Brain Aneurysm Support Community

Short Term Memory Loss In Texas

My husband had surgery May 9th, 2019. He has completely lost his short term memory. He doesn’t remember he had surgery or that he is still in the hospital and it’s June 6th, 2019 . The surgeon said he would have no facial expressions for a few weeks but nothing about memory loss. He was only suppose to be in ICU for one it ended up being 3 days and he still had a hard time staying awake. His head was laying to the right side of his body but after 3 weeks of therapy he can now hold it up straight. We haven’t seen the surgeon but one time since his surgery he was turned over to what the call the floor Doctor. Is this normal with the memory loss? The only thing I get from the Doctor is everyone recovers differently and it will take time for him to recover. Thanks for help or suggestions you may have. 2019-06-06T05:00:00Z[quote=“Penny1, post:1, topic:2712, full:true”]
Good morning,
I have been following your posts with great admiration!! I had surgery two months ago on an unruptured aneurysm that had imbedded itself in my left optic nerve. I still have short term memory - very short term and must carry around my memory book at all times as I forget medication, eating, etc. they tell me this will improve - I am now skeptical. Your thoughts and comments please. Thank you!!! Penny

JRivers, I hope others come and offer their experience for those unruptured aneurysms that seem to cause issues when fixed.

Is your husband in a teaching hospital? It is not uncommon for the Floor or Unit MD to take over daily care issues. It sounds like there’s no need for the ICU and has been put in a step,down unit? The surgeon should be checking in, might be via phone calls or he’s checking on the portal. If the surgeon isn’t coming around, track him down. The surgeon needs to tell you how the procedure went. You should know if the aneurysm ruptured while he was stabilizing it, if your husband had an ischemic stroke during the procedure, if there were any type of complications…something happened and you have the right to know.

That being said, we tend to forget or not be told all the risks of procedures. You could start with the RN and floor doctor asking what happened during the procedure, but the surgeon is the one who will know. The others would just have it passed through the shift change reports. If you can access his patient portal, it may be in there.

Yes my husband is in a teaching hospital. I have not seen or heard from he surgeon since 2 days after the surgery. My husband is now on the rehab floor. They have him walking again but he is very unsteady and has to have someone with him. He has a sitter with him every night since he has been in the hospital. The surgeon told me everything went fine he just had to use 3 clips instead of two. After the surgery it took 3 full days for him to be fully awake. His head was laying to the right side of his body but he can hold it up now. I’m kinda all over the place writing this but I believe something went wrong and the doctor isn’t saying anything. They have written on the board in his room that he is impulsive. He tries to get out of bed all the time. He isn’t the type of person to be sitting around in bed. He has always been very active no in sports or exercise but he is always doing something. The keep changing his sleeping medication because he doesn’t sleep all night. He is drinking alot of water because his sodium is too high and he wasn’t to get up and go to the restroom. They want him to use the urinal but he wants to use the bathroom. He will be sitting there and start to get up and I ask where you going? He will say I need to go check on these skews, that was something he did when he was working or I need to go gather up the pigs we don’t have pigs. His mind is all over the place. Today I get a call from a psychiatrist office saying he has been referred to them. So I don’t know if he really needs one he was fine until this surgery but I’m willing to try anything.

The brain heals. The first month is no prediction of future performance. I also wanted to get out of bed all the time, was assigned a sitter, and my short term memory was very poor. I had cognitive issues as well. After surgery, I was angry my husband had flown me to China, but I thought that only because the nurses and doctors that day were all Asian! But I returned to work as a Scientific Director and regained short term memory (but not so much memory of the year following surgery). It is inexcusable no one in a teaching hospital is talking with you. Call the Patient Advocate to investigate or write a letter to the Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery.

Thank you for for your story I appreciate any advice but my husbands surgeon is the Chairman of the department. I know its only been a month but we were not told this could happen it was just a big shock. He talked like it was 6 days in the hospital and go home have bad headache for two weeks and take it easy for 6 weeks. He said nothing about any kind of memory loss. Finding out tomorrow if insurance will approve skilled nursing facility tomorrow. They have denied 2 other facilities. Hoping for the best prepared for the worst.

Good luck! I hope the insurance will pay for his care. The surgeon should not have given you only the best case scenario. Informed consent means you know the risks and are agreeing with the treatment despite those risks. It might help your peace of mind to arrange for a surgeon at another hospital to review the surgical report and discuss it with you. I hope tomorrow is a better day!

Your husband’s condition and reactions sound very much like my wife’s. She was in the Critical Care Unit for 16 days and in Neuro recovery 2 weeks before going to an acute hospital for 3 weeks. She was impulsive also just like your husband, and they said it was expected because of where the aneurysm was. She tried to get out of bed to use the bathroom without realizing that she couldn’t even walk. But it did get better. It may just be that he needs time. All those symptoms went away eventually. Ask your doctor questions when you can, but be patient. It can take a long time. It’s encouraging that your husband can lift his head now. My wife was always preparing for a Christmas event. It was Christmas time, but the event she was preparing for had never happened before!

I am very happy that your wife got better. It gives me hope that my husband too will recover from this. Every time I ask this doctor questions about my husbands condition and recovery all he will ever say is it takes time and each person recovers differently. I guess it’s the text book answer. His surgeon doesn’t come and check on him I was told by the doctor today unless there was complications during surgery. I told him something must have happened because this is not the outcome he told us would happen. He said he doesn’t know about that. But hearing your wife’s story makes me feel better about my husbands recovery. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond it gives me so much more hope than I had. I am picking him up from the hospital tomorrow and bringing him back to our town for a stay in a acute nursing facility for more help.

Thank you Kate3 I am going to take your advice and have another surgeon look at his medical records. My ex-daughter in-law works for one and has agreed to take a look at them. We are suppose to my husbands surgeon the 25th of June and I doubt it will be a nice visit he’s lucky he hasn’t come around.

Yes, I think they do give you the ‘text book answer,’ but I think it is also an honest answer. In my wife’s case, they said they could fix the aneurysm but they had no guarantee of what the recovery would be like. She could wake up and be fine and walk out of the hospital in a couple days, or she could eventually wake up and know no one. Once she did begin to awaken, she did gradually make progress. Eventually we would look back weeks at a time and realize that she had made substantial progress. You do what you can to help and trust your doctors and God that she will return. Be there to encourage; your relationship with him will likely be a strong help to improve.

1 Like

I guess everyone does recover differently but we should have been told about the possibilities that could happen. We are to blame about some of it because we didn’t even think of any other outcome. It’s our fault we didn’t research the recovery process. We just didn’t even think there would be any other problems than what he said. I should be thankful he’s alive and go from there. I know we have a long way to go but we will get there. My husband is my best friend and great man, we will get through this one way or another.

Some things the surgeon goes over, some the
Anesthesiologist. Sometimes it’s the day of procedure, sometimes several days before. Sometimes the Doctors don’t tell all the risk factors because statistically, many risk factors are minute. Sometimes we don’t listen to the risks due to just being concerned about any procedure.

Make a list of everything you want to ask the surgeon. If the surgeon starts talking in medical jargon, tell him you are not a surgeon and to speak plain, simple English. Question what he says. Tape record him…ok use your smart phone in voice memos. He might not allow it.

Have your daughter or someone else with you when you see the surgeon. At the very least take good notes. I hand my phone with my list of questions. The problem is when these highly educated folks don’t answer in full sentences, so I tend to get lost in where they’re at. I think next time I will not only give them my phone but have a notepad with the same exact questions so I can write their answer and clarify what I write. Some of the questions that come to mind for your husband’s surgeon - did he have an ischemic stroke, did the aneurysm rupture while you were repairing it, did he have a reaction to the contrast dye or the anesthesia …

Something else to look at is his patient portal, the surgeon would have to give detailed documentation.

Sleeping in a hospital is near impossible. There are too many things going on - the Nursing staff, other patients, machines. Once on the step down unit, some patients got in a horrible fight. Security was called.

I was labeled a fall risk and wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom in the step down unit. I could use a bedpan, not! I had to ring for someone then wait, and wait, and wait. I learned how to maneuver the obstacles they put in place and went anyhow. One RN was berating me, I asked how long he would wait to pee if he was on IV.

When I decided against doctor’s orders to walk in ICU, I stood up and couldn’t remember what to do with my feet and legs. My legs could barely support me. The doctors all told my family to have no expectations. They weren’t sure if I would wake up, remember family or anything else. They said that with the rupture there was so much damage, they were not sure. Everyone had to wait and see.

There are so many variables when it comes to brain surgery. Unfortunately, not enough is known yet about the brain. I realize it’s scary, frustrating and maddening. Hang in there!

1 Like

I will share a little of my experience. My first clipping surgery was after a rupture. Helicopter ride to distant hospital. The Dr. Clipped the ruptured one and 3 more were found on the same side and clipped a few days later. 3 were also found on the other side. The recovery from the SAH was rugged. Then five months later I want back to hospital to have the 3 on the other side clipped. I had some interesting things after that. Along with short term memory problems, I also had no sense of taste or smell. This was 14 years ago. It takes time for the brain to heal, not days or weeks, but months. My siblings were all scanned, and one sister had an unruptured aneurysm. I know she was told before the surgery of possible personality changes due to the location. My uncle also had one discovered and clipped some years ago and he was also informed of potential problems. They both had successful results, but healing took time. I’m sorry you didn’t seem to have been fully informed before the surgery, but do as others have suggested and write down all your questions for your husbands next appointment. And be as patient as you can with healing time.

I found this in the doctors report:FINDINGS:

Postoperative changes of left pterional craniotomy for anterior communicating artery aneurysm clipping. There is a persistent hyperdensity adjacent to the clip which accounting for differences in patient with angulation and technique is not appreciably
changed and may represent thrombosed residual aneurysm sac. The surrounding parenchymal hypodensity in the left anterior basal ganglia extending to the left periventricular white matter adjacent to the left frontal horn is in a distribution similar to
the prior exam and likely reflects evolving ischemic injury. There is again noted to be bilateral extensive subarachnoid hemorrhage which is more conspicuous than that seen on the prior exam, though some of this may be technical. Postoperative
extra-axial fluid and pneumocephalus are noted.

Otherwise, numerous patchy foci of hypoattenuation within the bilateral cerebral and deep white matter which are commonly seen with chronic microvascular ischemic change. Ventricles are unchanged in size.

The paranasal sinuses and mastoids are clear.

My husband still hasn’t improved any but he is now in a acute nursing home in our home town. Hopefully he will start improving soon. I want to thank everyone for their advice and personal experiences. Its helped me understand a lot more and I have a lot of question for his surgeon when we see him the 25th.

Unfortunately most of us have to learn what all that jargon means by researching the internet. Please remember to write everything down and have someone else who can take good notes or has an excellent memory. Ischemic has you probably know means blockage, so he probably already had some build up in his arteries. Deep white matter could be the corpus callosum which is basically the bridge between the left and right hemispheres

Keep in touch, we are here for you

1 Like