Based on the number of visitors reading my Post on Behavioral Changes it seems to me that this is one area where people are keen to know more. I can understand that because I fumbled through the process all because I did not fully understand what I was contending with.
It was quite natural to treat your spouse after a stroke and had been discharged from the hospital just like before! She looked physically fine except for the spasticity on the affected limbs. However slowly it dawned on me that a stroke survivor is different from a physically impaired person in the sense that a stroke survivor suffers from brain damage!
Any damage to the brain however small still causes a lot of dysfunction in terms of the thinking process, processing words and understanding. Initially my wife told me things that she didn’t mean to say! For example she wanted bread but what came out from her mouth was noodles! When I brought her noodles she said she told me to get bread! I was flabbergasted by such things and initially get rather stressed out because of the frequent out-burst of anger from her apart from doing double work.
I did not understand this aspect of brain damaged and we had quite a few tiffs in the initial stage. As I read more and understood what was happening, I began to have compassion and understand her frustrations too! She could not help it either! The caregiver, as the person with a good brain intact is expected to empathize with the stroke survivor and with understanding comes the ability to handle and brush-off ‘unfair accusations’ and not allowing yourself to get angry, thus making caregiving less stressful and more meaningful.
I hope that sharing our experience in this area of ‘Behavioral Change’ can help other family members and caregivers to sail through the recovery process with less stress and better understanding, hence compassion for the stroke survivor. As you see the slow improvements, that is the reward for all caregivers and make all the aches and pains worthwhile.
In the days ahead, I will put up posts on this issue with personal experience and less of a technical treatise on the subject and hope that others who are going through similar experience can benefit from the sharing. Please leave your comments, positive or otherwise, so that we can learn together and enjoy mutual benefits. Thank-you!