Confabulation? Not making sense?

My husband's ruptured basilar tip aneurysm was three months ago and surgery was about a week after. He was in a coma for a couple of weeks and the doctors didn't expect him to make it. He woke up, very slowly and was finally transferred back to our hometown and the LTAC for a month. He finally came off the vent and trach. Now he's at an inpatient rehab facility. He is getting stronger with rehab, but can't stand or move himself yet
and the insurance is making noise like they want him to come home. I'm
afraid I won't be able to care for him properly. He's a big guy and I'm
not strong. He has continually had hospital acquired infections and too many antibiotics. He is eating on his own and understands and follows commands with minimal prompting. Also, he knows me most of the time, but occasionally will tell me I'm
not Linda or that I look like Linda, but I'm not his Linda and things
like that. He can answer closed questions, but open-ended ones usually wind up with strange stories and interesting words put together that make no sense. He seems very sure of what he's saying and will repeat it and even explain it. Sometimes we know he is mixing in his past work with things he's heard or seen. But a lot of times it is just senseless to us. I have read that that is called confabulation and that it lessens over time as his brain heals. Has anyone else had this experience with your loved one?


My Journey

Thank you so much for your reply. My husband is doing better since this was posted, but still confused when tired or frustrated. I am hopeful.

My mom had her aneurysm almost 2 months ago and she is still in the in patient rehab facility. We are having the same trouble with her memory and she talks about the most random stuff. She does't know what happened to her even though she has been told many times and a little folder was created for her to read and look at. One day she says she fell off a horse at a dude ranch and today she said that she was tossed around all over the ground. If we ask her if she ate breakfast, she will say yes or no but if we ask her what she had for breakfast she tries so hard to think and then has the most oddball answers. She had wet soup with tommy feathers for breakfast one day last week!

She is actually doing really well physically and she is eating regular food on her own and she can tell time and read and go to the bathroom but she also thinks she can drive and that we have been visting someone else at her center. They told us today that she may come home in 2 weeks or may still need a more intensive rehab facility. My dad is worried about her coming home because we are not sure if she knows what to do, even though she can do things. We are going to have to "mom proof" the house. We are thinking of putting alarms on the doors so if she opens one at night my dad will wake up and we will also have to block the stairs and put the scissors and knives away and that kind of thing.

She has always been very independent and done things for herself and since her long term memory is perfect, she still thinks she can do all those things and doesn't remember or doesn't realize that something has happened to her. She is unaware of her limitations.

I think an insurance agent should spend some time with your husband before they decide if he should go home or not! Even though my mom is doing well physically, I am not comfortable with her coming home just yet and my dad definitely does not need the stress of being her 24 hour caregiver. Hopefully, the next 2 weeks will tell us a lot more.

I wish you all the best with your husband. Make sure you voice your opinions and concerns about him coming home. One of the things my mom's rehab team said today is that if my dad doesn't feel like he is ready to handle it, she would not come home yet.

Take care,


Thank you for your reply. I hope your Mom’s mind clears soon so she can safely come home. At this point, Though is mind of often confused, Allen is VERY aware of his limitations, though he still wants to try to get out of bed rather than be hoyer-lifted out to a chair, but he knows he is too weak. I am incredibly concerned that I won’t be able to physically care for him if he’s not walking or at least transferring to a chair. He cannot toilet himself yet, though his sensations and realizations of it are getting more clear so I am hoping it won’t be too long for that. Mostly, he needs to be able to get there… again the walking. It is definitely a push/pull in knowing what is best, but I’m going to continue to opt for some in-facility care until he can walk/transfer and toilet because of his size and my weakness. Blessings on your mom’s recovery, you and your family.

Hi Linda,

I have not dealt with the confabulating stories with a loved one but I have worked with patients in the physical therapy setting where confabulation is common among brain injury. I have had clients who have confabulated many false stories about the care they were receiving and what the nursing staff was saying about this particular patient. He would make up very rude comments and remarks that he claimed the nurses were making. When confronting the nurses about the situation, they never made those statements. This was very close to the time of his injury.

I will say I am currently working with the patients who used to confabulate these stories and no longer does. He is actually a pleasant person to be around. Now as you know, every person with a brain anneurysm/injury is not the same and may not present the same. My suggestion would be to ignore the confabulations and redirect his attention to something positive, something you both can relate to, show him a picture and have him tell you a story about it. I hope this helps.

As for you, you keep doing the best you can! :)

My mothers was 6 months ago. She hasand still is experiencing some of the same things as your husband. She has been in and out of several facilities. She is in a neurorecovery center now and does seem to be getting a little better with therapy and the discontinuing of several meds. She has had several uti until FINALLY someone told us why :confused:
it has been very slow with many setbacks, but I do feel she is improving. Two nooks you should get: Stroke and the Family and Brain Heal Thyself. Madonna Siles wrote the 2nd book and it helped me to cope.

Books, not nooks :slight_smile: