NO WAY: My Mom Had A Stroke, Now What Do I Do?

When first talking to John, the social worker for the rehab floor at the Hospital, I asked him “Is there a book I can read to help me through all this?” Pointing to my hand, “That folder I gave you has some pamphlets with information regarding causes for stokes and recovery for victims,” was his response. “No, no. I mean I’m a daughter of a woman who recently had a stroke and I don’t know what to do. Like the book would be called ‘My Mom Had A Stroke, Now What Do I Do?’ You know of any books like that?” John, the social worker who I soon learned is a Mecca of social workers for rehab patients in the Chambersburg area, replied “No. I haven’t heard of anything like that.” And so, 6 years later, I decided to start this blog.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

10/08/06 - Sunday, October 8th


Mike and I went to see Mom for lunch.  She was just finishing up occupational therapy for the A.M.  She is having all three hours of her therapy every day of the week, how wonderful.  She had a great lunch and let the lunch lady know that she wanted cranberry juice for two out of her three meals.  She was trying to talk with me again and I encouraged her, mostly blank stares and noises, but she's trying like the dickens.  I'm sure she wanted to tell me something important like "That shirt is too tight and your belly is hanging out, I wouldn't go out in public with you."  She has grabbed onto my shirt twice now while I am leaning over and she looks down my shirt and laughs.

Paul and Dad went for dinner. Mom ate well then wanted to get into bed.  Paul encouraged Mom to call the nurse to get some help.  Mom buzzed the nurse and motioned to the nurse that she wanted to get into bed. Way to go Paul with the encouragement, way to go Mom for following through.

Thanks for the love and prayers,
Peggy Anne

Sunday, November 25, 2012

10/07/06 - Saturday, October 7th


We visited Mom is shifts today since visiting hours are longer on the weekends.  Dad was there around lunch time.  Mom is still unbuttoning his shirt (Yes, in front of her roommate and the nurses, she's gotten naughty). 

Paul went later on in the afternoon and had a nice visit, telling Mom stories and making her laugh.  Mike and I were there for dinner.  Mom ate heartily and pushed away the tray when she was done.  I brought her some more clothes that met her approval and some newspapers from the lake that she looked through after dinner.  She opened some more cards that made her laugh, smile and roll her eyes, thanks so much for those!  After about an hour, she patted my arm and pointed to the door.  It was like she was saying, “I’ve entertained you enough and now I'm tired, get going."  We gave her loves and kisses and left her watching TV with her delightful roommate.

Another good day where her window seemed to be open (a term the social worker used...sometimes the window is opened and sometimes it's closed, in terms of her understanding and with-it-ness).  Thanks for your good wishes and prayers...what a blessing to have so many caring people in our lives.

Peggy Anne

Sunday, November 18, 2012

10/06/06 - Friday, October 6th


 After a day of rehab, I was warned that Mom would be exhausted and probably sleeping.  When I arrived at 5:00 p.m. Mom was sitting up and eating dinner, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  After eating while watching her roommate’s T.V., she pushed her tray away and motioned for me to come closer.  I said "Hi Mom" and she said "hhhaaaaiiii".  And then smiled and laughed. WOW, first day of rehab and she must be excelling to the gifted and talented program.  She then pointed to her closet.  After a little communication glitches it became clear that she wanted to see the clothes I had brought for her.  I showed her each t-shirt and she nodded yes to them all.  The underwear, Christmas socks (she was wearing her Halloween ones today), bra, and sweaters (I took in two of the sweatshirt sweaters she makes...she inspected the stitching on both before she nodded yes) passed the test.  It was the pants that disturbed her.  I had brought in 3 pairs that were new, still had on the tags and she screwed up her face and put them to the side.  She looked over the other two pairs of pants, inspecting the tags and checking out the waistbands and rejected one and kept the other.  She is now down to two pairs of pants...I may need to take her to Wal-Mart to get some acceptable pants because I refuse to go back and forth, buying and returning pants until we find some to her liking.  :)  Just joking, I am THRILLED that she wanted to choose her own clothes to wear while she is there.  It seems like some sort of acceptance of where she is and what she needs to do, as if she figures she might as well have clothes that she wants to wear.

What a pleasant surprise that Mom was alert and with it during our visit tonight.  She leaned up and unbuttoned Dad's shirt with her left hand, the second time she has done that.  We are not sure what that is all about, but hey, it's good fine motor therapy.  Mom also enjoyed opening the cards she has gotten.  She laughed at the fun pictures and seemed to enjoy hearing me read aloud people's good wishes and greetings.  We are keeping the cards in a basket next to her bed so she can flip through them when she wants.

Many of you have expressed concern about me taking good care of myself.  I am eating, sleeping and bathing, I actually feel okay.  My husband Mike (we got married July 1st) arrived this evening and I am feeling even better (and he is happy I have been bathing).

That's all for now.  Again, thanks for all your good wishes and prayers.  Mom is one tough cookie.

Much Love,
Peggy Anne

Sunday, November 11, 2012

10/05/06 - Thursday, October 6th?


I know it is Thursday but not sure of the date...wait, there is a mini calendar attached to the lamp shade here next to the handy, it's the 5th.

Good news:  Mom was transferred to the 4th floor rehab this afternoon.  We met some of the nurses and the social worker...all delightful, light-hearted, good senses of humor, knowledgeable and supportive.  Mom is in the bed next to the window which overlooks the mountain range that you can see from Mom and Dad's house.  There are some maple trees with the leaves changing colors...I am not exaggerating when I say it looks like a peaceful postcard; quite an upgrade from the view of the air conditioning junk from her previous room.  Dad and I were taken for a tour of the facility.  A few therapy rooms (one woman was using a stick and pretending like she was rowing).  Most therapy rooms overlook the mountain view.  There is a room set up like a home, with various types of chairs and a bed and such so patients can practice home skills before leaving.  Dad asked where the quilting therapy was...the nurse said that if we wanted to add that to Mom's goals, to bring it up at the pow-wow meeting...she wasn't joking.  Overall, the facility is kick-ass (sorry to anyone who may be offended by my language...Mom blames it on the mosquito control guys I used to work Dad will scold me for ending a sentence with a preposition).  Next Wednesday we have a meeting with the team who will be working with Mom to go over their assessments, goals and short term plans.

I feel like I'm writing report card comments as I have started with the positive.  Let's just say Mom did not play well with others today.  She was very agitated for most of the morning, definitely wanting something and not

being able to communicate what she wanted.  Needless to say it was frustrating for Mom and for Dad and me.  The social worker talked with us a little bit about the confusion that Mom may be experiencing, something that

I personally have not addressed because she seems to be doing so well.  Of course, some days are going to be better than others...isn't it that way for all of us?  Mom's days are going to be filled to the brim with rehab rehab

rehab, some eating, sleeping, interspersed with more rehab rehab rehab.  The social worker (a God-send) said the first 90 days are the most important for Mom's rehabilitation, so it is going to be intensive.  Keep praying.

More people have requested an address for cards and such.  Please send them to Mom and Dad's house.  It is recommended that patients in this rehab do not receive lots of visitors and she cannot receive phone calls so cards and good wishes would be WONDERFUL to hang on her bulletin board.  If you send anything to Mom directly at the hospital, she will not receive it.

Peggy Loyd
Her Street
Her Town, Her State Her Zip

Much Love to you all, thanks for the good wishes and prayers!

Peggy Anne

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wed. Oct 4, 2006


Another progressive day for Mom.  She ate breakfast and lunch using her left hand on her own.  Mom wowed everyone when she used her left hand to write her name.  Then she used the rest of the page to practice her "e"s.  I'm wondering if I need to get my co-sped-teacher to email me some hand writing tracing sheets that we use with the kindergarteners...I'll have to ask the therapist about that one.  (Maybe she should form her own letters because everyone should be able to express themselves in their own way...but we can't leave any Mom's behind, you know).  Mom is very frustrated with communication.  She doesn't seem to like using the picture board and prefers to use gestures, which is great (we haven't received any rude gestures yet but I know she knows how to use them).  Still, she will grab our hands and look deeply into our eyes and try to telecommunicate but this mother ship isn't getting it yet.  She is making sounds when she tries to speak which

I'm told is the first steps to talking again.  Hip hip hurray!

GREAT news from rehab...they are calling today to get preapproval from her health insurance and when the Dr. okays it, she will move up to the 4th floor for intensive rehab....WOWSERS YIPPEE YEAH!  It may happen tomorrow, she is off all IV meds and is taking everything by mouth at this point. 

I am off to buy her some sweat suits and new underwear...yeah she can wear clothes up there.  I'm hoping to find t-shirts that say "One Hot Mama" in various colors.

Much Love to you all, thanks for your support and prayers.  As the mud flaps say, we will just keep on truckin'.

Peggy Anne

Sunday, October 28, 2012

10/03/06 - Laughing (at us)


Great day for Mom.  I put her glasses on her face for the first time this a.m. and she looked at me like "Well finally!"  I was holding her left hand and said "Now Mom, squeeze my hand…" to ask if she could see better but she started squeezing before I finished my question.  I said "Hold on mom, I didn't ask the question yet" and she just kept squeezing, then the left side of her mouth curved up and she started making noises...of course laughing at me for trying to get her to communicate something she was already communicating. 

We laughed for awhile about that.  She is now pointing to the food she wants on the tray and turning food away that she doesn't like (the mash potatoes suck...I'm sure she would use that word).  With assistance from the OT and PT, she sat on the edge of the bed and balanced herself a bit, stood and then sat in a chair.  After the therapists left, I gave Mom the newspaper, and there she was, sitting in the chair wearing her glasses and looking at the paper.  After awhile she fell asleep in the chair...everything is back to normal. 

Dad brought in Mom’s cat that is soft and purrs when you squeeze it; she has been petting it and such.  At least she doesn't have to clean out a litter box.  The speech therapist gave us a speech chart to use with Mom. 

The chart has pictures of basic things she may want and then a big Yes  No ?  in the middle to point to in order to answer questions.  As I was feeding her peaches for lunch, Dad whipped out the chart and asked, "Peggy, do you want more peaches?"  She rolled her eyes (progress), took the chart from him, shoved it under the table and pulled the peaches closer to her.   Then she laughed, we got a kick out of that.  After lunch, she reached for Dad's hand and pulled him closer to her.  He went to kiss her on the lips and she grabbed his baseball hat off his head.  Just then the nurse came in and we turned to look at her. When we looked back at Mom, she had the hat on her head.  She seems to be getting a little enjoyment out of this our expense but we love it.

Once Mom is medically stable (maybe later this week), she will either be moved to the 4th floor for intense physical therapy or moved to another facility for more moderate therapy.  We are pushing for the 4th floor (but not the 5th...I think that may be the psych ward and they might not let us out).  Many of you have asked about sending cards.  Feel free to send them to the house and we can take them to her.  Flowers would make mom sneeze, just letting you know.

Mom has a phone in her room, but if we are not there, it just rings and rings.  If you feel the need to call, please call the house and we can return your call when we get home.  If you have been forwarded this email and would like to be added to this list, please email me and I will put you on it.  Some people have asked about visiting.  At this point, I think Mom would enjoy receiving cards and good wishes rather than an actual visit. 

When she gets to the point that she can feed you, we'll be sure to let you know!

Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts, they seem to be working!

Much Love,
Peggy Anne

Monday, October 22, 2012

10/02/06 - Progress

Greetings All,

Mom is doing well.   A general overview:

On Saturday A.M. Mom slumped over the stove while cooking breakfast (no burns).  Dad got her to the floor and called 911.  It has been determined that she has a hardening of a blood vessel in the left side of her brain.  There is a little blood that seems to be getting through, but the blockage caused a stroke.  Her blood levels were low for clotting purposes (meaning she could have thrown a clot anytime) so she is on meds for that and for her high blood pressure.  Both of those things are stable now.
 At this point Mom is able to use her left hand and arm and move her left leg and foot, she seems to understand simple questions and commands, she will squeeze your hand in order to answer yes to things like "do you want to sit up more?".   She is able to follow some commands like comb your hair and raise your arm.  She looked at the moon outside her window last night when I pointed it out and has been watching the rainbows on the sheets from the crystal that Paul rigged up in the window.   She is also able to swallow - YEAH! - and is eating pureed foods.  What a blessing from Saturday when she was mainly unresponsive.  Mom is not able to usefully move her right arm, hand, foot or leg, and she is unable to speak.

As of today she is receiving speech, occupational and physical therapy. 

There is hope that she can regain some movement on the right side since there seems to be a small flow of blood getting by the blockage but whatever happens, it's going to be a long row to hoe.  The staff at Chambersburg Hospital is dynamite.  They are all friendly, loving, and professional, treating Mom as if she was their own mother.  What a blessing.

Dad is doing well.  He spends the day at the hospital, encouraging Mom and harassing the staff (they like him).  We are all trying to take good care of ourselves so we can help to take good care of Mom.  We all know how Mom cooks and freezes I wonder if she was preparing us for something like this.  With her, I wouldn't be surprised.  Needless to say, if we complain about eating too many hot dogs, pop tarts or ramen noodles, it's our own fault for not opening the freezer door.

Continue to keep praying and sending good thoughts Mom's way, she is making progress and that is a great thing.  I'll try to keep up the email reports, please forward this on to anyone you don't see on the list.

Much love,
Peggy Anne