of them.

    It sounds like she's been through so much, as have you. I don't know as if I'd call this a bad hospital, but a horrible situation with the clots (sound familiar, as I've had several over the past several months, but they've been controlled by blood thinners), and many medical issues that all add up to a nightmare for you all.

    Keep talking to her, and bring her favorite lotions, colognes, music, etc. It can help stimulate parts of the brain to 'break through' some of the comatose scale 'tests', and help her wake up more spontaneously, and 'purposefully' (what the docs look for- as in doing what they ask her to do when they ask her to do it). Don't assume she's not listening (as it sounds like you're very clued into- so she's got you guys working in her favor). Let her know what's going on in the world that she'd be normally intersested in, and what you all are doing.

    Strokes are horrible, and any sort of coma situation can have so many different outcomes, but I've seen some pretty deep coma patients progress amazingly. Many did much better than expected. A lot depends on a bunch of different factors, but if your grandma would want all things possible done to help her recover, regardless of outcome, keep treating her like you normally would. My best to you all.

    Old 12-07-2007, 06:02 AM   #6
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    Re: Grandmother had a stroke (Advice needed)

    Hi Lynda my Dad has since passed away as of Nov. 6 and it was very hard on the family as he never really did not regain any speech or the ability to swallow. I know he is in a better place now as he struggled every day to communicate and just could not do it.

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