Jill offers her insight for another stroke family…

This is response to a daughter and her family learning how to care for her father.  So much struggle with a father early on in his recovery and a family struggling to hold together and deal with all the challenges.

I am sorry you and your family are experiencing such difficult times .I am guessing many caregivers who read your post will nod their heads in understanding .I can respond from my own experience:

– Life, as I and my family knew it, ended when my 51year old husband suffered a massive stroke. It took awhile to come to that realization, and it was a terrible realization.  However, over time it helped me to accept that fact.  I always say my husband’s is a story of recovery, mine is a story of surrender.  I am a Christian, and once I put my faith into practice, gave my fears and struggles to God, everything was better.  I learned to live one day at a time with the knowledge that I am not in control.  My job was to do my best.  That’s it.

– We learned to not listen to the naysayers. There is ALWAYS hope for recovery. We worked relentlessly on recovery and my husband has far surpassed all predictions. The key was the relentless persistence. He had lost his right side, his ability to speak, his memory, and his cognition was severely damaged. We are now 10 years post-stroke. He walks 5 miles a day, he mostly talks, his memory is much better, and though his cognition is still messed up, it is better than it was.  I count that as a huge win.

– My husband’s behavior was wildly out of control for about a year. He was mildly out of control for another year. He still has moments when he behaves erratically but nothing like it used to be.  Here is one tip I eventually figured out: with the stroke, he lost his sense of thirst. He would get severely dehydrated which impacted his behavior and ability. Watch his fluid intake.

– I cried for about 2 years. I just couldn’t let my kids see me cry so I cried in my closet.  It is normal.

– Sounds like your family needs some help dealing with the stress of it all. Turning on each other helps no one. Do you have access to counseling? A mediator? Even a life coach? You may not want to hear this but you are very early in the recovery process. Having a family plan that can grow and adjust with your dad’s improvement will help you all.

– I want to assure you that, although our life changed dramatically, it is good.  Different, but good. Your family’s life can be good too. It takes time and determination, but it is possible. Good luck!

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