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Please read...any advice on post stroke depression?


saraandjack

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I really would like to be posting about all the progress that my Dad is making since he has come home (Dad had stroke at 61 yrs old in April 2010). It is a horrible thing to watch. I come home for the weekend to help my Dad and take some burden off of my brother and my step-mom so they can get some much needed "time off". My Dad is severely depressed, almost non-verbal. My brother and I (brother is 27 and I am 32) muscled him into the car for the first time and took him to Best Buy (his request) and bought him a yamaha keyboard to play. He was an expert guitarist before the stroke and hasnt held a guitar since. He seemed happy about the keyboard purchase and played a bit when he got home, but was frustrated that he could only play with one hand. Then he asked for his guitar...a moment we have all been waiting for. I had tears in my eyes to watch him try to hold the guitar with his right (good)hand and pluck the strings without being able to make the beautiful blues music he has made all his life. He sat slouched over to the left for 20 minutes just strumming the strings and thinking of all that he has lost. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen. He seems to want to sleep all the time, and rarely participates in conversation or his therapy sessions. I am a physical therapist and we were doing some walking training in the garage where my brother built a wheelchair ramp and I was giving him an instruction to move his left (affected) leg forward and he wasnt responding, and I looked up and his eyes were closed, like he just wanted to shut out the world. If this keeps up he will never recover to his full potential, and the whole family is just devastated and we dont know how to help him. Any advice?? We love him so much and it is tearing us apart to see him give up like this.

Fondly,

Sara

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Sara,

Is you dad on an anti-depressant? It does seem to help.

It is sad. But,with time he will make progress. Patients are just extremely tired for the 1st months of a stroke.

It is good that you take him out.

Keep working with him. Patience and persistence.

Ruth

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Thanks Ruth,

He is on an antidepressant, but he is going to see a psychopharmacologist this week to determine if a different or stronger antidepressant would be better. I had a long and upfront talk with him before I left yesterday about his depression getting in the way of the many goals he has. He slept well last night and worked really hard in therapy today, I am so happy! I am guessing there will be a lot of ups and downs, and we cant get too panicked if he has a few low days. Thanks for the support! I will remember your advice of "patience and persistence".

Sara

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Sara: I am sorry about your Dad, but you all must give this some time. I am sure Marie sent you the required reading, which contained the stages of grieving. All of you, including your Dad must go through these. As Ruth suggested, please consider calling Dad's Doctor and have an antidepressant ordered. Bruce refused one for almost a year post stroke, but finally agreed to take one. That was five weeks ago, the difference in him is remarkable. Please do not wait as long as I did. There are steps to recovery that must be taken and your Dad,as you found out with the walking, will not participate if he has no hope. He is finding out that he has a new normal and is trying to come to terms with that. Also, his brain is still healing. Let him rest and sleep but also encourage exercise and participation in daily life as it is going on around him. The first year is the hardest, for everyone involved. Hang in there, you are all doing great. Debbie

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Sara:

My dad just suffered a stroke 3 days ago. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am in similar situation as you. We have my step mom and three kids as support team. My dad is 80 years old and the step mom is 52 years old(I am not sure exact age but I think I am close). I am 43 years old. I learned a lot from your posting about post stroke depression. I will definitely keep an eye on the the symptom of depression. For the past three days, I did not have time to grief over the situation. My tears just won't stop while I read and type this message. I know we have a long way to go and I will be reading this forum to get as up to date as possible. Good luck and best wishes for your dad.

 

Peter

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as i read your blog about your fater it brigs a tear to my eye just reading anout the struggle that your father must go through every day to be anle to plat the guitar like he use to do, i know how he feels as i to use to play a guitar but since my left siode stroke i am not able to place my fingers on the fret board to play, i use to be a marathone runner and that was my love to do so now i am just learning how to walk now the reason i am telling you all this is to let you know that if you set a goal to do try to do something that you can do, try to get your father interested in a nre hobby that is attainable not to say that someday he will play again it just takes time to heal i know that i have had a stroke and i have been in recovery for 9 years and even though i am not running i am able to walk without the use of a cane , so that is a very good start it will take time and alot of patients but it can be done in the mean time if your father is started to get depressmaybe he could start taking an anti depress pills , all the best to your father

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Sara:

 

when I read your blog I remembered how hopeless & sad I felt just after my stroke. but tell your dad first year has big window of opportunity to gain back all he has lost. I stroked at age 34 which left me paralysed on my left side, my motivation to work hard in my therapy was my son.tell him life will be still good unless he works hard in his recovery, it will be just bit different though different does not mean bad. today after 6 years of my stroke I am actually having fun in my life as a stay at home mom & wife who still gets paid her disability benefit. I am greatful had great jobprestroke. I refuse to take antidepressant in the begining, but finally when I took it, it was so much better it allowed me to come out of my sadness and work on my now to make better ending of my story. though I have weaned myself off my antodepressant pills. encourage him to start blogging here its highly therupetic.

 

 

 

Asha

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I cant thank you enough! I have received more support from your messages than I can even write. Thank you for your advice and experience and empathy. So glad I joined this website.

Peter, I cant stop thinking about your entry, and thinking about how I was a few days after my Dad had a stroke. It is a terrible place to be watching your Dad suffer and have so many unaswered questions. You came to a great place to voice your worries and concerns. Just to give you my perspective, my dad was in almost a coma for 5 weeks (starting april 19th) and he is now home. It is a difficult time for him and us, but the difference a few weeks/months makes is huge. Just hang in there. The beginning is so hard, but it has gotten much better for us and my Dad, and I pray that it will get better for your Dad and you. Thinking of you...

Kind regards,

Sara

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Definitely be aggressive in treating his depression. Depression is so insidious that it affects EVERYTHING. I'm not kidding because I've had pre-existing severe and chronic depression for many years. I'm on treatment that is helping me to manage the disorder. I hope your dad gets the help that he needs because it's so obvious that it's affecting his recovery and therapy participation.

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