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My Aunt Had a Stroke

 
 
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:44 pm
I just learned my Aunt had a stroke on Thursday. She is 72. She was hosting a dinner party and she collapsed. She is out of the hospital, but she cannot speak. She also cannot recognize speech fully. My cousin's informed me that she will have to have speech therapy.

She spent her career as a college ESL teacher, and taught at San Diego State University. She devoted her life to help people communicate and now she can't speak. This is heartbreaking for me.

I'm sitting at my desk at work, and I want to scream. I'm so angry that it took me this long to find out.

Ache
R
T
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:46 pm
@failures art,
I'm sorry, art.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:48 pm
Why did it take so long to find out? I'm sure it was no fault of yours. I hope she regains her communication skills completely!
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:48 pm
@failures art,
I'm sorry to hear about this.

Did your aunt get treatment very promptly? (it seems it must have been as she's been in hospital and released) People can have an amazing recovery from strokes, especially if treatment/intervention happened quickly.

It's going to be frustrating for your aunt, but really, speech therapy can do marvellous things.
George
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:53 pm
I understand your frustration, Art.
My family has been like that too.
I hope she is near enough for you to visit.
(Ditto on what ehBeth said about speech therapy.)
Sending best wishes your way.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 02:59 pm
@ehBeth,
She did get prompt treatment. This just feels familiar. My grandmother never regained speech after her stroke. She would open her mouth, but could never form words. My aunt (the same one) and my cousins, worked with her and therapists. That was 2007. She died of a second stroke 10 months later.

My poor cousins. They must relive such horrible feelings and fears. It was not so long ago.

A
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 03:03 pm
@failures art,
Sorry man. My uncle had a stroke about 10 years ago and hes regained all his speech powers and is involved in a stroke management program with blood thinners and activitioes . Hes 83 and hes doing real fine.
Stroke is managed almost as a chronic thing today and its preventable. As shes on rehab, she needs to be in a program to prevent later (and more severe strokes)
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failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 03:03 pm
@George,
She lives in San Diego and I'm out in DC. I called my father. He's living in SD right now taking care of his parents. I asked him to go and visit her and see if he can offer any help.

For clarification: My parents are divorced. This aunt is my mother's sister.

A
R
T
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 03:12 pm
@failures art,
I'm sorry to hear of your family's travails, Art. I hope your aunt's recovery is swift and complete.
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 03:47 pm
@failures art,
I'm sorry to hear this, art.

I hope she's able to regain her voice soon.
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Finn dAbuzz
 
  4  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 03:52 pm
@failures art,
Sorry to hear of this Diest.

As others have suggested, therapy can work wonders.

As soon as you can, call her on the phone or send her a card with a handwritten note. It means a lot to people to know they are being thought of.

Keep hoping and praying (if you're so inclined). I'll keep her in mine.


0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  3  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 04:11 pm
As more details are coming in, things sound somewhat better. She has been speaking a bit. My cousin did say that her main struggle is with listening and reading. She is aware of what happened to her and is fully lucid.

Apparently one of the dinner guests was a retired doctor and recognized the signs of the stroke from her behavior. They got her on blood thinners fairly quick. My cousin noted that it's also pretty hard right now to tell what is temporary and what is permanent damage. My aunt hasn't really been able to sleep for the 4 days she was in the ICU. She did get 12 hours of sleep once she returned home though, and I guess this morning is when she began to do some simple speech. She has good dexterity and coordination.

The stroke was "localized in what is called the Wernicke’s area of the brain, somewhere behind her left eye, which is involved in the understanding of written and spoken language."

She is resting and at home. She has done some therapy, but priority one is to let her brain try and heal. I'm glad she is getting some rest.

A
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 04:16 pm
@failures art,
Aw sweetheart.

I'm sure it's very frustrating for her, and tough for your family. Thank God that dinner guest was there. Sending many posi-vibes.
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 04:23 pm
I hope things continue to improve for your Aunt. I'm glad you're feeling more encouraged about her situation and hope her struggles will be as minimal as they possibly can be in such a situation.
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failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 04:24 pm
Googling around:

Quote:
Wernicke’s Aphasia:
Wernicke’s aphasia is named after the person who discovered the areas of the brain that are responsible for language comprehension. People with Wernicke’s aphasia can’t understand others, or even themselves, when they speak. Their speech, however, is incomprehensible, as they create sentences whose words are arranged in an apparently random and often amusing fashion. For instance, you might hear a Wernicke’s aphasic say: “My door sat through the lamp in the sky.” This type of language pattern is sometimes referred to as logorrhea. Nonetheless, when people with Wernicke's aphasia speak, they feel as though they are being understood. This is caused by their lack of awareness of their profound language impairment, (anosagnosia). Over time, Wernicke’s aphasics might learn that others can’t understand them when they speak, so they might become angry, paranoid, and depressed.

Not very encouraging.

A
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Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 05:26 pm
@failures art,
Doesn't sound like she has logorrhea, and in the absence of additional strokes I've never heard of the damage from the first one getting worse after the patient was released from the hospital.

Being released after 4 days is a pretty good sign.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 06:03 pm
I wonder if writing will be easier than speaking.
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 06:29 pm
Singing is supposed to help.. different brain function.

I too hope she will recover. All my best Art.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 07:19 pm
@failures art,
I am so sorry. This sounds very painful for you and from what you have posted your feelings for her are very clear. I pray that she recovers. Life can make us very angry at times and sometimes it truly should.
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dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Feb, 2011 11:07 pm
@failures art,
I am so sorry FA.

Life is just ridiculously cruel sometimes.

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((FA)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

I do hope your aunt has some sort of good recovery.

I do find myself wondering if her neural networks for speech and language comprehension might be larger that that of non-specialists (brains change and develop according to how we use them) and this might just possibly give her some benefit in recovery? But of course I do not know.


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