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Mom's Stroke Recovery (5/4/09)

Everyone's grandma, Phylis, suffered a mild stroke on Nov 12th and is now learning what it's like to recover from a serious medical setback.

rain 47 °F

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Update - Mom has moved to Long Beach, CA
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I just realized what a terrible job I've been doing keeping up on the blog since finishing the RV Trip! So sorry. Anyway, Mom was feeling so down after her stroke there just didn't seem to be any way to cheer her up. It was cold and rainy one day and she refused to get out of bed, so I asked her if she'd rather move to LA where my brother Charlie had recently moved (Long beach actually). She was practically up and packing befoe we had a chance to discuss it! So a few days later I drove her down in the RV. She seems to be quite settled in, when I called her today she had just gotten out of the pool! So hope the sunshine helps cheer her up some, the beach probably doesn't hurt much either...

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As strokes go, this one wasn't too bad. She has some blurred vision, speach, and is weak, but none of the serious difficulties one often hears about with strokes. Still, it's a blow to one's confidence and independence (can't drive with the vision thing).

She had an occupational therapy and physical therapy assessement last Tuesday and did rather well overall. The occupational therapist says only one or two more appointments, mostly working on her vision and sense of touch. The physical therapist suggests 5 to 8 weeks, mostly to improve her leg strength and balance, after which she should be better off then before the stroke.

Art, Melody, Que, Vivian, Nick and Amenda, Michael Brown and Tiara all came by last weekend and helped build a walkway to the neighbors driveway and remodel her bathroom, making it easier to get in and out of the tub. She wanted very much to stay in her own apartment downstairs, but some of the doctors and nurses were concerned about the stairs. Since the neighbors garage is on the lower level, their driveway goes right down about level with her apartment, so there was only about 9 feet of lawn to traverse for her to be able to walk to the car (neighbor gave us permission to use the driveway), now replaced with a nice walkway. Since then, the physical therapist has OK'd her use of the stairs (even suggested it might help with her leg strength), but it will be nice to have the walkway for when she doesn't feel like using the stairs.

I suspect it's going to be very hard for her to not be able to drive. We'll just take it one day at a time and see where it takes us. Life takes it's turns and bumps and we just have to adjust.

You might find the following web booklet of interest. I have printed it out and will be using it as a resource here at home, along with some other research.

http://www.stroke.org/site/DocServer/hope_full.pdf?docID=921

One of the symptoms Mom complains about is that she occasionally has difficulty saying what she wants. This turns out to be a very common side affect of strokes and is a condition called "Aphasia", although her case is relatively mild. This also turns out to be one area where treatment can be quite successful! Mom's occupational therapist (OT) is considering recommending a speach therapist, but in the meantime the MayoClinic web site has information specifically to help family assist with Aphasia recovery.

When you are with Mom or communicating with her, please consider the following suggestions from Mayo Clinic:

- Simplify your sentences and slow down your pace.
- Allow the person time to talk.
- Don't finish sentences or correct errors.
- Keep conversations focused on one topic at a time.
- Reduce distracting noise in the environment.
- Keep paper and pencils or pens readily available.
- Write a key word or short sentence to help explain something.
- Help the person with aphasia create a book of words, pictures or photos to assist with conversation.
- Use drawings or gestures when you aren't understood.
- Involve the person with aphasia in conversations as much as possible.
- Check for comprehension or summarize what you've discussed

Mom may not need the paper, pencils and booklets as much as her case is so mild, but most of these suggestions wouldn't hurt us whether or not one's communications skills are impaired!

Posted by jl98584 10:44 Tagged events

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