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Frontal Lobe Hemorrhagic Stroke
My 71 year old father was in a bicycle accident on 8/9/19. He suffered a stroke at impact after he hit the pavement. The crash was captured by a dash cam; the men that captured the video acted quickly and my father was airlifted to shock trauma. He is one of kind, very fit and athletic bikes 20-30 miles 3-4 days per week, gardens, lives life to the fullest. He is in ICU, has a feeding tube (soon to have PEG because he is not swallowing), limited movement left hand, he hasn't talked or opened his eyes, however, he does listen to commands (thumbs up, lifts legs, puckers up for a kiss, squeezes our hands, etc.) What things can we do for him during his hospital stay to make him more comfortable? We have been playing music (loves Billy Joel) and talking to him. Any other suggestions??? He is the most wonderful person in the world...we are hoping that he will be OK.
AHAASAKatie, August 15, 2019 7:40am EST
I am so sorry that this has happened to your father. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to make him more comfortable now. What are the doctor's saying about his condition and recovery? I look forward to reading what our members are able to share with you regarding their experiences. Best Katie
JeffB, August 15, 2019 9:11am EST
Sorry to hear that your father had this injury. It's a major event to survive and having family around to help and be present is so huge. It sounds like you are doing everything right from what you wrote. My friend had a similar stroke three years ago now. When he was in ICU, and unconscious, we read to him, talked with guests who stopped by and made sure we audibly included him. Recanted stories of good times and positive notes about his recovery citing what his Dr's told us so he'd have something to mentally work out in his head as a framework for what the road ahead might look like. We found stories about other stroke survivors and read those as well to him to provide some layer of hope as well.
That's the easy part.
The hard part for himself and for his friends and family will be to aggressively adopt any changes as OK and normal. Don't dwell on what was lost but celebrate the man who is with you. Strokes are tough. Well, any brain injury is, they can totally remap a person's personality in unexpected ways. The thing you might want to consider is to support him as an individual as he comes back out of where he is right now.
There are going to be plenty of times for despair and depression however try not to fall into that cycle. You will be tempted to do things, everything, for your dad (or his actual caregivers) but give him responsibility for himself as soon as his Dr's give him clearance. This could be as simple as bathroom, bathing, making a sandwich, going for walks or even paying his own bills. Let him take his time as recovery is radically different for everyone. But also empower him to become responsible for himself in whatever way he can as, in my experience, it will make him feel useful and productive and give him something to be proud of... something the stroke didn't take away.
Lastly, be good to yourselves. What you are going through is huge. It's a lot of stress and responsibility. Be there as much as you can, but take precautions to listen to yourself and allow your own time for grief and healing. Don't burn out quickly, instead, kindle a slow-burning flame of support that your father will be able to rely on like a lighthouse in a storm as he finds his way home.
I wish you the best of luck.
Matthew1, August 16, 2019 6:15am EST
I’m very sorry to hear this. When I suffered a stroke and was semi coherent in the ICU, I have vague memories of physical touch. I.e, My wife holding my hand. It meant a lot. Being present and having him know that you are there is paramount. Telling him stories and reminding him of happy things and memories may help. Remember, every stroke is different and everyone heals at a different rate. Be patient, understand he has suffered a major brain injury and there will be good days and some not so good days. That’s part of the process. He needs your help in taking care of his emotional needs. But you also must take care of you! Make time for yourself. Finally, be in regular contact with neurologists to understand his progress. Hope this helps. Stay strong!!!!
dcomer, October 25, 2019 6:08pm EST
Hello. As others have expressed, I am also sorry to hear of your Fathers' stroke. My wife suffered a dual brain bleed in both sides of her brain. I am told by her Neurologist that this is technically referred to as a "Hemorrhage" and not a stroke as it describes in more detail what the brain injury is. Strokes, I am told, are injuries where the blood to the brain is cut off, such as a clot or temporary obstruction. I'm not sure what an aneurism is (I would have assumed a bleed). Anyway, not to detract from what your posting is about, I simply wanted to make the point that you should talk to and listen to as many experts as you are now headed down a journey that can be confusing and lonely at time. In my opinion, gain as much information as you can about what your Father may be going through. The biggest mistake many family members do is to try to do everything for a patient. Although your Father is in a vulnerable state right now, it is natural for you to want to help him with everything he struggles with. In the case of my Wife, Lisa was going through a grieving process because part of her had died. She lost a huge part of her life (freedom) because she was unable to do tasks (ADLs) she did every day. Really, the brain was injured, need to repair by re-generating the "pathways" in the brain to allow the brain to communicate again with the rest of the body that has had communication cut off due to blood blocking and killing the pathways. I will be up front with you here; I don't know if medically, the neurons or synoptic nerves died due to the blood hemorrhage. I forgot all the medical jargon to describe the injury. I just know that patients (stroke and hemorrhage) recover by repetition that allows the brain to "re-route" and re-establish communication between the brain and body. I apologize in advance if my lay person description offends anyone. The bottom line is that your Father will need your patience to allow himself to learn how to take care of himself, and doing everything for him without understanding that he really wants to regain his ability to dress, feed, talk, eat, swallow, etc. In my opinion, your roll should be to be with him, and help him regain what he's lost. It is going to take time; as I have been told many times, "All strokes are different" - they certainly are. Be patient with your Father; he may not be the same when he fully recovers. That's OK.
I'll end my rambling for now and leave you with a recommendation I found very useful when I was first learning how to grasp with my Wife's condition. There is a book, Jill Bolte Taylor, "My Stroke of Insight". It is an excellent description of what it was like to suffer a stroke from beginning to end (the Author's). The book is not a tell all for every instance, but there are some real gems in the books that may provide you with some insight into what your Father is going though.
I will leave you with another thing that helped me; I started writing a blog of my experience as an advocate for my wife was as I lived with her in the ICU, Hospital (the “floor”), and rehab hospital. My initial purpose was to document, for others, what I was going though and how I was attempting to deal with the experience so that someone else could glean useful information for themselves. It turned out to be more therapeutic for me as the frustrations with the systems (Medical and Insurance) can be. I really should complete the blog with my life as a caregiver now that my wife is back home.
Best of luck.
Note: Although your initial post was 8/15 and I am writting this on 10/25, I hope what I have said helps you none-the-less.