cardiac arrest and brain injury - recovery - Headway


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cardiac arrest and brain injury - recovery


Hi, I am new here. My brother had cardiac arrest on July 25, and he is in ICU ever since. He was 19 days in coma, GCS 4, than raised to 5, he had no reflexes, no reaction to whatsoever, no pupil reaction or reaction to pain stimuli. Doctors were only saying to us that "miracles can happen, and that they have seen some in their carrier". After 19 days he opened his eyes and he was back. Todays, 5 more weeks after .. he is still on ICU, waiting for place on rehab. Recovery goes slow, but every day is better than day before. He has fisio therapy every day, and responds well on it. His reflexes came back, and his strength is coming back. He still does not talk, although they removed his trach some weeks ago. Sometimes he mouths words, and sometimes we understand him, someday we do not. On first days after waking up, he could not move his legs or hands, or even head and body, today he can eat by him self . It lasts 70 minutes but he does it :) He can read, but he can not write. He still does not sit by himself, and does not walk, although with help of nurses and fisio he can make few steps. Some days he is very "present", he is here, and we know he understands us, he makes meaningful answers (mainly yes or no or mouthing words). Yet there are some other days when he is depressed, does not want to work on fisio, depressed, almost catatonic. Some days he acts like he is 5 yrs old, he wants to eat paper, or puts a pen in his mouth like it is spoon. We can not explain to him that he should not try to get rid of trach before when he had it, or he drowned out his stoma out of nose few times, than they stopped returning it, and now he has focus on brownila and caterer. So unfortunately, because of that he is tied to the bed most of the time, when he is alone, and that frustrates him. We can come during lunch time and feed him /help him eat, and also for dinner time. So we spend more than 2 hrs in total in hospital and help him. When we tell him what happened he is always surprised. When he just woke up he was slimming and spitting a lot. That stopped after few weeks. So, for what ever goes on we hope it is just a pfaze and just temporary. More and more he is "here", and focused on conversation. He understands humour and sarcasm, sometime. Every day a bit better than day before. I am always telling to my brother: " we will show them what is miracle, when we come back here with birthday cake next year and one candle on it"

is here anyone with full recovery? up to normal everyday life as before? how long it takes to start speaking again?

8 Replies

It is such early days yet. He is doing so well. Just build on each thing he manages to do. He will have good days and bad days but he WILL keep improving. We were told it would be about two years before we could say that improvements would slow down..... and your brother has a long way to go before he reaches that stage. If he cannot write to communicate, have you tried an alphabet board where you can point to letters so he can tell you what he wants to say.

anonymous38 in reply to Hidden

thank you for your kind words. alphabeth did not help. today it was hard day... after sunch a nice meal and everything he tried to tell me something, and tries to tell me some story, but i do not understand a word. and when i do undestand something it makes no sence. i think he is in his own story .. i have no idea what was he going on and on. and than trying to get up from bed .. he must go and do something. i do not think today he was realy here... do not know where was he and what was he talking to me. than he gets upset and me also ... ok, tomorrow will be better


It really is very early days.

His brain will be relearning as he did when he was a child, but occasionally it will join up broken wiring and thats when he becomes more lucid. Think of how a child learns to speak, in fact everything, and encourage him through those processes.

If you cannot think of what to speak to him about, or if he is unable to communicate with you, read to him, so he hears your voice , that will be soothing, and also stimulate the language part of his brain.

It is 6+ years since i was in a coma and not expected to survive, but i did wake and then the hard work started.

I have relearned everything, walking, writing, feeding and dressing myself. Some things came back much quicker than others.

But, i will never totally recover, I cannot work, or drive I am easily fatigued and when my brain is put under stress, a simple conversation can do this, it attempts to shut down, my speech goes and my sight and hearing dim. But i am quite independant now and can negotiate public transport, shopping, walks in the park and trips to the swimming pool and gym.

I completed 18 miles of The Barons’ marathon and will be speaking at the 30th anniversary of the opening of the rehab unit I attended.

So hang on in there, be patient, there is no time limit to recovery as he becomes more able to do things then press him further. Practice, practice, practice, never give up.

Please keep us informed as to your brother’s progress. If i could be there to help i would.

Take care of yourself too, dont lose sight of the stresses this puts on you and the rest of the family.

Janet x

anonymous38 in reply to Kirk5w7

Thank you so much for this kind words . Means a lot to me.

I'm afraid no one can predict the outcome for your brother although, from what you've described, he seems to be making good progress so far. Right now, since the changes within his brain, he'll be struggling to make sense of everything…………. and his re-connecting with the world will be patchy and haphazard.

All I cared about after a brain haemorrhage was sleeping, and I've no recollection of anything else despite learning later on, from my family, how my behaviour had often been disruptive and unpredictable. So please don't make too much of your brother's actions whilst he's still adjusting to this new version of himself ; it's such early days.

I know it's hard being patient when you're desperate to see improvements in a loved one, but the passage of time is the brain's main healer...……..and it's a very slow process.

Wishing the best possible outcome for your brother...……. Cat x

I did not say he is 42 Years old

cat3 in reply to anonymous38

Being relatively young can only be a bonus for your brother. Give it time...…..much more time.

After my haemorrhage, my daughter feared I was permanently lost to her because of my nonsensical outbursts and ramblings, but she was reassured by the consultant who said 'It's still early days for your mother but she hasn't yet turned the corner which could happen any day...…….then you'll have her back'.

My son asked what 'turning the corner' meant, and the doctor explained it's an expression they use routinely when patients are clearly back into the real world but there isn't a clinical word for such a subtle development. And of course it happened just as he described ; my family arrived one day to find me on an intermediate recovery ward...…..and making sense.

I hope your brother turns his own particular corner before too long m'dear……. x

anonymous38 in reply to cat3

Thank you so much. Most optimistic words i have heard

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