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Hemorrhagic Stroke Recovery

My 55 yr old mother had a "massive" hemorrhagic stroke Feb. 18/05. The neuro surgeon said it was a large deep bleed in the left side of her brain, apparently she is lucky to have survived it and without surgery. The latest CT scan 3.5 weeks after the stroke the blood has started to re-absorb and swelling is going down. She is currently in a rehab hospital (March 18) with paralysis on the right side (arm and leg) and has aphasyia - she understands us but has a hard time getting her words out (she does put small phases together at times).A speech therapist works with her and she can read, write some (copies words) and has progressed with food (a feeding tube to puree foods to soft - ground foods). The speech therapist has positive prognosis for speech improvements over the next year. I'm wondering how paralysis recovery works? She has physio and Occupational therapy working her muscles but do people with paralysis get some motor function back and if so what type of time frame (3,6,12, months?)Is there any recent research or therapy to aid in the motor recovery process such as magnetic stimulation or emg that we should be considering or inquiring about? Any questions I should be asking the rehab or dr.'s to find out about my mother's prognosis for it....or is it giving her brain time to heal and see if rehab can help?

Thank for your time and any comments/direction are appreciated.

213 Responses
Avatar universal
Hang in there!

My husband had a similar stroke 10-16-05 and is doing quite well. He is a 50 y/o and is recovering nicely.

He too experienced paralysis on the right side (arm/leg),loss of speech (aphasia/apraxia), had a feeding tube and picc line.

1.  Believe it or not...my husband is NOW ABLE TO WALK short distances WITHOUT a cane and walk long distances with a cane.

2.  His speech is coming back beautifully. He sometimes surprises himself with how he is able to hold conversations.
Every now and then when speaking the aphasia/apraxia will be noticable. Words may come out scrambled or gibberish.

3. Was on feeding tube for x12 days and graduated to a mechanical soft diet. Now he's on a regular diet and feeds himself at all meals.

4.  Unfortunately, his right arm is still very weak BUT he does have feeling in the arm and can move the shoulder/arm but can't move the fingers, wrist or lift the arm yet. We remain hopeful!

Avatar universal
Thank-you for sharing your story, it is very encouraging ... and all within the past 5 months of his stroke, that's wonderful. At times you feel like your the only one who is/has experienced it.
Did the motor function come back with therapy alone or was any special stimulation used? Just the other day my mother was able to lift her right (paralized)heel slightly off the bed during therapy, the first sign of movement and hope for re-gaining  motor function.

Thanks again, your story gives us more hope to know it
can/might happen for my mom as well.

Avatar universal
hi there
I have mother who 3 month ago suffered a second stroke. Yes, This one was really bad.
Nine years ago she had first and was paralized on her right side, lost her speach and spent 3 month in rehab. She came home with almost no ability to do anything by herself, could not use a commod( special toilet in the room),could use a  wheelchear  with my help only . Almost 6 month she was in this stage, and then started to recover little bit( at that time she was 65.
To mak long story short she recovered very well, was abale to walk with the cane,she was using her right arm  good engough to eat and to little things. Tell you more she was cooking dinner sometimes for me and was very independent( but inside the house only). For her go outside was a challenge.
Now after second stroke she is no well at all. She paralized on herother side, She has nuerogetic bladder, incontinent bowel,etc. She is bed bound with very bad bed sore from the hospital. Now I am not that confident she will recover to the point she was before.
So, your mother is very young and she will be fine, God bless her. First stroke is no the worst one just make sure you have her blood presure under control so she would not have another stroke. I know the statistics : it is very possible to have second stroke because her brain already weak and damaged.
Unfortunately docotrs and therapists do not know nothing they do not even have a progressive treatment for stroke in US hospitals. Just for curiosity go to www.lef.org and read about stroke treatment and you will understand what am I talking about. Sorry that I do not sound to positive but I went through too many stages of her strokes and spoke with too many doctors to ubderstand that I know more then some of them. Funny, ah?
Avatar universal
It's now been another month since my last comment on my husband's stroke recovery & progress.

My husband continues to do well with his walking. Do you recall that I had commented on his walking short distances w/out cane?
Well...he is now walking LONGER distances.

I believe that with him it was a "confidence thing" that impeded him from walking longer distances earlier on.

To answer your question in regards to his regaining of motor function is that yes, therapy (PT/OT)was a big help but as I've observed my husband during the course of his recovery, my family and I have found that STIMULATION and constant POSITIVE feedback MOTIVATED him to do more to recover.

Please encourage your mother to be as independent as possible.
This may sound horrible but believe it not she'll feel much better about herself.

I agree with the MD's comment in regards to allowing the brain time to heal and utilize the remaining functions.
CELEBRATE the advances she have already made!!

We currently are taking a break from therapy to allow more healing to occur with my husband.

Again, good luck and hang in there! IT DOES GET BETTER!!
Avatar universal
hi I'm an occupational therapist from Indiana.  I have been working with individuals who have survived strokes for years.  In regards to the statement about a progressive treatment process: It is very difficult to have a set protocol in helping people following a stroke.  Therapists are trained to observe dysfunction and to set goals and treatment stratagies according to the observed function.  It would not help a patient to use a cookie-cutter approach.  Every patient that I have worked with so far in my career has been different.  They improve in different ways and I have to use different strategies to facilitate these improvements.  I have learned to put the patient first in all treatment sessions.  I ask them what they want to work on, therefore they are engaged in the treatment process.  One of the biggest concerns is the paralized arm.  Sometimes this can be very difficult to treat.  What happens is the arm develops hypertone (tightness) and eventually contracture (can not move the joints).  After this happens it is very diffult to work on motor recovery.  That is why all of the OTs give you all of those exercises to do at home.  Unfortunately there are different therapists who are at different points in their career experience.  When searching for rehab setting I would encourage family to seek facilities who have therapists who have lots of experience.  Having someone who is trained in NDT (neurodevelopemental treatment) is a huge plus as well.  Hope this helps a little.  God bless you during this difficult journey.
Avatar universal
My brother-in-law had a
Avatar universal
Hello, my dad just had a Hemorrhagis stroke on wed. 5/18/05. Could anyone tell me if your love one didn't know who you were or called you by another name? How long was it before you saw any type of improvement. My dad has had his first speech & physical therapy today, he can walk, he was able to put on the socks the therapist gave him, put on some scrubs and tie them in a regular bow tie, he has been sipping water through a straw and ate some vanilla cookies today. We know his right eye was affected, how much we're not sure. How long were your love ones in the hospital? Last night or this morning he pulled out his I-V and catheter got out of bed and the nurses from him setting in the chair in his room. Any comments would be most appreciated. My dad is a strong individual, stubborn 74 year old that we love dearly so my heart goes out to all of you. God Bless
Liz in Long Beach, CA
Avatar universal
Thanks for the updates and comments.
My mom is doing well, compared to the prognosis the neurosurgeon told us...that what we saw is what we get. My mom can transfer herself from the wheelchair to bed/toilet/etc. Someone is with her for support and moves her right leg. Her arm isn't progressing much. Her leg is getting stronger with therapy everyday.She walks with help along the parallel bars, has done one-two steps and walks with a quad cane in therapy sessions. She has a long way to go but is continually making ground. Her speech is slowing coming along as well, we understand more and more, she reads and writes well. She can eat anything she wants now as well.

Something I can't emphasize enought and I agree with other comments made is that the therapists play a major role in recovery. I have just recently requested and was granted a switch in my mom's physio therapist (pt). Motivation, encouragement and constant positive feedback throughout the pt session was not taking place and had found that my mom was not responding or progressing well. A therapist's approach must be compatable with the patient to maximize the recovery....I can not stress this enough. I attend at least 2 sessions a week where I am beside my mom and each therapist (whether it is pt/ot/speech therapist and helping when asked). Get involved, be there, know what is happening and participate even if it is motivational. NDT is a definite asset, we have this set-up for when my mom leaves the rehab hospital.

Answering some questions asked:
My mom had good health and no warning signs before the stroke, not even a headache, my dad found her this way mid-morning. The neurosurgeon did not offer much hope for us to survive the stroke nor in her recovery. She has already beat the odds. My mom was in ICU for 3 weeks and step-down 1 week and in rehab hospital for two months now. I have come to learn the dr.'s don't like or really now prognosis on recovery because everyone recovers differently. I have been told over and over again they don't know why some gain more function than others. My mom pulled out her breathing tube which she had for 2.5 weeks and feeding tube (3 weeks & 2 days). My mom always knew us from the time she was awake.I want to offer this thought to the person who asked about being called by another name, if aphasia (difficult speaking)is present this might be why. Even today my mom says words that aren't right but knows what she is trying to say and then there are times she doesn't know it is coming out wrong. For example she will say " hundred" but means or wants to say "therapy". It was about 2-3 weeks into the rehab hospital that we started to see slow, noticeable gains in my mom's recovery and even today we see progress each day/week. It is hard but think in terms of months and years for recovery progress.
Avatar universal
My sister in law suffered an aneurysm when she was 41 years old in 2002, she was in ICU for 3 1/2 weeks, had the stroke on a Thursday, surgery to clip the aneruysm on a Monday.   In a coma for 4 days and on life support.   after 3 1/2 - 4 weeks in ICU she was in the rehab part of the hospital for 3 weeks, then transferred to a long term rehab out of town and was there for 3 months.  She came home after that.  She is not the same person, but to look at her you would think she is just as normal as anyone else.  She has no short term memory at all.  The doctors did not think she would even survive the night, much less the surgery.  She works full time where she was working when it happened and is doing well.   She doesn't go to new places because she gets confused, and forgets why or how she got there.  People can recover and go on to live "normal" lives, whatever normal is these days.   Good luck and God Bless all of you.
Avatar universal
My dad had a hemorrhagic stroke on Jan. 2. 2007   I know I have reached this site two years late, but I  wonder if anyone can tell me if they had a similar stroke.  his was on the right side of his brain and effected his left arm and left leg. he was in the hospital from Jan to the end of march. from hospitals to rehabs. he had a feeding tube the whole time and was finally able to drink water and eat food after 2 months.  he had pnemonia two times (2 pack a day smoker) and his lung collasped once.  He developed urinary tract infections and a blood infection while in the hospital,  He talks pretty well now and is trying to sing.  he can't stand on his own and uses a wheelchair.  he can't transfer from bed to wheelchair, and we need at least two people to get him into a car.  he has pain in the arm and leg for which we have tried many medications, trying to avoid those that make him want to sleep.  he is on a small dose of meds for depression and many for high blood pressure, prostate enlargement, fiber ,cholestrol, and vitamins, fish oil, calcium, cranberry pills.  He is feeling so depressed now and has no appetite.  we are worried and are wondering if more gains can be made after six months.  he has just started to move his shoulder and hip along with his knee sometimes.  we thought that maybe because he had such a rough start it would take more time to make gains .  I would appreciate any response. thanks
Avatar universal
You're not 2 years too late, because stokes keep happening, and people keep coming to the internet for hope, answers, and maybe comfort. I don't know that I can give that to anyone, as I'm still searching too. My Mom, who is 55 years young went into the hospital, Monday, June 4, 2007 to have a non-ruptured brain aneurysm surgically clipped. The surgeon told us (her and I) prior to the surgery, that she would not be affected mentally, might experience some right sided weakness at first, but would be back to work (as a nurses aide) by August 1st. Mom ended up having a hemorrhagic stroke during the surgery (which I discovered by accident several weeks afterward). The stroke was on the left side of her brain (same area as aneurysm). Mom was in ICU for several days before being transferred to a rehab unit. Mom was in the hospital for 1 month, and ironically was discharged on "Independence" Day. We went through it all. The thrashing, brain swelling, feeding tube, PICC line, etc.. And, my Mom also pulled out her IV's and feeding tubes multiple times. She graduated from feeding tube, to liquid diet, to pureed, mechanical soft, and now a general diet. She lost her short-term memory, her ability to talk (for awhile), her abilty to read, write, comprehend, etc. Mom is once again talking, but she suffers from "expressive aphasia". So the things she says make absolutely no sense. She gets mad at me, because she doesn't understand why I don't understand what she's saying. It makes perfect sense to her. For instance, she told me the other day she wanted to eat the violet plant for lunch?!!! She then pulled out the ham and cheese when I told her I didn't understand, and exclaimed, "The Violet Plant!" Duh, why didn't I get that? And then, just last night, Mom told me she needed her "Oscar Meyer". What?? She then went to her pill box, and pulled out her medication (her Oscar Meyer?). I, too, have asked the doctors and the therapists if I would ever have the Mom back that I once knew, or did I lose her forever? No one will answer that question, but they are never very promising. Just 2 months ago, my Mom was "normal". I still don't know if I'll ever get her back, and I'm scared, because I still need her. She's all I've got.
Avatar universal
A very close friend of mine had a hemorrhage on the right side also. It's been 11 months now post stroke and we are all very happy to still have her here with us. You probably heard the same words that we did in the first few hours. They tried to prepare us for the worst but we knew better. She has always been very strong willed. And I have found that allowing her to excercise that strong will throughout her rehab has been important to her recovery. It takes a lot of courage on our part as a caregiver to allow them to do some things on their own like they used to. Even the smallest of recovered tasks or activities mean so much to her. We always talk about it first. I try to get her to picture herself doing whatever the activity is and allow her to take as much time as she needs to let it register in her mind. I've learned to have endless patience always and she appreciates that. She then mirrors that patience by listening to me when I say lets take baby steps together, then build on them. I think it's very important to take ownership / partnership in the recovery process together while allowing some independence based on what has been achieved on their part. The bumps in the road and setbacks will continue for a great while. But things do get better in the long run, one baby step at a time. And don't forget to celebrate, sincerely and with respect between 2 adults. It's hard sometimes to keep from treating them like a child when we care so deeply. But that will add to their depression quicker than anything. Independence, confidence and self worth are what they want back more than anything. The achievements they make in the first year or two are what took us a lifetime to achieve.
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