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Avatar universal

Dad's just had a massive stroke


I'm terribly upset. My dad has just had a stroke. He's 72 and is currently in hospital virtually asleep full time. We know that it is caused by a blood clot stemming from Atrial Fibrillation and it has affected his left side (No vision, left arm and leg)

The doctor has painted a very bleak picture which was very devastating and right now at this moment it just seems that there is no hope.

Can anyone re-assure me that if he survives there is some hope for quality of life. It's all a bit much at the moment and the future is too much to contemplate.

120 Responses
Avatar universal
My dad had  a stroke 14 months ago and the first few days they painted the same picture for him.  Although he has not gotten back to where he was prior to the stroke, he is at home with my mom and doing OK.  He still cannot walk, but he continues to improve.  It is a long road through recovery We had to have alot of fights with therapists/insurance company's/etc to get continued therapy, but is was well worth the fight.  Good luck.  If you have any question along the way, this forum is a great source for answers...
Avatar universal
I doubt anyone will tell you how much he will recover. How was his general health before his stroke? Being asleep most of the time may be a good thing. It allows the brain to recover better. It may be that his doctor is keeping him asleep. It may be weeks before you really know how much damage was done.
Typically, the first 90 days after a stroke will show the best rate of recovery. The next 90 days will be a bit slower and so on until one year out. Typically after one year, the rate of recovery slows to a crawl. I'm told that the brain recovers at a 20 to 1 ratio. That is to say as an example, if you bruised your arm and it took 1 month to heal, the same insult to the brain may take 20 months. The problem is, no one can really "see" the extent of the damage from a brain stroke.
It sounds like this will be a long road for him as well as his family. Is there some hope for a quality of life if he survives? YES, there is always HOPE. His best chance for some level of recovery is with you and the rest of the family. He may need lots of rehab. Insurance will only cover so much. The majority of his rehab will be left to his family. It's usually a long road.
Please check back in often and let us know how he's doing. Ask lots of questions. Be patient, and NEVER GIVE UP!
Avatar universal
Thanks for your kind words - they really help.

Dad is still sleeping mostly. I asked him a few questions today and he answered them slowly, but cohesively. He is aware of what has happened, but can hardly be bothered to speak, his eyes look empty, and seeing him a shadow of his former self is what hurts.

He was not in particularly good health prior to the stroke, but that said, he is a strong man both in mind and body. I'm hoping that he has the will to pull through. I asked him whether or not he will fight this illness and he replied 'yes'

It's a turning point in my own life. I'm seeing the world with fresh eyes after this.

Thanks again for your words
Avatar universal
You got your answer from him. He wants to fight and that's a big deal but keep in mind, he will not be able to do this alone. He WILL need you... a lot. This will be a long road for him AND the family. Stay strong and when he is able, keep after him to do his rehap everyday. He wont want to but you'll need to push him, within limits.
Best of luck. Check back often and let us know how he's doing and remember, NEVER GIVE UP!
Avatar universal
Hi, my 82 year old mother had a massive stroke 3/07, she was in a coma for 6 weeks, had many complications in the hospital, but is slowly progressing.  She has moved every inch of her body at one time or another, which gives us hope that she will not be completely paralyzed.  She is awake and looks at us, but still sleeps a lot, which we think is because her brain is still recoverying.  We spend hours with her every day, talking to her, touching and massaging her, combing her hair, playing soft music, and self-healing cd's.  My family is very holistic, so the doctors allowed us to give her, l-carnitine, GPC choline & PhosphatidylSerine (all three help the brain cells to recover from stroke). I believe with all my heart, that my mother will make a miraculous recovery.  She could have left us several times, but chose to fight.  Try not to listen to anyone giving you a time frame for recovery of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, etc.  It is their body that decides how long it will take to recover, just be there, love him, educate yourself on stroke recovery, and be the son your father knows you are.
Avatar universal

My Dad was so poorly that the doctors gave him hours to live. On their advice we agreed to stop all traetment, including food and water. I've been at his bedside for 2 days.

This morning (Wed) I arrived to see him open both his eyes and respond clearly to questions. His long and short term memory seem intact and we even had a little arm wrestle (gently) for fun. As the morning unfolded it was clear that my dad was not ready to die.

The doctor rushed in to see him and something of a 'U' turn has been instigated. He is now back on water and food will be introduced. This evening my dad was showing further signs of improvement. He now opens both eyes and blinks, plus he is alert for much much longer.

In my my mind he is still going to pass away, but there is a glimmer of hope. The doctors have still told us that he is in a serious condition and that his apparent recovery do not match the scans.
Avatar universal
My dad had a stroke 4yrs. ago when he was 80. They gave us little hope for him and if did survive would be paralyzed completely on right side. When he woke up, he didn't know anything. Had a fight to get him rehab. Finally they gave it to him in hospital for 1 month. We stayed with him in hospital and learned how to try to walk him. We used a squeeze ball to strength hand, bought flash cards for alphabet, numbers and words. Worked with him full time for 15 months. He is soon to be 85 yrs. old.
He now lives alone, drives short distances, walks the mall everyday, buys his own groceries, does his own laundry and minor house keeping. He does not talk real well and has some trouble thinking what he wants to say. He cannot write or cannot read much or remember it. Everyone who knows his previous condition says he is a miracle. Don't give up hope. We have a great God.
Avatar universal
I´m writing from Argentina and your post gave me hope.  I would like to ask you if when you say that your dad "didn´t know anything" you meant for exemple to watch but not recognizing or understanding orders.
I´m terribly sad because my dad had two month ago a severe stroke on the left side of the brain. Now he is paralized on the right side and although he watch us and follow us with his eyes, he seems to be in another dimension.  He can´t understand orders and can´t smile or to show sadnnes either.  

Thank you,
144586 tn?1284669764
Never give up hope. The life-force is a magical entity. Nor should one be overly concerned if the stroke patient seems to stare into empty space and not notice you. My sweety is nearing 103 and for almost a year after age 100 could not smile nor show facial expression for a long, long time. Her nurse said "she seems to be in another dimension", just as you said. This morning she smiled, opened her arms and gave me an ear-to-ear grin and said "I love you!|. Her physicians and her nurses all gave up completely on her at age 100 and were counting down the days until death. Tonday (knock on wood) her days are filled with laughter and smiles and she enjoys watching television untilo midnight and munching away on bananas. I communicate with her with a dry-erase board, in large block letters. She cannot respond well to verbal communications, but can read the dry-erase board, which she hold in both tiny hands and reads aloud. A lot of touching and hugging is definitely in order. If you are visiting the room you should have your hand on his wrist or shoulder. If someone visits tell them this (outside the room). Lots and lots of television. Feeding requires lots of time and energy. Instead of chemical "thickeners|, if there is a problem in swallowing, I recommend adding organic mashed potato mix to the liquid. If you want to communicate something, try to '"mime" what you want, directly in view. Do this EVERY time. If you want them to walk to the wheelchair, tap them, and let them watch you walk to the wheelchair and sit down. Don't give up! Straightening out the day-night cycle is a problem. During the day have all the lights on in the room and the shades up. If you can, taking the patient out in the sunlight every day is extremely beneficial. The day-night circadian cycle is determined by a light sensor in the back of the eye. Sometimes it can be re-set by exposure to 45 minutes of sunlight or sunlight stimulation between 6 A.M. and 9 A.M.
Avatar universal
My dad also had a massive stroke, this past Tuesday October 30th. His is 53 years old. He had another one today on the right side but a different type. It is hard to be hopeful when the doctors don't seem to offer any hope. He has not been responding correctly to pain stimulus but today there was more movement in his toes and his eyes are moving back and forth while closed. It is so hard to see him this way. We were not very close growing up and it has only been in the last two years that I have come back to visit more often. I am left to make the decisions for him even though he has had a girlfriend for the past 25 years. I am hoping he will regain some type of consciousness. Right now he is on a respirator and is breathing very little on his own. I flew over early Wednesday morning and am staying in a hotel near the hospital. I do not know what to do. I feel his girlfriend is going to pressure me to take him off of life support and I don't know who will take care of him if he does show signs of improvement if she is unwilling to help him with rehab. They have no insurance and limited means. Where can I go for help?
144586 tn?1284669764
He has had two strokes within a short period of time. This suggests to me his condition was not stabilized. As for his girlfriend pressuring to take him off life support, it is far too early to even consider such a decision. If he is on a respirator make sure that the "bubbler" is not filling his lungs with water. Many RT's have no concept of how to handle a stroke patient. At this point be hopeful. Later on down the line you can re-evaluate the situation.
Avatar universal
Thank you for responding. The first stroke they think was caused by high blood pressure it was a hemorrhagic stroke. The second they think was caused when they lowered his blood pressure it was a Ischemic stroke. The first stroke is the most severe and originated in the Putamen ( a part of the basal ganglia). The second is on the right side and I've been told it controls spatial concepts. He has started to move more today and instead of only having posturing movements he has started to bring his arms up in a more normal response. He has tried to cough a couple of times and I have noticed some water which looks like condensation in the breathing tube. I will ask about the "bubbler".
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