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Husband’s stroke recovery
I’m new to this forum and am 51 years old. My husband had two strokes, a week apart, in April. Thankfully, after continued speech and OT sessions, he has made huge strides with his speech and is back working part time. We’re also very fortunate in that he does not have any physical issues. While I’ve read many articles and posts saying 1/3 of stroke patients are depressed, quick to anger or easily irritated, it’s been quite challenging. The anger and irritation that arises from misunderstandings cause unnecessary drama and stress for both of us. While I try to diffuse the situation whenever possible, many times it doesn’t work. I’m trying my best to be patient but it’s not easy.
Also, it’s been challenging dealing with his forgetfulness or his not comprehending things like he used to. Again, I know this is due to his brain injury but I’m just wondering how other folks deal with the bumpy road to recovery.
Thanks for any input.
Matthew1, July 31, 2019 8:43pm EST
I’m so sorrry to hear about this. I was 47 when I suffered an ischemic stroke. I understand the challenges you both face. Brain damage due to stroke takes time to heal. You’re in the very early stages. It also takes incredible patience and understanding by the caregiver. Remember, many of his reactions may not be in his control as his brain heals. No two strokes or patients are alike. There is no playbook for this. I will say that my wife was incredible Advocating for me. But she also took time for herself . Time to breathe, decompress and time to accept that stroke can (not always) change personalities. Maybe therapy for you could help ? Take it one day at a time and pick your battles!! You can do this. Unfortunately, millions have before you and millions will in the future. I hope this helps.
JKViggiano, August 1, 2019 1:10am EST
Hi Kbmc12. Matthew, who also wrote to you, is right--you are so early in the process and brain damage takes a long time to heal. I have been my husband's caregiver for 11 years. (He was 51 when he survived a massive stroke.) He had wild mood swings those first couple years. He still struggles with communication and cognition as well as some paralysis.
Staying calm and being the grown up was essential for me. I could not allow myself to get sucked into an argument because it accomplished nothing and established bad patterns. Perhaps you can try setting some goals together. When we had common goals, we had good things to focus on and we celebrated every tiny success. The goals helped me redirect the stressful moments to what we wanted to accomplish.
Also, get out and have some fun. Try to not let the strokes crush the fun of life. Even a walk on a beautiful day can change things for the better.
There is no rushing recovery, there are only thousands of tiny steps. He is alive and has the opportunity to recover--that is huge blessing! Life may not be exactly as it was but that's ok. Our life looks nothing like it did pre-stroke but our new life is still good. Yours can be too. Good luck.
JimSinclair, August 1, 2019 6:00am EST
Just as every stroke is unique to the individual the road to recovery tends to be very unique, but all are difficult and stressful. It helps to find the positives, which you already seem to be doing. While it can be difficult you must provide time to focus on your own wellbeing. If he is back to work, use that time to do things away from the home so as to give yourself a different focus during that time.
One of the little things that helps with the forgetfulness is have a place for everything and make certain that everything is in its place. Things that are very specific and routine are easier to remember. Help your husband develop a simple daily routine that he follows every morning. Following this routine can help develop a feeling that everything is as it should be and can reduce some of the anger and irritability. Make every effort for you and your husband to avoid any references to what was. Focus on the now and the fact that he has survived something that kills a great many people. As much as possible stroke survivors need to focus on what we can do and less on what we cannot do. This can be very difficult because rehabilitation programs require us to work on those things we can not do As we progress through rehabilitation and improvements are made it becomes much easier to focus on the positives.
Kbmc12, August 1, 2019 2:14pm EST
Matthew1, JK and Jim,
I’m not sure how to reply to each one of you but thank you for your words of wisdom and advice. I will take it to heart. I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences and to offer suggestions.
While we’ve made a good deal of progress since mid-April, I know we have a long road ahead of us. I will continue to take each day at a time and I will try to keep celebrating the simple things. I will also make sure to take more time for myself.