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Re: Dad had a stroke

Re: Dad had a stroke

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Posted by anna on May 26, 2000 at 14:27:41:

In Reply to: Dad had a stroke posted by Paula on May 26, 2000 at 08:50:47:

: 14 days ago my father had what the doctors call a massive stroke on the left side of his brain. The first day they told us he would not survive because of fluid in his lungs. By the next afternoon he was awake and could nod yes and no to questions and had total movement back in his right leg. 2 days post stroke he could speak single words, and tried to put sentences together, though we could not understand him. After days of trouble with his breathing a E.N.T. specialist was called in to check out his throat and discovered alot of swelling which was blocking his airway and had a trach put in. After that his vitals are staying stable, although his heart has gone back into a-fib which is what caused the stroke in the first place, but it is being treated and they do not seem really concerned about it right now. There are days when he is really coherent and can "visit with us", and then there are days when we can tell he's just no comprehending anything we say. Any advice and encouragement would be appreciated.

: Thanks Paula

It sounds like he is making great progress!
I had a left brain stroke and it is very frustrating not to be able to speak. However the brain swelling will subside a bit in the next 6-8 weeks and he can make a remarkable improvement because of this.
Right now he needs to know he is understood, and that it's okay if he can't talk for awhile.
Keep him encouraged with conversation (don't shout) and just act normal. Keep him occupied if it doesn't tire him out with things like reading,
(or read to him if he can't) simple puzzles.

It's hard to describe how tough aphasia is, and not knowing the severity of the stroke (each one is different) I cannot imagine to comment on the damage. But it was my experience with aphasia that as long as I didn't talk it seemed as if everything was okay because I could think clearly.
Then I would open my mouth and it was impossible to talk.. I couldn't find the right word.. it seemed as if all my large words were destroyed.
But.. it comes back ..surround him with language.
Keep a television on or a radio. The thing is as I hear and understand a word, I then have a memory of it again, and store it in another place. Then when I go to speak again I can use that word. Sometimes I will find myself using a word that is similar to the one I want or an associated word.. like I told the therapist I was having trouble "twisting" my hair because my hand was uncoordinated.. and what I meant to convey was I was having trouble using the curling iron.
Encourage your father to exprience things using more than one sense so that he will store the information in other parts of the brain, such as taste, smell, touch, hearing, etc.
Just hang in there it seems bad right now but he's made it thus far, and that is good.
Watch out for depression as the realization settles in and the process of healing and learning to talk can seem overwhelming. Three months out and I still break down in tears but its only the emotional lability. Just remember he's lost a lot here and it's okay to cry.
Telling him how lucky he is to be alive doesn't put a dent in it for awhile.
It will get better.. but he will have to work on it and he will do it at his own pace. Just be encouraging and supportive.
My heart goes out to you

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