Dad

Hi,

My Dad is in his 70's and suffered a massive left sided stroke almost three months ago. He has been left physically disabled which is dreadful but we are a practical family and we will make the best of it. What we are struggling with is the complete change from the person he was. I feel like the Dad I had before has gone and I worry that he will never come back. Sometimes I actually feel like I'm grieving for what we have lost even though he is still here. The person we are left with is a lovely quiet sweet old man, but he is not the sarcastic, grumpy, humorous Dad that I had for 40 years. Don't get me wrong, I am more than eternally grateful that he is still with us but I just wondered if anyone else had gone through feelings like this and how best to cope with them.
Thank you for you advice in advance

Hi Ele, Sorry to hear about Dad’s Stroke. I am 73 and had my stroke eighteen months ago. Stroke is a shock to a person’s well being. In the beginning you experience all kinds of emotions...fear, depression, lack of being yourself. Early on my partner told me I wasn’t the same person and said I had lost my sense of humour. But that is understandable, since what you were has beeen overwhelmed. However, ‘I’ came back. I regained my sense of humour and fun, thank God. Recently, I was talking to an old friend on the phone who said, ‘You sound like the old John again.’ I have also recovered some of the traits that so irritated my partner. So, although you have a ‘new’, less grumpy dad, some of the old one may return. However he is,though, he is still your Dad. He has survived.

Dear ele
Sorry to hear that Dad is so unwell.
Stroke kills part of the brain. It doesn't regrow. So it takes part of our personality away. We are never returning to the previous person. I call it "new me". Several survivors have described it as grieving for a death. But Dad will slowly get back a lot of his old self. Not all of it. The small bit he doesn't get back does make a big difference. If I think about it, why do I like one person and not like another. Theres only a tiny difference.
I try to look at the plus points. Dad has survived, many do not. His "new self" will have a purpose in life and I would want to home in on this.
From your point of view I doubt that you can do much to reassure yourself. Only another stroke survivor can understand what he is going through. Maybe only another daughter can understand what you are going through ??
Three months is early days. I am 22 months and still floundering to find my place in life. In some ways this is the hardest bit of the recovery journey, yet no one mentions it much.

Best wishes and do say hello to Dad from me.

Colin

Hi Colin, thank you for taking the time to reply and for your kind words which make so much sense. Really do appreciate your advice. Take care

Thank you for your reply John. When I called to see him today there was a little bit more of his humour there which was amazing. As you say, he is still my Dad and I’ll love him however he is. Thanks again

Hi Ele, I'm experiencing the same thing right now with my mum. It has only been 3 weeks since she had her stroke. She has changed from the vivacious, loud lady she was to a now timid and depressed lady who cries every day. She has aphasia and can't communicate her feelings. My family and I often discuss the same... it feels as though we are grieving the loss of her as the person we see is not the same mum to us. It is all very heartbreaking. I do wish your dad all the best and it does sound like he is still here from what you have mentioned above. I guess we often forget that they are going through even more emotions than us and are living the reality. I pray your dad finds happiness. If you do ever want to compare experiences we could email each other.

Lots of love
Pri

Hi Pri. As a survivor, I can assure you that Stroke is devastating and is a bit like a near death experience. I thought I was a goner and my partner said i wasn’t me. On the journey,however, I realised we all put on a face to survive Life. Stroke made me assess who I was. I was never tearful, but quiet and introspective. Nowadays, old friends tell me I am ‘myself’ again, but, at 73, I know now that I am time limited. So as well as being the person I appeared to be, I hope I am now kinder and more understanding. Three weeks is so early on, so I know how Mum is feeling. In my first few weeks, I thought I might die in my sleep every night. What I am saying is that Mum will ‘come back’ but she may not be as loud as she used to be. She, will, however, learn to enjoy life again, whilst realising her limitations. For example, every time I look out on our garden, I feel blessed. I hope she does well, despite the hard journey.

Hi Pri,

Thanks for responding - it's comforting to know that someone else is going through the same but not comforting to know that you and your family feel like we do if you know what I mean.
These last few days Dad has been much more like his old self - I'm hoping that being home from hospital will aid his recovery even more.
I wish your mum the best also - she's still at a very early stage of such a long road but I'm sure that she will get there. Our parents are so precious to us it's very hard to see them like this but we must remain positive as it's them that are fighting the battle every day.
If you want to chat at any time you can message me through this website.

Take care

Ele

That's good that Dad is nearing discharge.
If he is still in hospital, can I mention something. Getting home was traumatic. The emotions ran riot and the realization of just how rotten the aftermath is. I got an irrational fear of another stroke. And the tears set in. For me, these strange reactions were quite severe but they passed away given time. The tears aren't quite the same as normal tears, these odd stroke tears are not as bad. On the plus side I started to get many nights of sleep. A lovely deep sleep without dreams. Yes there were awful dreams on some nights, really awful. But I prefer to recall the good nights of amazing and refreshing deep sleep.
Best wishes
Colin

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