Saturday, August 27, 2016

How to help a stroke victim during recovery

On August 21 I suffered a mild stroke.  I had had TIA (trans ischemic attacks) back in March, but this time it didn't resolve and 911 was called.

Having now gone through and continuing recovery, here are some tips to help a stroke victim during recovery (this took me 8 hours to type):

Things to know from stroke recovery on the inside

  1. We understand you, but our left and right brain aren’t in sync.  We haven’t become stupid, but please speak more slowly.
  2. Our eyes see you, but although both are looking at you, they are sending information at different times.  We may only actually be looking at you with­­ one eye.
  3. The affected arm has drift. I can only describe drift as the unnatural sway away from the body.  It is wobbly, unstable and uncoordinated even when nearly recovered.  We will have to sign our name and it will be total scrawl to chicken scratch, especially if the affected side was the dominant side, 
  4. Reading is difficult.  It is hard to focus when the right and left sides of the brain are trying to get in sync.
  5. Visually following the cursor may be difficult or impossible on the computer.
  6. Typing is very frustrating.  Don’t expect text responses.  It is better to call.  In fact it is somewhat inconsiderate to attempt a text conversation. 
  7. Our energy is very low.  Being in the hospital has taken a lot out of us, but we want to be back to normal as soon as possible.
  8. Depending on the severity of the stroke, support may be required.  Mine was mild but some support was required including meal preparation, errands, shopping, doctor appointments, and prescription pickups. Prepared meals are appreciated (but not too complicated).  Finger food is lovely.
  9. If we think we can do something without help, let us.
  10. Open containers for us.  We are often too uncoordinated resulting in lots of spills, breakage and swearing.
  11. Medicines are hard to swallow when they have no coating because half of the mouth is numb and not swallowing well.  Give us plenty of liquid to get it down, and preferably not water but something slicker (juice).
  12. Bathing:  a soft soap is easier to control than a bar soap.

I hope this helps

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