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Managing Husband’s Exhaustion
Hey Caregiver Team,
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, my 39 year old husband recently suffered from two strokes caused by two unexplained dissections. The stroke affected his left side, losing everything initially. We’ve rehabbed and have gained everything 100% and are finishing off our rehab with the left arm and hand.
We are rehabbing well, and are taking Baclofin to help with tone in his left hand (along with a bunch of other medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, anxiety, blood thinner, etc.) Unfortunately my husband has been dealing with a large amount of exhaustion since the strokes. I’ve explained that he is going to feel exhausted because of all the effort he has to put in to get his recovering limbs incorporated in to his everyday life and that exhaustion is expected with medicines like Baclofin. It’s tough getting us on a regular sleep schedule (going to bed before 11pm), which I know doesn’t help. We’ve been messing with the Baclofin doses (with doctors guidance and blessing), but he still feels exhausted all of the time and is getting cranky and angry because of it.
Does anyone have any recommendations? At this point I’m about to give him a straight caffeine drip.
AHAASAKatie, October 1, 2019 9:20am EST
Good morning, I am so sorry that your family is having to manage this. You are right that the fatigue could be a side effect of the strokes. I also wondered if the doctors have done a full metabolic, hormonal and thyroid panel lately? Those are all areas that could impact energy as well? Please let me know if that is helpful as well. Best Katie
Spooky75, October 1, 2019 12:11pm EST
I can absolutely relate. I suffered a cryptogenic stroke last year, and I still deal with fatigue. Many stroke survivors I've talked to deal with the same issue ... often years post-stroke. I joke about that caffeine drip all the time!
Honestly, what's helping me now is trying to stay active. Getting a workout in definitely increases my energy level. However, I also listen to my body and my brain, and if I just feel like I need rest, I rest.
HERBWOMAN66, October 2, 2019 4:20am EST
I am a RN and I graduated in 1976 so I have worked for quite a while.
My husband has many medical challenges including diabetes, high blood pressure, two bypasses, total knee replacement, ect... is currently on dialysis 3 X a week awaiting kidney transplant which is on hold due to his stroke the end of June.
This is his second transplant and he has been on a boatload of medications over the years - sometimes so many I know that they can't be sure how they all interact with each other.
Besides the fatigue from the stoke, your husband's medications could also add to his fatigue - depending upon what class/dose/time of day taken...
Do you have a good internist who can look @ the whole person - your husband's medications, maybe physical therapy?, or if that's not affordable, taking a chair yoga class @ a senior center, or chair exercise class, a senior pool exercise class, or just walking in the pool.
When I was in a severe RA flare up and extremely fatigued, I was told to rest 10 minutes every hour. By rest,I mean lay on the couch or bed, turn out the lights, no music, phone, TV, or any distractions period. Set a timer on your phone. Cover and close your eyes.
You could make it 15 20, or however many minutes you need each hour. It worked for me although it did take a week or so for me to really notice the difference in my energy.
As far as sleep- make sure your mattress is very good, no TV in the bedroom, blackout drapes are a must(Walmart has them), cotton sheets that breathe really help, consistent bedtimes and arising times establish great, great diets with a lot of plant based foods, (Mediterranean diet is good however I am a vegetarian).
This is what is helping my husband... and what helped me.
The exercise, although I hated it and it completely wore me out and I slept afterwards. I ached all over terribly-biofreeze before and after helped. Now I would use CBD ointment before and after- although if you decide to go that route be careful where you purchase it from. A lot of it is useless.
Anyway, good luck. Let me know ( if you want to ) what medication your husband is on, all the info. If not- no problem.
I hope you have a good internist that can help you if that hasn't been explored..
My thoughts are with you. I hope that you are taking care of yourself,too.
Matthew1, October 4, 2019 10:04am EST
Hi, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this ...I can not speak to specific medication but I can tell you this: as a stroke survivor (3 years ago) I am STILL exhausted most of the time. The brain takes years to heal and that process is exhausting. Add to that, rehabilitation is extremely taxing PLUS there are medicines that can make a person tired. So, I would take each aspect individually. Talk to doctors about side effect of medicines, PACE himself with PT and SLEEP, SLEEP , SLEEP. this is a marathon and YOU GUYS CAN GET THRU IT!!!! be patient
GBVSNY, December 7, 2019 9:59pm EST
Hi - My husband was 41 at the time of his stroke and we are almost 1.5 years post event, but the fatigue plagued him. He can fall asleep at any given time - mid conversation, mid toilet use, and forget sitting for tv.
he was also recently diagnosed with extremely severe sleep apnea. I am hopeful that treatments for the apnea will help improve his fatigue.