First of all, I want to thank you all for the kind posts in my thread here, and the warm emails everyone has sent. UrbanChic, I might just take you up on your offer.
As for my dad, the good news is that the color has returned to his face and his visible cuts and bruises are healing nicely. He stays awake more now than he did, and he completely understands everything you say to him (even when I told him that the [temporary] paralysis of his left side was caused by the stroke occuring over his right basal ganglia; he wanted to know why it wasn’t bilateral). The bleeding has not gotten worse and his blood pressure has stabilized to the point that he no longer needs to be in the ICU. He asked for some chocolate ice cream, and the nurse said it was okay. The hospital cafeteria was closed (I was six minutes late), so I jumped in my car and sped around town until I found some Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie. He ate it so fast he almost choked, but man, did he love it. He tries to keep a good sense of humor, but there are times when it’s tough.
It’s still extremely difficult to understand him when he speaks. Half if his face droops and is immovable, so his speech is slurred. He has a feeding tube going through his throat, so to add to this, he has to speak softly. I got him a marker and some paper so he could write, but… well, this man has never had the best handwriting to begin with (most brilliant people don’t). He was so excited to write that his BP shot from 125/70 to 135/105. He wrote fast and furious, but it looked like Greek. I don’t know if this was because of the contusion on his left temporal lobe, or because he was at a bad angle, or because he was writing for speed, not neatness. I told him to slow down and write bigger, but it didn’t work. We could barely make out anything he wrote. I looked at him and said, “Dad, are you frustrated?” He just nodded at me and I wanted to cry.
I take away the pen and paper and he tries to read a National Geographic and some books his wife brought him. He can only use one hand, though, so he couldn’t keep them open, increasing his frustration even more. We tried holding them for him, but it just wasn’t working. He couldn’t look at stuff at the right angle.
Poor guy. In his entire life, he’s never been in a position of helplessness. I’m going down to see him again today. I’ll let you all know how it goes.
Glad he’s doing better, Adam and glad you are able to be there for him. I’m sure it means the world to him, even if he can’t tell you right now. Put your collective minds to work and fix things up so that he can be as independent as possible. There are lots of ways to adapt things. Problem-solving is a good mental exercise and stress reliever. There may be things you (and he)can’t change, but there are things you can. If you both can focus on productive tasks, it may help. I remember, when my dad was in the hospital and was having trouble getting up off the toilet cause the grab bar was too slippery, we searched around his room for something to help. I ended up taking some of the rubber exam gloves and wrapping them around the bar to give him more “traction”. Worked like a charm and he didn’t have to call the nurse as often for help, which made him feel a lot better. Best of luck and good wishes to you and your dad.
I’m so glad to hear your Dad’s doing better! He’s so lucky to have such a caring son. I can only imagine the stress you’re going through right now. I’d be more than happy to stop by with a few dishes (and Noah!).
Adam That’s wonderful! Here are a couple hints to make life a little easier.
First, ask his nurse (during the day) for a visit from Occupational Therapy. They are part of the re-hab team, but more importantly, for now, they will have “aids to daily living” things, like an alphabet board (It has the alphabet in big letters so he can point and spell.) They also (usually) have book holders so he can turn the pages himself.
Is he getting up to a chair yet? If so, that’s a good time for O.T. to see him.
If the nurse tells you the doctor has to order O.T, ask to talk with him or her.
The sooner he starts, the sooner he will have some control back. More control, equals less frustration.
You, or some family member should be there when O.T. visits so they know what he needs and wants.
Oh good. I went searching for an update about him. I agree with the poster who said he is lucky to have such a loving and caring son. I am sure he knows that.
I remember when my dad was released from the hospital our family was overwhelmed. We thought, NO WAY could we take care of him at home yet…he wasn’t better! Everything was chaotic and clumsy. Nobody knew what they were doing. I had to lift my dad from a w/c to his lazy boy and he didn’t even realize that he wasn’t helping at all so we were working against each other. Anyway, I wish before he came home that someone would have told me what to expect. Soon people will begin talking to you about discharge plans and it may shock you like it did me. Have the rehab people teach you how to do transfers from chairs to toilet, etc.
Also these are some things that we needed fairly quickly (that weekend) after he got home. Maybe you can keep an eye out for them or just have a heads up about possible future needs.
toilet riser to make the toilet taller
grab bars everywhere…near the bed, near the toilet
a wooden ramp to get the w/c in the house with him in it
hand held shower attachment
one handed can opener
velcro tennis shoes
The first time he came home for a day visit was totally unexpected. He called us and said, “come and get me”. His stroke was on Dec. 17th and he came home for a day visit on New Years Day. Anyway, we felt totally unprepared for him to come home.
I’m glad that he is doing better. The very best thing you can do is help him to be as independant as possible. Keep us posted.