Advice on how to help my father welcome

Hello. My dad had a fall at his house two weeks ago and suffered am adduce inter cranial bleed on his left side which affected temporal, frontal and parietal areas of brain. He also suffered skull fractures and facial bone fractures. He did not receive medical treatment until about 8 hours post trauma unfortunately and was moved by his wife. He spent iver a week in intensive care but has now been transferred to a neuro rehab ward. He has an infection (poss chest) and has temperatures. He can talk and move and us able to feed himself. He is aware of when he needs the toilet. His main problem is complete amnesia and aphasia. He tends to talk a lot without getting to the point and substitutes and creates his own words. He gets fixated on things like emails and changes but I often feel like I'm understanding him. He says he has a bad taste in his mouth. He has mentioned dieing and is v frustrated with the cannulas and medication. Can anyone suggest ways I can help him regain memory/speech and keep his spirits positive? Thank you

20 Replies

  • I mean a massive inter cranial bleed and swelling/contusions.

  • It's really very early days still, he needs time for the brain to rewire, and to heal.

    I had in the scheme of things quite a minor injury but I was still effectively, in bed or on the sofa asleep still at that stage, with a desperately worried wife.

    It's a matter of giving it time, and adjusting to the now not attempting to to do too much too soon, I drove my wife potty has to be said.

  • Thank you

  • Two weeks is such a short time in terms of recovery from a brain injury. There is little anyone can do in these early stages except for being there with lots of reassurance (and patience).

    Maybe later, when your dad's visible injuries have healed, and his brain has been allowed to rest and repair, you can introduce brain-training and memory games, but it's almost certainly too early right now whilst his brain will still be going through its incredible re-wiring and recovery phase.

    It's an upsetting and frustrating time for loved ones, but I'm afraid recovery from most brain injuries is usually a long waiting game.

    Just keep reminding yourself that although you can't see it, your dad's brain is repairing itself hour by hour ; day by day. But very, very slowly.

    Please keep us updated when you can. All best wishes for your father's recovery. Cat x

  • Thank you so much for your reassurance. I was worried I wasn't doing enough. Today he was talking a lot but still mentioned dying because of his 'change'. He is much stronger physically though.

  • As it's still early days in recovery terms the best you can do is just to be there for him. I felt very alienated when I was place into a ward with others from intensive care after my accident. Being hooked up to a whole host of medical equipment made me feel trapped and I felt threatened by the nurses when they'd check my pupils at odd hours. The injured brain can distort reality in very odd ways often leaving the person feeling extreme fear. I longed for familiarity and companionship. I wanted my family to be there at my bedside all the time and felt lonely when they weren't.

    So be there for him, talk, play him music, give him nice suprises. Familiarity helps recovery.

  • I will. He is still convinced the doctors are causing all the problems although is no longer fighting them (or US!) Off.

  • Slowly ,slowly it will take time for the brain to re-adjust but to have friends who can make you laugh really helped me my first few weeks back on the ward after ICU.I used to talk all the time when I had physio and when the dr's came to check me and told them if I'm talking to much just tell me to "shut up" .

    Try to be there as much as possible and to have other people visit makes you feel more secure.:)

  • Thank you! My dad seems low but I have been able to raise a smile. Will keep working on making him laugh. :-)

  • We found the most useful thing was when one of the staff working with me spent time explaining that it can take anything up to two years to know exactly what the long term effects of a brain injury is going to be, and you will get various plateaus in progress. We are now at about 2 1/2 years on and I am finally beginning to accept that there are things I'll never get back, but some things I am now better at than I was before my subarachnoid hemorrhage.

  • I'm glad to hear you are improving and wish you all the best.

  • Thank you. I've been wondering if I should be clearer with him about time scales - we have been saying he's doing really well and that it's only been two weeks since his fall, but I think perhaps I'll talk to the team about helping to explain the recovery process to him. Thanks

  • Regency, your dad is not completely wrong about doctors causing problems. After a TBI, doctors to tend to over medicate patients. I'm not sure if the doctor placed your dad on meds or not, but over medication is a huge problem wt TBI's. The problem is, we are brain injured, not mentally ill. I spent over ten years on high doses of meds, and only began to think clearly again, after a very slow weaning process. I'm not saying that medication doesn't help, I'm just saying that patients wt TBI's are often prescribed too much. Then when a medication clouds a patients thinking, causing them even more distress and problems, a doctor tries to fix that wt even more medication.

    About time scales, brain injury does indeed take a very long time to heal, and it never stops. I am 20 years out, and still have progress. Two weeks is probably too early to get him into cognitive therapy, but I try and get him some within the next couple of months, and year. Even though I still see progress in myself, the majority of rewiring will occur soon after an injury. Two weeks in, he probably needs rest, because of his TBI, and physical injuries, but try and set up some games, & cognitive therapy for later on.

  • Thank you - I appreciate how early it is for him- the problem is my dad doesn't! He has always been so active and clever and I'm finding it hard to persuade him that he must give it time. He keeps talking about how if the 'changes' don't get better then he may just decide it's not worth it. I told him we'd wait until he had his fishing rod in hand and had a good bottle of red at home waiting before he needs to decide anything. I was pleased yesterday when we looked at a photo of his parents and he said they were his folks. :-)

  • My family say I spoke a little after my SAH but I remember nothing until my shunt was put in.

    I now do not stop chatting !! Sing to Dad and show him photo's. He will get there but it's a long

    haul. OT's said to my hubby "have you thought of putting her/Me in a home" thank goodness he

    said "No Way I'll take her home"

    Your Dad is in there like I was, you just need to hang in there with him xx

    Good luck to you All


  • Thank you! That's very reassuring! I'm glad your dad didn't either! My dad talked yesterday about how he has thinking in his head but can't get it out if his mouth. He talked about not being able to say our names although he knows who we are. Must be so frustrating but we will keep trying to help him see that he's making incredible improvements and will continue to do so. I was wondering if a pen and paper might be a good idea...

  • Awareness, of your problems, although frustrating, is half the battle. I think a pen and paper would be a great idea. If his handwriting is bad, see if he can use a keyboard. For myself, I don't like speaking because my articulation of words, when I want to speak fast, doesn't come out clear enough. The reason I want to speak fast, is because my memory isn't always great. When I type, I can type slowly, and recheck what I've wrote if I forget my train of thought.

  • Ok I will try both and see what works. Thanks so much for the advice. I'm going to see if I'm allowed to take him outside for a bit of fresh air today - being cooped up inside is his worst nightmare!

    I am very grateful for your help and also impressed by yours and everyone's bravery and courage. Wishing you all the very best.

  • I meant I'm glad your hubby didn't agree with the doctors!

  • Just to keep you all updated. Dad has had a lot of memory returned which is great. What he struggles with is finding names and correct words for things and often substitutes words. He also has no filter on what he says - he has told everything things he has obviously thought in the past but would never have said to someone's face! His infection/temperature is much better. He is becoming more aware of pain in his head and also complains now of pain in his knee. He can read some words but not others and is disinterested in tv/music etc which is unlike him. He doesn't want to know about foods he previously enjoyed. I guess these changes are pretty normal for an extensive head injury. The hospital now want to change his consultant to a rehab one rather than the clinical team. I've been told he will receive 3x 45 min sessions of therapy per week. This doesn't sound much to me...

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