Strokecast

Guest Post: My spouse had a stroke, now what? (Part 2)

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from stroke spouse Melia Wilkinson. You can read Part 1 of her story here.

— Thanks, Bill

 

Moving to the neuro unit

That’s the next thing to understand. Improving will mean moving to less care. It’s a double edge sword. All my husband’s nurses in the ICU warned me time and time again to go home and get some sleep as I’ll need to “really be on my toes” when they move him to the neuro unit. This isn’t because they don’t care or aren’t good caregivers. It’s just that the ratio of nurses to patients GREATLY increases as you progress. It’s just a sad fact. The same will be true when they move to either acute rehab or a rehab facility. Just try to remember that it means they are getting better.

Getting up and about can seem like the LAST THING that’s needed, but it’s actually one of the best things for a stroke survivor

One thing that I got very wrong early on in my protective stance was guarding Kerry against Physical Therapy. He was so tired, and within the first week of recovery, in came two physical therapists to make him sit up. I just kept wanting them to leave him alone (which is what he wanted, too). But here’s the thing, every moment, every second of therapy you can get both at onset and along the way is INVALUABLE for two reasons. First, recovery is all about therapy. The more you get, the more you recover. It’s really that simple. Second, therapy varies greatly. In hospital, therapy is some of the best, and having them come to his room and do it right there… priceless. Fight for MORE therapy whenever you can. It’s not just part of the routine, but a vital step in recovery.

But here’s the thing, every moment, every second of therapy you can get both at onset and along the way is INVALUABLE. -- Melia Wilkinson #stroke Click To Tweet

Once you’re off the ICU (this can be 24 hours or 2 weeks), the next phase will likely be in a neuro unit. At this stage, they are trying to access what damage has been done, what they need to move forward, and what the next steps are. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s all about getting them to move on. Insurance has strict guidelines, and the hospital staff must follow them. Some of the things that they will “test” are swallow reflex, endurance, and cognitive responses. They want to know if they can eat on their own, withstand intense acute rehab, and are able to respond to basic commands. I remember thinking this was a pass-fail test. I just wanted my husband to “pass” and get to acute rehab. It meant everything to me. I was so very, very wrong.

I just wanted my husband to “pass” and get to acute rehab. It meant everything to me. I was so very, very wrong. -- Melia Wilkinson #stroke Click To Tweet

Come back on April 22 for Part 3

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