Post Surgery Recovery for Ruptured Aneurysm

Hello All!

I would like some feedback for anyone who might feel inclined. I am trying to get a feel for my sister's recovery and whether what she is experiencing is post surgical and will improve with time or if she might have permanent cognitive impairment.

I received a call from her daughter on November 27, 2010, that she had a ruptured aneurysm and had been diagnosed with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. This diagnosis was made roughly 30 hours after onset of symptoms and being sent home a few times from the emergency department. She apparently was suffering seizures (never had them before), was feeling very confused and seemed very tired. At one point, her husband said that he had even resuscitated her because she had stopped breathing. She was life-flighted to Little Rock (from Sallisaw) after they finally performed a CT scan and diagnosed her with an aneurysm. She came to in the hospital, still confused but could speak. She underwent surgery with placement of 3 clips. She came to after recovery. Her short term memory was totally shot. She could remember some events...did not know who the president was, and really her mental clarity came and went but has never really become permanent. I would say about 2 weeks into her recovery, she was in rehab, and they noticed that she was dragging her leg and MRI revealed that she had developed pneumocephalus, which was creating pressure on her brain. Air was getting into her brain, so they went back in and did some work correcting a fractured sinus bone. Again, she came through with seemingly no neurological deficits as to movement. Her fine motor movements and motor skills seem intact. Mentally, however, she is very changed. It is like a different person that I am speaking to, or a part of her is just gone. She remembers all of us, but it seems her short-term memory is just not coming back. She is now about 5 or 6 weeks out from her last surgery. She can't use the remote or make phone calls. She is not totally incontinent, but struggles with this as well. When I call her on the phone, we can talk, but she has no idea at all what has happened to her, and if I tell her something, she forgets it 5 minutes later. She has no idea where I live or where her daughter lives....No knowledge of any current events....I guess I am wondering if anyone has experienced something similar, and if I might need to brace myself for the possibility that this condition is permanent...Could waiting so long to be diagnosed have had an impact???? I am so relieved that she survived this, and it was a miracle, but the pain of seeing her just a fraction of who she was was pretty devastating...she is my best friend and confidant, and I just feel like she is unreachable somehow...

Lara

Thanks Jim.....That gives me heart and more hope....we have been so close, and sometimes I feel that I have lost my best friend even though she is right there....I used to call her and we would talk hours about everything...current events, just everything......I am sad, too, because I know she cannot do now the things she loved to do...but I guess I have to accept that things are different now, and I just have to be there for her totally...no matter what the outcome...just be a source of love and positive energy....What I feel is really not important...It's important now to make things as good for her as possible...I will visit her at the end of March....

Sorry your sister has to go through this as it is so difficult. I had a rupture in 2003 and it took almost a year to learn how to live again. I still have a very limited short term memory but can remember things from before my rupture quite well. It is a long, difficult journey back and there is no telling how much progress anyone will make. The anti-seizure meds I was on was a contributing factor to some of my problems. As soon as I was weaned from those meds it was like the door to the world re-opened for me. I will never be the same person I was and that is so very difficult to cope with but I am also very lucky and getting better was a very long road. This might help –
How to Recover From a Ruptured Brain Aneurysm or Stroke
http://www.ehow.com/how_5302715_recover-ruptured-brain-aneurysm-stroke.html

Take it one day at a time!

Lelda,

You could be talking about my wife's experience(and mine!). My wife is 2yrs,4 months out from surgery. She too had a seizure, but during the E.R. doctor's exam. He immediately had a ct scan done, but told me he thought he knew what it was. She had to wait about 6hrs in the ER for a life flight to Gainesville,Fl (300 miles). She had no short term memory after the seizure. Every time she asked me what happened and I told her, she would gasp and say REALLY? is it bad? am I going to die?

so I know the challenges. You need to accept that you may not get back the same personality as before. But you also need to understand that NO ONE can tell you what she will get back and what she won't. I was told my wife would be unable to use her right side, would have motor problems with speech, and would have permanent damage to her left eye. She can now walk with a slower gate, she can talk, but has problems with Aphasia, short term memory, and cognitive problems. I told her from the time we could talk that we had to be patient and worked out a system. If she couldn't say the right word, she would try to describe what the word or thing did or looked like. She would say things like turn up the garbage when she meant turn up the thermostat. When wanting to tell me about something I needed to do, she wouldn't say "you need to ect." she would say Danny needs to get me a drink for example.

Long story longer, I was told that after 2 yrs, she wouldn't recover any more than she had up to that point. But they didn't know my wife, or the depth of my love and commitment to her or God' healing power. I am still noticing little improvements that are actually a big deal. My wife's personality is definitely different. She almost no affect. She doesn't cry and is aware of this. Her affect is flat, except she has a good since of humor.

Soooo, you and her family b very,very,very patient and I will try to also, and I will pray for your family andI am confident your sister wil continue to improve. She needs all the love, understanding, and patience you can give. Remember to talk slower than usual and giver plenty of time to answer. Her brain has to work harder now. God Bless

Get some flashcards…she has to keep pushing her mind to get better…I still have many Deja Ve and always forget things every day…can’t multi-task very well and can’t take simple things for granted…I used to get so frustrated and mad cus I couldn’t do any thing AND they made me quit smoking. Now, when I think to hard on complex problems I just get bad headaches…Have to be patient

Try not to worry too much. I had a ruptured brain aneurysm/SAH abt 18 mos ago. I still have awful st memory and get fatigued easily.If she goes to therapy, they'll try to help her with any deficits.

Life can change in a blink of an eye. Thank god she made it to where she is today. There will be new challanges for both of you. Try to embrace the positive and hopefully she will find her way back. If not, you will have to move forward and find a new relationship with your sister. I still think you are lucky, my best friend/sister wasn't so lucky she died from her annie and a part of me went with her.

Amen....You are right!!!!...in a way, this is a death as well...a part of her is gone, at least for now, and I can deal with that! It's just sad to see that she can no longer do the things she once loved doing...her independence is totally gone...she can't use a remote even or make a phone call...but still and all, she knows me when I call, and we can actually have a conversation....not about the things we used to talk about, but the core of her is still there, and I can still make her laugh, and she can still crack one of her sarcastic jokes....I remember the day I got the phone call...I was devastated, and yes, I am lucky to have her still....This is the card that has been dealt, and I really do need to look at the positive...You know, I am always telling my daughters to look at the wine glass as being half full...and that's exactly what I need to do....Thank you, and my heart goes out to you .....I absolutely know that your loss was devastating, and I thank you for sharing your experience to open my eyes a bit and look at this from another vantage point!!!!

Thanks for your response…My sister smoked forever…that has got to be killing her…she really enjoyed that…I will definitely get the flashcards for her…

God Bless your sister and her family...

This is at the very best ... a Long Journey...

God Speed...Colleen

I

really understand. There are times that rally just miss my wife pre-anny. I would love to be able to have a conversation like we used to, but then I get hold of myself and remember asking God to just giver back to me in a condition that she will at least know who I am. He has far exceeded that request and then I go a short guilt trip. Seems you might have a better handle on it than I at this time. I pray she will continue on her journey back to recovery without problems. Thank you for posting what I have felt for awhile.

Hi Dannie...just read your story about your wife...I too... had my surgery on my annie at Shands Hospital...Doc Lewis and Doc Firmen...

I hope and pray...your wife improves...!

Colleen

Thanks, Danny, for letting me know that I am not alone in this, in the way that I feel....and believe me, some days I have a great handle on it, and other days I am just a heap of emotion, mourning her and feeling like I have lost my best friend....It's a process I guess, and I am very thankful that I have found this site, and wonderful people like you, who let me know that I am not alone in this...and this gives me the ability to continue this journey with a greater strength and a better attitude.