WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SURGERY?
Physical and mental damage usually occurs whether the ruptured brain aneurysm is repaired with coils or clips. The effects are very similar to what a stroke victim suffers.
Collateral damage, others that are affected, will take its toll. They have to adjust to the fact that the person they have come to know and love no longer recognize them or is acting strange.
The recovery process can take months or even years to restore normal everyday functions.
1… Do you recognize everyone in your family?
2… Can you button your shirt?
3… Did you remember to zip up your pants?
4… You got your shoes on okay, but did you remember to put on your socks?
5… Can you walking across a room to answer the phone?
These simple tasks are just that, simple; unless you have been through a traumatizing brain injury. Everyone will do these everyday things without giving them a passing thought.
A Note: My cerebral aneurysm burst 5 years ago. I am still working to regain some physical abilities; some will never be restored.
Physical abilities, like not being able to control body functions, can be devastating. You learn a lot about the caregivers during this phase of recovery.
COPING WITH EVERYDAY PROBLEMS.
One thing you have to come to grips with is the idea that the brain controls everything you do.
The hardest part of recovery is realizing that you are having problems you never thought possible. A few common problems are:
Your ability to think things out is limited. (My mind goes blank when I get tired.)
You know how much money you need to pay for a meal at a restaurant. You are positive that the amount of money you have in your hand to pay the bill is correct; but it never is.
You stutter or get stuck on a word when trying to carry on a conversation. Getting stuck on a word is very frustrating.
For example: “Can I get –get– get– get– get– get– you a drink?” Those that do not know you will sometimes give you that “raised eye brow” look, or worse, laugh at you.
Those of use that have experienced a brain aneurysm that hemorrhaged are really sensitive to anything that involves the head. Any kind of a headache sends us into the panic mode fearing that we are having another head injury.
One of the hard parts of getting back on your feet is accepting the fact that you will need help. You cannot do it on your own, there’s no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. YOU WILL NEED HELP.
I spent two months in a rehab center learning some of the fundamental things that are required to get back to a some-what normal existence.
My arms and legs needed to retrained. Basic speech was a major task for me. I relearned how to count money.
1… 2 dimes and 1 nickel = 25 cents
2… 3 quarters and 2 pennies = 77 cents.
That’s pocket change. But it takes on a whole new meaning to one that has survived a ruptured brain aneurysm.
The rehab hospital we have in our area does a very fine job. They spent many dedicated hours helping me relearn life. The problem is, as I see it, they seem to have a rubber stamp program to rehab all brain injury people and that has it’s limits.
However, after two months I still did not know the names of my children, or for that matter, that I even had kids. My wife stepped in and started working with me to reeducate me about me.
She made up a list of common everyday questions. The questions don’t seem to make much since to those that know the answers.
1… What’s your first name?
2… What’s your last name?
3… What’s your full name?
4… When is your birthday?
5… What’s your father’s name?
6… Where were you born?
7… What’s your mother’s name?
8… Are you married?
9… How many children do you have?
This is only a sample of questions that someone that suffered a brain injury cannot answer. Bonnie, That’s my wife, came up with 300 such questions. She worked with me every day with the questions until I started to get them right. It’s really frustrating not knowing who you are.
This type of Question/Answer game is very helpful. Try to get someone to make up a set of questions that fit you if one of the deficits you are experiencing is a loss of your identity.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
A ruptured brain aneurysm turns your life upside down. You have survived. Just surviving a traumatic brain injury makes you one of the lucky few. What’s taken a lifetime to learn can be wiped out in a heartbeat.
It’s easy to say “Just hang in there. Everything is going to be okay.” Here’s the truth. It’s going to be a long and hard journey to get back to being close to where your were before the life changing injury. Be patient and have a lot of faith in your own ability to pull yourself back up.