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def

Father had a stroke a few days ago

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First of all I would like to say hi to everyone here and I apologize in advance for any mispellings since I am not a native english speaker and I am under a bit of stress because of this.

 

On the 9th of January 2018 my father was rushed to the hospital after he said he started seeing double and couldn't read anymore and had a speech impairment where noone could really understand him. Doctors in the hospital did some tests (currently in another town so I sadly don't have any more exact details) and a CT scan which didn't show any sign of anything wrong. He is only scheduled to go on an MRI scan in 12 days sadly so they can figure out the details.

My father has heart issues besides the stroke (achycardia/arrhythmia, arterosclerosis, chrons disease, asthma,...), when he came home he was able to communicate very well but... he has issues finding the right words, can't read (only if he goes 1 letter at a time and even then he misses) and doesn't know what is going on when he tries to watch the TV, but he was able to type on the keyboard (correctly) but couldn't see what he wrote. I will most likely quit my job and move back home to help out.

I have a few questions:

  • Is there a chance that he might recover?
  • How can I help him so he doesn't fall into depression and with his recovery of course. Are there any teaching methods I can use to try to stimulate his brain and help his recovery?
  • What should I be prepared for?
  • Maybe how can I help myself a bit since I am pretty emotional when it comes to my relatives and when I saw him I almost couldn't keep it together. More in a way in what way should I think to stay a bit more positive (I know it wont help anyone but It might help me stay a bit more composed)
     

I hope I didn't break any posting rules here, I wasn't really sure where to post since the caregiver is my mother but I can't bear to let her go through this alone.

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def, First of all, calm down, you can't help him if you are in  a panic!

Yes, it is very likely he will recover.

Initially don't push him into recovery, if it was a stroke then he needs time to adjust to the situation. He will indicate when he wants to improve. In the meantime just go for comfort, make things as easy as possible for him just to live.

Deigh

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Hello and welcome.    You asked about how to keep your father from falling into depression.   We were very fortunate to have a doctor that immediately pointed out that stroke survivors really NEED to have a light anti-depressant.   I don't mean one that knocks them out or makes them in la-la land, but one that normalizes their mood, so they can be free to participate in their own recovery, without getting bogged down with all that's happened to them.   My hubby took 20mg of Citalopram once a day, and did not fall into despair.   After 2 years, he no longer needed it, as he was adjusted to his way of life now.  Once, early on, I tried to take him off of it to see if he needed it, and I couldn't believe the difference.   He was the living picture of despair and suffering.   Well, he went right back on them and had no trouble coming off after 2 years.    I have seen many stroke survivors who refused to take 'drugs' and the usual outcome was that in a few months they were actually suicidal.   Please ask the doctor in charge about something for him, if he is not already receiving it.

 

Another wonderful thing that happened with us, was when he was in rehab, the therapists would come in each day and greet him with a big smile and it made such a difference!    He would smile back and you could tell that made him feel happy and hopeful.    As I saw the transformation in him between some treating him sadly and others treating him with a happy countenance, I knew the secret.    I knew we could be happy too, but it was going to be a matter of looking for the good thing each day and choosing to be happy.    If you let yourself break down in front of him, he will see himself in your eyes, and feel like he is not going to make it.   People may say that it is a bad thing to be strong for each other, but it is the opposite.   Without courage and being strong for each other, we are all lost and crying in despair.   Our strengths put together are what make us succeed.

 

This is one of the programs that my husband practiced - he had no computer skills after his stroke and I did need to sit right with him.  Your father may be able to do this on his own - there are many categories, so someone needs to make sure he realizes that, as he might have visual cut and not see the whole page.    One thing, it is living with someone that you begin to realize what they are really missing.   So doing things with them, at least in the beginning, to see if they are perceiving how it is done correctlly, is how you find out what else they may be missing since their stroke.   

https://www.englishspeak.com/en/english-phrases 

 

You are a very good daughter to pitch in and help.   

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1 hour ago, Deigh said:

def, First of all, calm down, you can't help him if you are in  a panic!

Yes, it is very likely he will recover.

Initially don't push him into recovery, if it was a stroke then he needs time to adjust to the situation. He will indicate when he wants to improve. In the meantime just go for comfort, make things as easy as possible for him just to live.

Deigh

I am not panicking, I am holding myself together when I am near him.
The problem is that the doctors never concluded it was a stroke but are hinting at dementia, but mostly everyone never really heard of a stroke symptom that triggers dementia.
I will talk with my parents during the weekend to make plans, currently he is better he can watch TV but can't watch shows that have a complicated plot line and it has to be simple.
I find it weird that he is able to solve a word search puzzle faster than me but he has issues when a word in our language goes "štorklja" and if you don't use our letters and just write "storklja" he won't know what the word means.
He can still play the guitar but he has a really hard time doing simple calculations I asked him how much of a difference is there between 250$ and 2500$ and he said it wasn't alot.

 

I am just worried because he said that he falls into depression from time to time.

 

46 minutes ago, SandyCaregiver said:

Hello and welcome.    You asked about how to keep your father from falling into depression.   We were very fortunate to have a doctor that immediately pointed out that stroke survivors really NEED to have a light anti-depressant.   I don't mean one that knocks them out or makes them in la-la land, but one that normalizes their mood, so they can be free to participate in their own recovery, without getting bogged down with all that's happened to them.   My hubby took 20mg of Citalopram once a day, and did not fall into despair.   After 2 years, he no longer needed it, as he was adjusted to his way of life now.  Once, early on, I tried to take him off of it to see if he needed it, and I couldn't believe the difference.   He was the living picture of despair and suffering.   Well, he went right back on them and had no trouble coming off after 2 years.    I have seen many stroke survivors who refused to take 'drugs' and the usual outcome was that in a few months they were actually suicidal.   Please ask the doctor in charge about something for him, if he is not already receiving it.

 

Another wonderful thing that happened with us, was when he was in rehab, the therapists would come in each day and greet him with a big smile and it made such a difference!    He would smile back and you could tell that made him feel happy and hopeful.    As I saw the transformation in him between some treating him sadly and others treating him with a happy countenance, I knew the secret.    I knew we could be happy too, but it was going to be a matter of looking for the good thing each day and choosing to be happy.    If you let yourself break down in front of him, he will see himself in your eyes, and feel like he is not going to make it.   People may say that it is a bad thing to be strong for each other, but it is the opposite.   Without courage and being strong for each other, we are all lost and crying in despair.   Our strengths put together are what make us succeed.

 

This is one of the programs that my husband practiced - he had no computer skills after his stroke and I did need to sit right with him.  Your father may be able to do this on his own - there are many categories, so someone needs to make sure he realizes that, as he might have visual cut and not see the whole page.    One thing, it is living with someone that you begin to realize what they are really missing.   So doing things with them, at least in the beginning, to see if they are perceiving how it is done correctlly, is how you find out what else they may be missing since their stroke.   

https://www.englishspeak.com/en/english-phrases 

 

You are a very good daughter to pitch in and help.   

First of all

"You are a very good daughter to pitch in and help."

I am not a girl:big-grin:

 

If my father keeps getting depression daily I will urge him to take anti-depressives but they didn't seem to work on him in the past. I also had depression when I was in high school and prozac did absolutely nothing for me. Is it possible that you can be immune?

My father isn't on any rehabiliation yet since the cause is still unknown that is why we need to wait for 12 more days to get an MRI :/ I hope someone who has seen his symptoms that I also wrote above will be able to help him. I will try to force it tommorow if I should stay and help him in the beginning or ask at my job for vacation (I only started working there on the 3rd of January this year :/) or try asking for remote work since I am a developer.

The other problem is that we are still hiding this from the rest of the family, by his wishes, and we can't really ask others for help for now that is why I feel the need to help my parents.

 

Hmm will check this program. I am trying to test what my father has issues with right now. For now I only tried word search puzzles which he managed to complete faster than me.
I will try some math excercises, if you have any programs or web application for that I would be thankfull.

 

Thanks again both of you for your support. I am just feeling so useless at the moment.

 

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Yes! Your father can, and will, improve. But there are 2 things that you need to prepare yourself for: 1. He may not recover all that he has lost, but he will improve...eventually.  Which brings to 2. Stroke recovery is slow; very,very slow. He needs to keep on working at it, and not give up.

Is therapy planned for him? Ask his therapists how you can help him. Sounds like he may have aphasia, which is a speech disorder in which one cannot find the words to say what he wants to say. I understand from others on this board that there are computer programs online to help with this. Good Luck,and WELCOME!

Becky  

 

 

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10 hours ago, becky1 said:

Yes! Your father can, and will, improve. But there are 2 things that you need to prepare yourself for: 1. He may not recover all that he has lost, but he will improve...eventually.  Which brings to 2. Stroke recovery is slow; very,very slow. He needs to keep on working at it, and not give up.

Is therapy planned for him? Ask his therapists how you can help him. Sounds like he may have aphasia, which is a speech disorder in which one cannot find the words to say what he wants to say. I understand from others on this board that there are computer programs online to help with this. Good Luck,and WELCOME!

Becky  

 

 

There is no therapy scheduled because all symptoms point to a stroke but all tests (except the MRI) didn't show anything. So the doctors aren't giving him any therapy until they find out what is wrong. They said it could be dementia but.. dementia triggered by stroke symptoms?

I am just worried either way because I have to talk with my mother alone about my plans of quiting the job and helping him out for a while.
 

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I don't know what country you are living in, but it's worth mentioning that if it is in the USA, that many jobs have a medical leave you can take for caring for family members.   I can't think of the exact name of the leave... maybe someone else will think of it.    

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1 hour ago, SandyCaregiver said:

I don't know what country you are living in, but it's worth mentioning that if it is in the USA, that many jobs have a medical leave you can take for caring for family members.   I can't think of the exact name of the leave... maybe someone else will think of it.    

Checked, in my country at least you can take medical leave for only close family member which are classified as spouses or children, which doesn't include parents.

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According to the flag you live in Slovenia , I don't know what help you can get there but you can maybe live with your family and get your meals from them. I imagine it is a temporary measure but you devoting concentrated time to putting you father through exercises etc should really help with his recovery . Do you have someone who specializes in stroke recovery who can advise you? It is great you want  to do so. Good luck with your venture..

 

 

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def, It is really hard to help you with therapy suggestions without more info. My suggestion is to find out from his doctor what your father is having difficulties with, and look it up on the computer.  Most of my problems following my stroke were muscular, but your father's sound like they're more cognitive/memory. Good luck, Becky 

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Another option is to get a copy of the book "Stronger after Stroke" by Peter Levine. It's a great practical manual with lots of suggestions for do it yourself therapy.  Also one thing the research tells us is that the sooner you start therapy after a stroke the better, even though in the beginning the brain is inflamed and in some ways limited in what it can do to overcome the injury.  Even if he didn't have a stroke, he has stroke symptoms and stroke therapy is unlikely to make things worse so why not get on with it.  Of course you still do the investigation stuff and try to get a clear diagnosis, but why not do both at the same time?

 

I'd be treating it as a "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck" it's more likely to be a duck than a goose situation.

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14 hours ago, heathber said:

Another option is to get a copy of the book "Stronger after Stroke" by Peter Levine. It's a great practical manual with lots of suggestions for do it yourself therapy.  Also one thing the research tells us is that the sooner you start therapy after a stroke the better, even though in the beginning the brain is inflamed and in some ways limited in what it can do to overcome the injury.  Even if he didn't have a stroke, he has stroke symptoms and stroke therapy is unlikely to make things worse so why not get on with it.  Of course you still do the investigation stuff and try to get a clear diagnosis, but why not do both at the same time?

 

I'd be treating it as a "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck" it's more likely to be a duck than a goose situation.

Heather, you never cease to amaze me. .. Have you ever told you to write your nuggets in a book. you give good advise. instead of Confucius ... It'll be Heather.....:you-rock:

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On 15/01/2018 at 5:05 AM, HostSue said:

According to the flag you live in Slovenia , I don't know what help you can get there but you can maybe live with your family and get your meals from them. I imagine it is a temporary measure but you devoting concentrated time to putting you father through exercises etc should really help with his recovery . Do you have someone who specializes in stroke recovery who can advise you? It is great you want  to do so. Good luck with your venture..

 

 

At the moment I am helping my father from afar, helping him read via Teamviewer and spending the weekends with my parents to help them out. It seems he is recovering slowly, he is able to read but still extremly slow. Luckily most of the shows in my country are subtitles so he is helping himself with that.
Sadly don't know anyone who specializes in strokes since doctors dont want to give any rehabilitation until it is determined it was a stroke, the MRI is even delayed now till the end of the month :/

 

19 hours ago, becky1 said:

def, It is really hard to help you with therapy suggestions without more info. My suggestion is to find out from his doctor what your father is having difficulties with, and look it up on the computer.  Most of my problems following my stroke were muscular, but your father's sound like they're more cognitive/memory. Good luck, Becky 

I did that I am trying to pretend he has Aphasia / Alexia and searching for rehabilitation excercies. I also downloaded translation tools that are more or less text-to-speech from english to our language to help him out with long paragraphs.

15 hours ago, heathber said:

Another option is to get a copy of the book "Stronger after Stroke" by Peter Levine. It's a great practical manual with lots of suggestions for do it yourself therapy.  Also one thing the research tells us is that the sooner you start therapy after a stroke the better, even though in the beginning the brain is inflamed and in some ways limited in what it can do to overcome the injury.  Even if he didn't have a stroke, he has stroke symptoms and stroke therapy is unlikely to make things worse so why not get on with it.  Of course you still do the investigation stuff and try to get a clear diagnosis, but why not do both at the same time?

 

I'd be treating it as a "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck" it's more likely to be a duck than a goose situation.

Will try to find the book. I am treating it like a stroke but we are still worried that it might be dementia which was somehow triggered by stroke-like symptoms?
My father is pretty stubborn and luckily his depression waves aren't happening anymore, that is what worried me the most. Because he said that the sudden depression was worse than the times he almost died (around 4x).

 

 

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def, It may be wise  to still pursue getting an antidepressant for your father as he still runs the risk,a high risk,of becoming depressed. Here,when someone has a stroke, doctors immediately start them on an antidepressant before they even show symptoms of depression,because the risk is so high. The drugs used to treat depression generally work best after they have built up in your system, a process that can take 2 to 4 weeks. If you are depressed, 2 to 4 weeks can seem like a long time to wait for relief. 

If you do decide to work with your father on rehab, there are several things to keep mind that may help both of you:

 

1. As  stated earlier, stroke recovery is possible, but it is slow. So, don't expect things to move along any quicker. It takes as long as it takes.

2.  Do go over the same things over and over again, as the brain learns by repetition.

3. It's very likely that his stamina was affected, and that he will tire easily,maybe even need several naps throughout the day. This is normal.Let him rest as often as he needs to. He has no control over this. It will help him learn if you let him sleep.

4. Good luck, and, please, post us with his progress!   Becky

 

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