Unruptured aneurysm surgery, memory recovery

My father had a clip surgery for his unruptered aneurysm, 3 weeks ago. He was in the hospital for two weeks and now is back home for 1 week
His physical recovery is great, he is doing everything by himself. But his memory is not recovered yet. He keeps asking about people that have passed and he is convinced that he has seen them. We tell him they have passed and 5 minutes after he asks again where they are.
Does anyone have experience with this kind of behaviour? I would appreciate an advice on how to deal with this, should we keep reminding him they have passed, should we pretend that whatever he says its true?
Does anyone know if his memory will recover, and how long until it does?

Good Morning Monika! For me, I had a lot of cognitive difficulties right after I ruptured. Everything was exhausting and I do mean everything. My Neurosurgeon and everyone else it seemed kept giving me rules I couldn’t remember so I had to write them down. I had those post it notes everywhere and then because of a friend, I switched to a white board, then it was to my phone and looking at the calendar every morning, they all helped my memory. But perhaps the best thing for my brain to recover was staying hydrated, eating protein and rest. Our brains take the majority of the energy we feed our bodies. The W.H.O recommends 120 gms of protein for the average body last I looked but the USA recommends 90 gms which is what the dietician told me in Neuro ICU. I have to have at least 90 even to this day or my brain doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Of course, none of this addresses your Dad’s belief about seeing his deceased kin. The brain is a phenomenal thing. Depending what part has been damaged can effect our memories. Personally, I never doubt people who say they saw or talked to their deceased loved ones, I go with the flow. I’ve asked my own relatives about the conversations they’ve had with theirs. I found it to be too exhausting to argue. I have many times had a conversation and then asked my relative how old they were when an event happened. I can see a bit of confusion and then the light would come on so to speak.

We don’t know how long a brain will take to recover cognitive functions, everyone is different. Some come out of a rupture extremely well, some quickly, some not so much. ICU is exhausting, no one gets true rest as a patient with all the sounds, lights and if like me, the RN had to come in every 15 minutes, there’s more disruption. Then for some unbeknownst reason the doctors have to do morning rounds when you’re just about fully asleep. Give him at least three months for his circadian rhythms to adjust, I think it’s what it took me to learn to sleep at night. Check with his surgeon and they may be able to help or give you some insight.

Most of all, as a caretaker, you must take care of yourself first and foremost. A caretaker cannot take care of others when they are exhausted physically and emotionally. Set a few hours a day aside to enjoy something. We are here for you, please don’t forget that.

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Although I wasn’t as bad as what you are describing, my endovascular treatment for unruptured aneurysms definitely adversely affected my cognition. It took a long a long to feel close to normal (never made it all the way there). The anesthesia alone can be a major problem for some of us. Open surgery certainly has added effects. I once watched a video on youtube on the subject and craniotomy had a timeline in which you should see improvement. I will try to find it for you. Meanwhile, watch his diet. Adequate fluid intake is imperative (cannot overstate that). Above you will note the requirements for protein. Also make sure his GP runs some thorough bloodwork for any vitamin deficiencies that may hinder his recovery as well as check for UTIs. That may sound odd but it can trigger dementia episodes in the elderly (not sure how old your Dad is). The mind is outstanding, but also an enigmatic organ. Wheras great strides have been made in saving the lives of individuals with brain abnormalities, dealing with the after effects can be a challenge. What doesn’t affect one of us turns someone else’s life upside down. Challenge his mind as much as possible without causing undue stress. Lumosity and stroke books and puzzles may help prompt neuroplasticity even though his issue seems to be more memory/people based. Let him rest/sleep as much as possible so his brain can rewire and recover. I hope you get more suggestions and I’m so sorry you are all dealing with this. I’m going to try to find that video for you.

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This is the video. It deals predominantly with cognitive effects on executive function. I’m sorry to say what you are describing sounds a bit like a more advanced form of dementia, but since it seems to have been triggered by the surgery, this video may provide a little positivity that he may return to his baseline (condition before surgery) within the time period described.

As to how to respond to whether or not to correct him, that’s probably a question for a neuropsychiatrist or neuropsycholigist. It would probably depend if it causes him distress or if it sparks cognition. You want to challenge him to think without causing duress.

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I always forget about UTI’s and vitamin deficiencies. Thank you so much for the reminders!

Thank you both so much!!!
Your messages are very helpful.

The doctor has recomended for my dad (74) to take NeuroAid and this apparently will help al lot with his memory.

Does anyone have experience with these pills?

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I had never heard of it but there are lots of things I’ve yet to learn, so I had to look it up. I found this article Safety and Use of MLC601/MLC901 (NeuroAiDTM) in Primary Intracerebral Hemorrhage: A Cohort Study from the NeuroAiD Safe Treatment Registry - PubMed which seems promising to me.

When you’re doing research on the internet, read a lot. Read enough and one will begin to take notice of politics, biases, etc so please keep an open mind. There are always two sides to a coin. A lot of times I have seen western medicine practitioners think Eastern medicine practitioners are behind the times. All the medical specialists I see now, believe we need to try whatever works. Merl often reminds us there is no cookie cutter answer for patients. I really hope it helps him, fingers crossed!