*sensitive post. Discussing the topic of stroke. Quite in-depth and personal.
So it has been a while but if you follow me on instagram then you will know the reason as to why I haven’t been on here. In November, my dad suffered a brain stem stroke and I have been travelling from my home in Kent to where he lives in Lincolnshire to provide help and support. Following his stroke on the 27th November 2019, I discussed the matter with my dad and he suggested that I put together a post to share his experience – both good and bad. This shows how selfless he is because he is always thinking about helping others, right when his life changed within a matter of hours. This also reflected in his approach and attitude towards treatment, staff and the overall experience in hospital.
If you have me on instagram I did a full on in-depth video talking about what happened to my dad, where I explained the symptoms and the rarity of the stroke. I wanted to repeat it again on here, because 1) my dad wants me to get it out there and 2) for the people that don’t follow me on instagram, but do on here, I want you all to know.
Abit of background on my dad – for 31 years he has been employed by the home office and has always been a physically fit man with a background of insurance running and cycling and was rarely ill.
During the late evening of Tuesday 27th November 2019, my dad was taken ill. He was quietly sat downstairs watching the news with a cup of tea, he felt pain and tightness down his entire left side, his vision became blurry and went, along with his balance and he felt extreme nausea. Living in a three story townhouse, he needed to crawl two flights of stairs to get to his partner who was asleep on the top floor. Having reached her and put himself in the recovery position. (it should be noted that my dad taught first aid and has been involved in first aid through his whole career. Had a good knowledge of first aid) knowing the signs and symptoms he advised his partner that he was having a stroke and she alerted the paramedics.
Side affects of his brain stem stroke :
Loss of feeling and numbness down his entire left side
Reduced mobility to left arm / fingers, left leg / foot and toes
Numbness in leg and arm on left side
After being taken into the ambulance to go to the hospital he had a CT scan (this scan only looked at the front of his brain) which led them to believe that it was an inner ear infection. The back of the brain wasn’t checked which is where the clot on his brain was.
36 hours later he had another stroke, which left him in a worse condition. The left side of his face dropped, which meant that it was hard for him to retain fluid. His eye sight in both eyes were extremely blurred. He couldn’t lift his left arm at all. The next few days were crucial in my dads recovery. Due to the rarity of the stroke we were told that 80% of people go straight into intensive care and remain there forever. We were told that he may not make any progress and may have another stroke within the first 48 hours. As I said I don’t live with my dad so it was very hard not being there when it first happened. The first week was very very hard. I was up the hospital every single day with my dad. After the first 4/5 days the doctor told us that my dad was one of the 20% of people to have survived this stroke. We saw a scan of my dads brain and he explained more to us about a brain stem stroke.
What is a brain stem stroke:
“A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. The way a stroke affects the brain depends on which part of the brain suffers damage, and to what degree.
Sitting just above the spinal cord, the brain stem controls your breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure. It also controls your speech, swallowing, hearing, and eye movements.
Impulses sent by other parts of the brain travel through the brain stem on their way to various body parts. We’re dependent on brain stem function for survival. A brain stem stroke threatens vital bodily functions, making it a life-threatening condition.” HealthLine.com
My dad had a clot on the brain and we were told that they couldn’t operate as it may make it far worse. My dad was on medication which dispersed the clot. Something very important to know with these kinds of strokes is that because it affects both brain cells, both sides of the body can be affected. About 2 weeks into my dads recovery, we noticed that his right side of the face started to drop After a couple of scans, we were told there was no new stroke activity and this was happening because the location of the stroke on the brain.
My dad was in hospital for 3 weeks, finally being released just before Christmas.
Fast forward a couple of months. My partner and I visited my dad for New Years. He had home therapy for 6 weeks (it only just stopping now) he has daily exercises that he has to do. His left side is still numb, however there is alot of hand movement and he is walking. He is able to use his left hand, but it still quite slow and still numb. He is walking nearly every day, going for walks in the local park. He was on crutches and now is using two long sticks to help him walk. He has been given special glasses to help his right eye as it is a little weaker than his left. We have been told that his vision has improved which is amazing news. Vision is still a little blurred, however he can focus and it goes in and out of blurriness. His face has gone back to how it looked before, there is no drop on either side. We recently went to the gym which is fantastic that my dad is able to go. We will get there and take each day as it comes.
I am doing this post because my dad wants to raise awareness about this type of stroke. These are the symptions that my dad had, they may not be common symptoms of a stroke, but people need to be made aware of other symptoms which you could get. Thank you so much to the supportive people online, I have never had so many messages fill my inbox like I did when I first uploaded the video about my dad. I never in my whole life thought that something like this would happen to my dad. You think your parents are invincible. Take care of the ones you love and be grateful for them. My family have been absolutely amazing. My dad is a strong man and I know he will come back stronger than ever.
If you feel like you want to discuss anything relating to a stroke, whether that be someone in your family or a friend. Feel free to message me as I know how it feels and what you are going through. Leave me a comment or message me privately.
Sophia & Paul