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Adjusting to Life After a Stroke

Adjusting to Life After a Stroke

180 Medical is well-accustomed to supplying customers with a variety of different medical diagnoses, including spina bifida, bladder retention, spinal cord injuries, as well as those who have suffered a stroke.

Types of Strokes

A stroke is the interruption of blood to the brain. Brain cells in the immediate area are then damaged and those in the surrounding areas are often affected by the reduced blood flow.

The most common type of stroke is ischemic, which is caused by a blood clot blocking an artery or vessel.

Cerebral hemorrhaging where a blood vessel ruptures can also cause a stroke. This is known as a hemorrhagic stroke.

The Effects of Suffering a Stroke

The effects from a stroke depend on the severity and the area of the brain in which the stroke occurred. Time is a very important factor in preventing long-term damage.

A stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain can affect perception, control of the left side of the body, inability to judge distances, short-term memory loss, sensory loss, impulse behavior, disorientation, facial weakness, problems grasping, an inability to perform tasks when asked (apraxia), trouble with bowel and bladder control, paralysis of the left side of the body.

A stroke in the left hemisphere can affect speech and communication, control of the right side of the body, short-term memory loss, intellectual disturbances including repetitive thought and speech, disorientation, difficulty reading, severe loss of touch sensation, burning sensation in the limbs, weakness and involuntary movements, cortical blindness, and paralysis of the right side of the body.

A stroke in the cerebellum can cause issues with coordination and balance, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, falls due to coordination issues, slurred speech, facial droop, drooling, loss of vision or blind spots.

A stroke in the brain stem can cause difficulty breathing, heart rate and blood pressure issues, complete paralysis, sensory loss, poor coordination, loss of emotional control, slurred speech, seizures, headaches, double vision, swallowing difficulties, and death.

The bladder and bowel can also be affected by a stroke, due to damage to the nerve pathways. Intermittent cathing or a foley catheter can help with these issues.

Rehabilitation After a Stroke

Life after a stroke can be a difficult adjustment. Rehabilitation therapy may help. The types of therapy offered can include:

  • Speech therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Working to strengthen motor skills again
  • Improving mobility by learning to use walking aids
  • Psychological evaluation to test your cognitive skills
  • Electric stimulation to stimulate weakened muscles

Rehabilitation case workers can help get you and your family prepared for home-care.

A stroke can change your entire life, including the way you relate to yourself and others. This topic is close to my heart, as my father suffered from a stroke in 2006. There are so many effects from strokes, and each person is different. My father, for example, suffers from many neurological side effects. He was left-handed and lost the primary use of that hand and arm. He is no longer able to drive. The left side of his body is stiff, causing him to limp and even fall.

If your relative had a stroke and they live far away, there are options that not all healthcare workers will tell you about. My father lived in Texas when he had his stroke, and I lived in Nebraska.
I was worried that if he stayed in Texas that he wouldn’t receive the best care without family present. The social worker assigned to him told me it was impossible to have him brought to Nebraska with the level of care he needed on the road without paying thousands of dollars. I promised my father I would bring him to Nebraska somehow. Upon my research, I found some charitable organizations who volunteer jets, nurses, paramedics, and pilots to transport an ill family member. One of them said yes!

Air Charity Network
Angel Flight
Northwoods Airlifeline
Corporate Angel Network
MercyMedical Airlift 
NationalStroke Association
American Stroke Association

It is important to everyone at 180 Medical to make our process as easy as possible for our patients to get their urinary catheter supplies.

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About the Author
Trish Eklund has worked as an Office Coordinator for 180 Medical for 8 years. When she is not at work, she enjoys writing, photography, reading, and spending time with her family.

(Photo by Don Shepard)