Because so many people live with stroke victims or minister to them, I have been sharing my experience with my wife’s stroke.
Jan had her stroke on July 4th 2011, so this isn’t my favorite holiday. It was a bad stroke. The only thing Jan can do for herself is feed herself and brush her hair and teeth. She can’t communicate except the most rudimentary phrases.
Since then I have learned a lot about life, myself, and how to cope with a bad stroke. I’ve learned:
- Patience is truly a virtue. Of course I knew this in theory, but now I know its importance in fact. You can’t afford to be impatient with a stroke victim. It doesn’t get you anywhere; just makes it worse.
- Don’t expect overnight recovery but don’t give up on recovery too soon. For the first four months Jan couldn’t feed herself, brush her hair and teeth. Now she can. As of this month, she doesn’t need round the clock oxygen. For the first nine months she was on processed food. Now she eats almost anything. She is still drinking thickened water but even that my change next month.
- Almost any problem can be overcome. When a person can’t transfer from car to car, getting to a dr. becomes a major obstacle. We have been lucky in that our family dr. comes to the house. But not dentist, etc. After looking for solutions for a year I found a company in California who knew of a company in Corpus Christi that rents mobility vans. As of this month Jan can see any dr. anywhere as long as I rent the van for a day. Corpus is a small city. If you live in a major city you most probably are able to rent a van. To purchase one used will cost you 30,000 to 50,000.
- Every care giver needs a regular break to avoid crawling inward or going crazy. I’m lucky to have two excellent care givers who spell me a few hours most days or all the time when I travel.
- If your spouse can’t communicate learn sign language. Well, not real sign language but simple jesters will go along way. Encourage your spouse to point or look toward whatever is wanted. Be prepared to ask a lot of questions. My wife understands most of what I say, so if I’m not sure what she wants I ask until I hit the target. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and Jan will say “Never mind.”
Living with a victim of a bad stroke is no fun but it has its moments that are priceless and worth the effort.