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please help (again) - Removed from life support, still alive?
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please help (again) - Removed from life support, still alive?

Hi,

This is a follow-up to my previous post about my uncle who had a massive stroke/doctors claim him to have no brain activity.

They removed him from life support at 10:30 this morning. Well, here it is 6:00, and he's still alive. They expected him to die within an hour.

But that's not it. He is opening his eyes, and blinking them for "yes" and "no" questions. (They asked him if his wife's name is Connie, and he blinked them. They asked him if his wife's name is Susan, and he didn't blink. As well as a few other questions.) Now remember, they JUST told us on Monday that he had absoultely no brain activity.


Tomorrow the neurologist is coming into speak with him. They're going to let him know that he's paralyzed from the neck down, and ask him if he wants his feeding tube put back in (they took that out and his breathing tube out - due to the full body paralyzation that resulted from the stroke, his muscles won't be able to hold his air passage open, so they basically expected him to suffocate upon the breathing tube's removal.)

Now, our question is, how is this possible that, after being removed from life support, he is able to function more that he has since he's had the stroke? We are all very very cautious because we realize this may be a fluke. We'd just like to have some support so we can have an idea of what may be coming.


Thank you
Tags: Life, Stroke, brain
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Avatar_n_tn
tsix - As I had said in my reply to your first post, stranger things have happened. The human body/brain is amazing. I can't imagine what you must be going through at this point. caregiver said it best in another post, in the end, it's what the life force decides. In my opinion, there should be no rush to make any life or death decissions. Perhaps, let the life force make it's way and, see what your uncle has to say/blink. I would however, use care in what and how you ask him questions. Try to remember, his answer today may change tomorrow.
I wish you all well.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your support. I just have one more question for the moment, then I'll try not to be so pesky around here anymore.

The doctors are saying now that if he decides he wants the feeding tube put back in, he will be a vegetable, and the ONLY thing he'll be able to do is move his left eye (the one he's blinking for yes/no questions). Now, to me, this seems rather strange that something so isolated would be the ONLY physical movement he could do. Am I wrong in thinking so? Would there be the possibility to regain SOME strength in other areas of his body (speech, limbs - even though he's still paralyzed from the neck down?)

I guess I'm finding it hard to believe that he would never be able to speak again, and that his only physical ability would be to move his left eye. Couldn't he just learn to speak all over again? You think of a child who has to continuelly build billions and billions of synapses every moment that creates their brain functions - is this the same for stroke victims? I've heard of people who have had severe strokes and they recover - is this how? If so, why are they telling us that there is no chance my uncle could ever speak again?


Sorry if these are stupid questions, but I have to ask. Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry, forgot to add: I know that with the human body anything is possible, but you see, I'd like some concrete medical support as to if any of my inquiries are even POSSIBLE. We don't, literally, have the time to sit around and wait for his body to do something amazing (if he wants the feeding tube kept out, because of his amazingly great health, they say he could live for a week or more.) I'd just like to know whether there is hope....and fast.
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Avatar_n_tn
My opinion is there should be no rush to judgment. Remember, dead is dead.
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Avatar_n_tn
Don't forget that speech isn't the only form of communication.  If he can respond yes or no via blinking, well, that's communicating!   Plus there isn't exactly a specific textbook in regard to strokes.  Every person is a magnificent wonderful unique being.  

It seems like everyone just wants this snap decision.  But there are so many emotions going on.  Plus there are so many things to consider.  Is it true paralysis? Is there a chance he can move again?  With therapy, can he rebuild strength enough to breathe on his own?  Most of these issues aren't black or white.  They are varying shades of gray.  I know it's hard.  And sometimes Drs don't make it better or easier.

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Avatar_n_tn
Just to put things into a clear perspective:

Like people have said, the human body and the person, who is spiritual, have amazing abilities to heal! There is always a reason for things like this to happen, and obviously God had His say in this uncle surviving the discontinuation of life support.

Now that Uncle is living on his own, maintaining his own breathing and heartbeat...the question looms-should Uncle be starved to death? If it was my choice, I would have to say, "Umm, no thanks, I'll pass." My religion doesn't allow death to be brought about in this purposeful way. If Uncle blinks YES, he will likely live longer than a week and it is an unpleasant way to go since he isn't anorexic due to a terminal condition like cancer, for example. He may get quite uncomfortable from dehydration.

Why take this gift of his survival and throw it back in the Creator's face? Maybe there is a greater healing for Uncle? It just doesn't make sense to me for someone who survived such a thing to then be dehydrated &/or starved, like some kind of statement:"Wow, we can't believe you survived this, Uncle! You are actually communicating! Cool. Oh, but Uncle, your body is shot...don't be disappointed though, they can still cause you to die, if you want...if not, should they continue to feed you?"

If he was meant to die, he would do it on his own without being denied and/or refusing food/hydration.
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125112_tn?1217277462
No brain activity?! It certainly sound like he does if he is responding!

An interesting read:
'Vegetative' Woman's Brain Shows Surprising Activity:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/07/AR2006090700978.html

There is much we don't know (always learning), that is for sure. Anyway...

What you are going through, sounds like a nightmare. Ultimately, if your uncle can communicate, it is up to him regarding the matter.
If I was conscience, it certainly isn't a way I'd want to die but that's me.

Best,
~Kate
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Avatar_f_tn
im so sad wen reading this i lost my 48yr old brother 10 wks ago after i made the call to turn off the life support  but thats after having many strokes and the last one left him the same use of only one eye no movement and no speach ,what life he had before was not realy a life but without speach and no movement it wasnt right to keep him with us just to look at him im hurting like no body knows but i know my brother and if he could have talked he would have said please let him go at peace xx  
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