Feb 28
jcrawford2425 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Caregiver for Stroke Survivor

My husband, Mike, and I will have our 5th wedding anniversary on March 10th.  I have 2 step daughters that are both in college.  We were looking forward to being empty nesters.  On Memorial Day, 2016, Mike had a stroke at home at age 53.  My step daughters were home but I was in Virginia visiting family and friends.  I had talked to Mike at 6:30 that night and everything was fine.  When I called again at 10pm, that is when my step daughters told me he had had a stroke around 8pm.  I drove through the night to get home.
Due to my husband's religious beliefs, he didn't seek medical treatment right away.  They believe in healing through prayer.  When we got married, I knew this and we had talked about what his wishes would be if he ever got hurt.  Little did I know that we would be dealing with it so soon.
Mike did get a little better over the next 2 months but started plateauing.  So he decided to go the medical route.  I got him into a primary care doctor and neurologist.  When he went for his first appointment, his blood pressure was through the roof.  We were sent to the ER and he was admitted to ICU where he spent 8 days getting his blood pressure under control.  He was then inpatient rehab for 3 weeks. 
He has been in outpatient PT/OT/ST.  Our lives have not been the same.  He is paralyzed on the right side.  He cannot use his right arm and hand.  He has been learning to walk but is still in a wheelchair.  He also has Aphasia.  Working with his speech therapist, it is getting better but is still a struggle.
I insisted on my step daughters continuing with their education, so in the fall they both went away to school.  Mike's church has been a hugh help with rides and such. 
It is difficut for me to deal with.  I do what needs to be done because it has to be done.  I made a committment to Mike when we got married.  I am only 44 and I am scared for what is to come or not come in the future.
  • renato
    Dear friend, i appreciate a lot when you say- i made a committment when we got married- i want to add ,in the good and bad fate. Be strong and go ahead,here in Italy my small community and i will pray for you; the LORD will be always with you. Ciao Renato.
  • ginny50
    Hang in there my husband took care of me after I had a stroke I had Therapy in the hospital and when I went home out he drove me everywhere and still does. I still have a wehave to work on my left arm and ther are times I stumble when I walk, but it is getting better. I am older then your husband, he just need to keep up with the Therapy. Good Luck and God Bless
  • lslagley
    My now 30 year old daughter with Down syndrome had a major stroke at 28 years of age. This was due to the stopping of plavix and the starting of naproxen sodium. She lost the use of her left side. She was hospitalized in an ICU for 10 days then onto a rehab hospital for 31 days. We had to modify our home and she has had some set backs and therapy was a nightmare at first. She is now walking with a walker and her speech isn't what it used to be. We struggle to find out what her needs are at times, but we do manage. When she was discharged from the rehab hospital, it took over 2 months to find a therapy center that would take her medicaid. Once we were established with therapists, some decided to move to different jobs or locations. So we had to start all over again; one physical therapist quit seeing her and then discharged her without explanation or notice! I am my daughter's mother and caregiver. I have to bathe her and toilet her and dress her most of the time as she cannot do what she once did for herself. I instituted some therapies at home based on what I observed and learned while my daughter was at the rehab hospital. I stayed with her during her hospitalizations. I try to get her to do some therapy daily, especially on the days when she doesn't have therapy. One thing that we did do was to get an evaluation of her vestibular processes, she tells me that she always feels like she is falling even though she isn't. What is important for stroke recovery that I have found is the need to do therapy daily even when I don't feel good or she doesn't either. It doesn't have to be long workout sessions either. Picking up plastic cups has helped her rebuild the strength in her left side, especially when I put them on the floor and have her use the dining room table for balance. When we first started the home program, she had no strength in her left hand, arm, and shoulder. We did stretching as warm ups and then onto the movement even though I had to guide her. She has regained some use of the left side and has some neglect but I do constantly "coach" her by telling her that she can, she has, and she will get better. My mantra throughout this entire struggle has been "I can, I have, and I will". Sometimes it's the only thing that allows me to see the light of day. Saying prayers aloud and with her has helped her speech a little. Everything is a process and I may say that "I quit" periodically but I find time to regroup a bit and then go back to the activities of daily living for her. It is my hope to see that someday in the future you write a follow up saying that your husband has recovered.
  • Annflenner
    Please don't lose hope. I am Bob's caregiver and companion. He had his stroke at 79, a little over a year ago. I am in my late 70's so this has not been an easy task for me but I try to never give up on a dream of his getting back close to normal. He was in critical condition for weeks, the stroke killed part of his colon requiring an emergency illeostomy, and was in a critical care hospital for seven weeks. We then transferred to another hospital with superb therapy, for four weeks, then to a lower lever rehab for two months. After three weeks home it was back to the hospital for surgery to reverse the illeostomy plus another unexpected surgery so we were there for four weeks. I slept in a medical facility with him during all the time he was in one, a total of six months and all but four weeks in a city 150 miles from home, where he was airlifted. The good news....He went from near death three times, total loss of use of right side, on a feeding tube, unable to swallow, could not talk or comprehend, colostomy bag, and now he is walking with a walker, still some difficulty talking but doing really well, eating, trying to learn to write and the use of his right side is about 80% back. I still assist with showers, etc. as I definitely don't want a fall, but otherwise things are coming along. An awful lot of hard work and tons of nutritional supplements but he is doing great. The doctors gave me almost no hope and my friends tried to prepare me for the worst but I just kept praying and working with him. I had to let everything else go, my work, the house, but when he is able to take care of himself again that can be taken care of. He is my focus. My prayers are with you as it is a very hard road to travel. May God be with you both and again, keep the faith and take one day at the time. All things are possible. Ann
  • Ssumner211
    Hi, I had three strokes in 4/2016 anh then in 11/2016 I had surgery to remove a 9 and 1/2 tumor and they did a complete hysterectomy. My left side was affected by the strokes. At first I was unable to move my hand or arm and there was major instability in my left leg. Things have improved. Although everyone's journey is different. There are some things that will help to improve things. First if all there is no cure. You can work to control the risk factors so it doesn't happen again, that doesn't change the fact that you had a stroke. Your brain needs time to rewire itself. That cannot be rushed. I try to keep my brain sharp, one of the things I do everyday is I make it a point to do the puzzles in the newspaper. I even downloaded some apps. To help me with my speech, I recite kids' young twisters and nursery rhymes. I too still go to pt. I go once a week. Even so, I exercise everyday for about 6 hours. I realized there is no miracle cure, I have to help myself. As discouraging as it may be I can honestly say things have gotten better. I can move my fingers and arm, not to mention leg. I can hold my husband, pet my puppy. It has taken a lot of work and effort, it will still take more time. That is the big thing I have learned from this, that some things take time. I have learned patience . Although it isn't happening fast enough for me sometimes. My fiancé is quick to remind me how far I have come. I then stop and think, he is right. It is one thing surviving the stroke, it is another thing surviving the recovery. The major thing is to stay positive. We have learned to celebrate the little victories. Like when I first showered by myself or tied my own shoes. Or being able to squeeze the toothpaste tube or cut my own meat. We also laugh. Learn to find humor in the situation. If not it is easy to become depressed. Let him do for himself. If he can't he will let you know and he will learn to ask for help when needed. It takes a while, you can do it. It isn't easy, but then sometimes the thing we want the most in life is never easy. Don't give up on him, in return don't let him give up on himself. I learned through all this that we can get through anything as long as we have each other!! If I can be of any help let me know. He is lucky to have you!!!!
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