Progress In Rehabilitation

My 84 year old mother had a stroke about 10 days ago and was left with no movement in her left arm and leg, she was also almost impossible to wake from sleep but over the last few days she has improved in my opinion, she now wakes normally ( although she is still very tired ) she has opened her eyes and can read, she can speak whole sentences, her extreme emotion swings seem to be stabilizing and she feels more calm, she is able to hold her head up and turn it round to face whoever is speaking, so I feel quite optimistic about her recovery but one of the physio therapist seems to think she will never get use of her left arm and leg again but I have seen them ( especially the leg and foot ) moving while my mum is sleeping, surely this movement is a positive sign ever if it happening in sleep has anyone else experienced anything like this, I want to stay as positive as possible and encourage my mum and since it is not yet two weeks since she started to recover surly it is possible that more improvements are likely.

Hi JLB, So sorry to hear of Mum’s Stroke. She has,however, survived and many do not. I am 73 and had my stroke 18 months ago. Ten days is very, very early and Mum has experienced major trauma, in my first few weeks I could not stand and had no use of my left arm or hand. One day I managed to open my fingers...how I do not know. I started getting physio and was helped to stand, then walk on a frame. At night I had involuntary movements in my weak leg. This is the brain rewiring itself. Involuntary movement continued at night for many months, even though I could walk better.

What I am saying is that ten days is so early that any change in Mum should be viewed positively. Encourage her all you can. Positive people make better recoveries, but be aware that the road ahead is a long one. I still exercise now. Mum is also likely to get post stroke fatigue, so will need to rest when her body tells her to. So, take heart, Mum is still with you. She may not be able to do everything she used to, but there will be things she can do. I hope she continues to improve. Please look after yourself too.

Thank you for your encouraging reply, I am an optimistic person and want to work at encouraging my mother and keeping her spirits up but some of the staff in the hospital seem to have a very negative attitude to recovery and keep stressing that improvements only happen in the first two weeks, I feel better after reading your post and many of the others on this site where people speak of recovery being a life long process.
Thanks once again.

JLB, Clearly, those of us who are older take longer to improve. I think repetitive exercise and repetitive tasks help. We also have to understand that tasks will take longer and require patience. For example, I have just changed my duvet cover. The first time I attempted this after my stroke it took about forty minutes and involved much falling on the bed. Tonight it took twenty five, largely because I have broken the task down into steps. Fitting buttons into button holes is very hard and is best tackled sitting down. So bear this in mind. Try to keep Mum occupied. The worst thing is to sit doing nothing or just watching television. I do a concise crossword every day as well. You certainly cannot write anyone off in the first two weeks. Blimey, it took me two weeks to remember who I was.

Thanks for your encouragement and congratulations on your improved duvet cover changing skills, over the last few weeks I have seen my mum improve, just small things for example she does not go into a deep sleep that she just cannot be woke from any more, she is usually awake by the time I get to the hospital to visit her, she has asked me “ what is going on in the news” so I buy a news paper every other day and we discuss one or two of the stories in it, she still has no useful movement in her left arm and leg but the physio says her sitting up is improving, the physio’s have also given me exercises to do with her which I do every day, I have been able to talk to other people on the ward now and many of them were in a very bad way to start with but gradually improving so I am encouraged.
Thanks once again.

Hi JLB, Those are all good signs. Repetitive exercises are dull but vital. The more they are done,hopefully, the more she will improve. Now she is interested in the news, why not get her to do a quick crossword with you. That will help stimulate her more. It takes a long time to make progress, but it does come. I was also told early on is that the leg and foot improve faster than the arm and hand, because they do less complex things. Once movement starts to come back, there is a tendency to experience involuntary movements as the brain rewrites itself. If these happen, tell Mum not to be frightened of them. I found them fascinating. Even a few months ago my elbow began inclining upwards almost by itself. I hope even these little changes in Mum give you hope.

Hi, JLB. This sounds very similar to my Dad. I've just posted my own question because i'm concerned about the hospitals attitude to progress. My Dad was the same, no movement in theleft side initially, but now at about 5 or 6 weeks the arm is back to almost full functionality and there is movement in the left knee and there was nothing for the first couple of weeks. This improvement came after the lead consultant told him he wasn't going to get any better and to consider going in a home.

My Dad isn't yet out of bed but there is slow continual improvement, for some reason this doesn't seem good enough for the hospital, but as long as there are little signs there's always hope.

Hope that helps you a little

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