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How to deal with change in personality after hubby's aneurysm?


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Hello everyone.

My SO/hubby had an aneurysm in 2007, it leaked and then, during surgery it burst. Physically he came out fine but his personality changed. When I met him, a year before his aneurysm, he was a very high energy person, always doing something, trying to solve problems...just very energetic and full of life. After his aneurysm he became kind of "dull", if that is the right word. He doesn't want to do much, he has problems focusing and keeping focused at work as well. Short term memory problems too. Age is probably not helping much (he is 62 now), but is physically in excellent health (we both are kind of healthnuts, lol).

I just find I am having a hard time with him being so unmotivated. I am the one who has to constantly ask...is that done, could you do that....and it grates on me. It is almost like having a teenager all over again. He is 90 % good with me asking him, he goes and does it right away. But for me, it still feels like I am kind of his mother not his wife.

How are others dealing with this? Any ideas how he could improve his memory and energy level? As I said, we eat exceptionally well, we exercise, we don't have much stress (besides not much work because of the economy) but all over, I would say our stress level is low.

Thanks in advance.

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My memory isn't what it was and I am only 33 so try to be understanding he is old aswell which won't help is memory at all. Sorry I cannot be of anymore help I am sure that someone will be along to help.

However you could get him a ds with the game brain training that may help him it helped me. Jess.xxx

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After the event, I am WAY more slow and tiered all the time. Then there's fatigue on top and sometimes drowsiness kicks in. They are all different I find, but related. I'm grateful to my husband for taking on the caregiver's role and then at other times, he's still my husband...so I'm sure it gets confusing, but sometimes I really need that reminder or to just have a quiet time before dinner that I never used to need. I think the trick is to talk about it together and get a strategy that works for both of you. Give him a reminder in a way that doesn't put too much of a burden on your feelings as well. I KNOW that my memory and activity level aren't what they used to be...does your hubby? If so, then you'll have a very easy time discussing it and coming up with a plan. If he doesn't, that's a whole other ball-o-wax.

Hope this helps.

~Kris

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Hi Mountain and welcome! :-D

I had a smaller bleed at 38 years of age and then the full Monty at 42 in 2005. The second bleed left me much worse off, but I feel that I'm lucky to have survived both and can live a half decent life, but I'm not able to function the same as I once did and I haven't returned to work. There's a huge percentage of people that don't survive a SAH and there are many that have severe disabilities.

A SAH is completely life changing, both physically and mentally. Life is definitely not the same as when I was "normal". I don't think that it can ever be the same, if you experience this. One minute you're walking about absolutely fine and the next minute, you're lying in a hospital bed and realising that life dangles on a very fine thread and you feel completely stripped of a life that used to feel quite safe and secure. Many of us suffer from depression (common after a brain injury) and also acute anxiety.

Fatigue is a huge problem for most us and even though your Husband used to be energetic, it's a well known fact that somebody that has had a SAH, will suffer greatly from a loss of energy and will experience fatigue at points. Loss of motivation is common, especially when the fatigue hits. It's perhaps worth your Husband going to see his GP and having some blood tests, as there could be other reasons as to why he is tired. It's worth ruling out other causes that may be hindering him.

I think that your Husband is doing pretty well at 62 and still working after the SAH. Cognitive problems are something that most of us suffer from, so he's not at all unusual in that respect. You may well have to prompt him to carry out tasks ... it's the same for me ... I still have to write lists to what I have to do on a daily basis and also use Post-It notes on the fridge for reminders. Short term memory is a problem for most of us on here.

Did you get any after care advice from the hospital as to what to expect post SAH? xx

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Thank you all for posting, it is really helpful.

Problem is, we have tried making lists....they are on his desk where he spends a lot of time, but he doesn't look at them. And to me it doesn't look like he gets very tired, he is just extremly unmotivated to do what needs to be done.

There are also problems of physical closeness, he hardly ever initiates sex anymore.

And we do play games which should help his memory.

He had an evaluation done about a year after the aneurysm and was told, that his cognitive abilities are still there.

Any more ideas?

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As someone who was very VERY high energy and now is pretty sedentary due to my SAH (which happened in January of this year) I can tell you that I look fine. I might not look tired, but the effort it takes to initiate something can literally "hurt". I know that sounds odd, and to me it is odd. I go between accepting it and being angry with myself that I know I need to do A, B, and C and I have the time to do it, but I'm not doing it. The fact is, when I try to force myself into an action that isn't laid out before me, I don't do a good job because my brain cannot actually wrap around it. I'm very intelligent; an IT teacher who can explain to my high school students how to subnet a network and get them ALL to understand it...but at the same time I can sit and look at the kitchen not able to make a decision about lunch. The difference is, my curriculum is written (I wrote it myself and have taught this subject for years) and the PowerPoint is right there and it spawns me to action...to give the lecture in a clear way. I am going to be tired afterwards, but I don't have to bring up the energy to get started because I've laid out my curriculum very clearly. (Thank God! I happened to have had a long term illness in 2003 that took me out of the classroom, and since then I have been very clear on my curriculum 'just in case' I can't teach for awhile.)

But lunch...too many decisions, and it's a real challenge to put those things in order.

Same in the bedroom department. I want to initiate, but honestly it's that "getting started" thing again.

There are times when I am clear and I can get SO much done...it's amazing. Unfortunately those times are few and far between. This makes it challenging as a teacher and a small business owner.

Not a help, just an explanation. I would say that he is what and who he is right now and you can either fight against that and be irritated, or just accept it and move forward as a couple. Nothing wrong with being frustrated, but unfortunately it won't change his behavior. Sickness and Health sometimes is challenging, isn't it?

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How can I word this so that when it's put out there on the Internet but isn't totally embarrassing? :oops::lol:

Talking about the 'bedroom'.

Generally speaking, after a SAH spontaneity tends to fall by the wayside. I have to plan everything in order to ensure I have enough energy to get through the day. And everyone here knows I still don't manage very well, I still don't have enough energy. But the idea is to plan so there are no surprises which only creates extra drain for the brain. I plan meals for the next few days and shop ahead so I'm not figuring it out on work days. I plan activities on days off that include rest time and quiet time between noisy assaults (stores or cinema). My husband used to say I didn't leave time for him. I realized I needed to plan for that too. So there isn't much spontaneity because I'm saving energy for those days and therefore having to plan ahead. My husband doesn't mind, it's either that or nothing happens!

Wondering if your hubby needs to be more involved in the planning of how your days and weeks are scheduled? I'm no expert, this just seems to be working for us. :shocked:

Now.... If I only I could figure out how to get through a work week without crashing! :-D

Sandi K.

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Thanks again for explaining to me how he might feel. He doesn't really talk about how he feels but I know he is frustrated a lot of times. It will be easier for me to not get frustrated now, since I understand better how he feels.

If I suggest an activity, be it biking, hiking or kayaking ...he is all for it right away, no problem. But he hardly suggests anything on his own, I guess that is where the problems with .....getting started ......comes in. Same goes for sex;-)

And Sandi K, we live in the same city!!!

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Hello

A warm welcome to BTG and, by the way, I love your user name!

Your husband may have cognitive problems. Such problems can often be hidden in the sense that a person may have no physical deficits as such and may even seem ‘fit and healthy;’ but the way the person thinks has altered; causing much confusion to those around the individual and it is something which changes relationship dynamics. It must be very difficult for family members and us survivors need to take that on board sometimes!

The process of initiating tasks is part of cognition and can be a common problem amongst people with brain injuries. In the two and a bit years since my SAH, I have initiated very few tasks. The majority of my routines and progress is organised by my partner and parents who work together as my ‘team.’ It’s a big difference in my personality and is in sharp contrast to the highly motivated and independent person I was.

My inability to initiate tasks does not mean that I am lazy and it does not mean that I do not want to progress, nor that I am not interested in doing something; but the ability to start and organise something overwhelms me. I am far better in following another’s lead and working towards set goals. I would not be able to do this without support.

I do not think that there is a fast cure for improving initiation, although I am getting marginally better, but progress is slow. I am not trying to get back to the person I was and my family are not awaiting that event either. I would feel much pressure if that was the case and I think it would inhibit further progress.

Counselling has helped. I know that you are not from the UK, but we have Headway here, a charity for adults with brain injuries. Here is a link which has some detail about apathy and poor motivation.

http://www.headway.org.uk/Emotional-and-Behavioural.aspx

Counselling perhaps needs to be a family engagement. My partner accompanies me on my visits to a Neuro Psychologist and as such he understands precisely the nuances in my personality and how to encourage me forwards. Likewise my parents have read a lot about ‘brain injuries’ and have even attended seminars on the subject.

I think that if a family understands the reasons for the survivor’s behavious, they can better relate to it. Behaviours which I could be accused of are ‘unmotivated, quiet, apathetic, anti-social, withdrawn and entrenched.’ But that would not be a proper analysis of the situation. My psychologist doesn’t call me those things. Instead he offers explanations as to why I am behaving like that and offers ways of coping differently.

If you google ‘brain injuries’ and ‘lack of motivation’ and ‘lack of initiation’ you will find a wealth of information; but I also think that counselling is a good way to improve, or at the very least, understand, the situation.

Best of luck and I hope you find some approaches which work well for the both of you.

Lynne xx

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I used to be very good at problem solving but now after sah, my brain just doesn't work that way. I try to apply my brain to the task at hand and it just comes up blank. It's really hard to explain what this is like. Sometimes if I go away and do something else the solution will present itself, but this is rare. I find it really frustrating. I also don't really come up with ideas for things to do because my brain no longer has ideas in that way. There are days when I sit here for hours trying to think of something to occupy my time and then before i know it my partner is back from work and I've achieve nothing. Also, I can no longer 'browse' in shops. I have to have a clear reason for being in a shop and I go in, find the thing I need, buy it and leave. I too look completely fine. Brain fatigue is not like normal tiredness at all and it's not possible to push through it like you can with physical tiredness.

As for lists, I often make them and then completely forget doing so. I can take a shopping list out with me and still forget to buy half the stuff on the list. Focussing on any task is something I've had to build up gradually. I couldn't read when I left hospital and my GP told me to try a little each day and that it would eventually come back. Now I can read a book in 2 days like I could before. I couldn't walk any distance when I left hospital but now I can walk for miles. I hadn't realised until very recently that as much as anything this is because I'd been laid up for 3 weeks solid and my muscles had wasted somewhat. It sounds obvious now, but at the time I thought it was because of the bleed and didn't realise I needed to build muscle again.

I hope things improve for you both very soon,

Dawn x

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Hi warm welcome to the site glad you found us.

Think the others have answered pretty well but pick up on:

He doesn't really talk about how he feels but I know he is frustrated a lot of times.
Maybe you should talk about whats happened find out how he feels, maybe try councelling I know lots of people have gone down this road and it has helped...Im sure he dosnt mean to be the way he is now, the SAH has changed that.

take care

Edited by Karen
Corrected coding used for Quote
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Perhaps your hubby doesn't want to burden you Mountain ??? so he leaves decisions up to you??...

My husband told me I looked like a little schoolgirl who was scared and tears running down face...(and I am over the hill..lol)

Both you and hubby have been through a lot.... You who couldn't help hubby and feel helpless...and hubby (no fault of his own ) had this traumatic brain injury ....Together you can both get thru it....it was horrid for my daughter and hubby to see me out of it and you must have felt the same....give him time he will come back to you ...

We all need help at sometimes in our life...take him for a decaff coffee it gets you out also..

Without my Family I would not be here now that includes Sisters and brothers...we sang songs we harmonised etc etc not that

I remember......Try and sing songs with hubby it does help, trust me !!!..helps memory also so Good luck to you n Hubby and he

will get better so will your life together x

all the best

WinB143

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I am a lucky one Louise ,that my family all rallied round me... I guess it is because I am the youngest of 10 lol....3 brothers are passed on now...

I should still thank my lucky stars and my Family for being good to there Sister..Me, Winnie the Poo or Poo poo as

my older brothers called me....I will be extra nice to hubby n daughter ~ thanks for reminder Louise xx

We take too much for granted in life....keep well xx

Love

WinB143 xx

Edited by Winb143
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My daughter is only child as I had bad time ... okay I was a coward...it hurt lol....now I wish I had more ....years later I have regrets....

Too Late Win....lol much much too late

Speak again Louise xx Blood test tomorrow fasting one so going to bed early in case I eat lol

laters xx

WinB143 xx cheer up xx

Edited by Winb143
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Thx everyone who responded. I did some more research, thanks to the links provided, and things are a lot clearer for me now. I asked him to read all your responses and tell me, if that is how he feels like and....yes, that is how he feels.

This is helping me so much to be more patient, knowing it isn't him being unmotivated, it is due to his braininjury.

Good luck to everyone here and hoping that everyone will have the best possible recovery!

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Hey Mountain

so glad you've realized that its the brain thats doing it, you're understanding him a lot more, & maybe he'll understand too, all we need is to be told where we're going wrong....

hope to hear more from you, take care

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Hi,

I had my SAH in September 2010. I too suffer rgreatly from fatigue. I played professional football on leaving school and played semi -pro until I was 38. I was still playing six a side until the day before my SAH at 55. I can't play any more but I can walk and talk, I can go shopping etc. Recovery is a tough road to follow but you can get there with help and support. If your man is a confident type and so forth, probably his confidence has taken a heck of a knock and it needs coaxing back. Sometimes doing things together is great, but maybe starting something together and then retreating, without him realising it, to let him finish the task on his own so that he can see for himself that he can still do it would be helpful.

As for the bedroom department, well as his confidence returns, then so, maybe, will the morning glory!

Hope you are both well.

Good luck

Macca

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Hello Mountain

I totally understand how you feel, my partner had an SAH of feb this year and i am slowly learning to be with the 'new' Chris. its only very early in his recovery but he too is a bit of a dif person right now. I understand now that it is his injury and not him that has caused this change. my partner suffered his bleed on the right frontal lobe and is now left with a condition called executive dysfunction. Now i know what this is i have researched and can now understand and help him in many ways. He too used to be a very fit guy always out on his bike, doing DIY round the house or spent time gardening, now all those things are of no interest ( except the bike riding where we have had many standoffs about it, as chris still has a bone flap and needs his skull repaired before he can venture on that again). Chris seems very flat in personality and also very childlike in many ways. i just try to stay chilled even tho I have had my moments where i felt like i was really losing my marbles. It sounds like you are doing your very best hun and you are only human and as every one says, its a long road and everyone recovers at dif paces. as for the bedroom dept..giggles..my partner is the opposite and a lil demanding at times! but i still stay chilled because i am not always in the mood, its hard to be a carer and a lover to the same person without a few issues. I wish you all the best hun and chin up :) hugs x

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As someone who was very VERY high energy and now is pretty sedentary due to my SAH (which happened in January of this year) I can tell you that I look fine. I might not look tired, but the effort it takes to initiate something can literally "hurt". I know that sounds odd, and to me it is odd. I go between accepting it and being angry with myself that I know I need to do A, B, and C and I have the time to do it, but I'm not doing it. The fact is, when I try to force myself into an action that isn't laid out before me, I don't do a good job because my brain cannot actually wrap around it. I'm very intelligent; an IT teacher who can explain to my high school students how to subnet a network and get them ALL to understand it...but at the same time I can sit and look at the kitchen not able to make a decision about lunch. The difference is, my curriculum is written (I wrote it myself and have taught this subject for years) and the PowerPoint is right there and it spawns me to action...to give the lecture in a clear way. I am going to be tired afterwards, but I don't have to bring up the energy to get started because I've laid out my curriculum very clearly. (Thank God! I happened to have had a long term illness in 2003 that took me out of the classroom, and since then I have been very clear on my curriculum 'just in case' I can't teach for awhile.)

But lunch...too many decisions, and it's a real challenge to put those things in order.

Same in the bedroom department. I want to initiate, but honestly it's that "getting started" thing again.

There are times when I am clear and I can get SO much done...it's amazing. Unfortunately those times are few and far between. This makes it challenging as a teacher and a small business owner.

Not a help, just an explanation. I would say that he is what and who he is right now and you can either fight against that and be irritated, or just accept it and move forward as a couple. Nothing wrong with being frustrated, but unfortunately it won't change his behavior. Sickness and Health sometimes is challenging, isn't it?

Woah ... Teechur !

Just read your post. Crikey, this issue of just getting started is something I've been grappling with for months. I thought it was just me, and it was a lack of concentration. However, once I get started, I seem to be able to do more than I thought I could (providing I can keep the concentration going, or leastways its not going to need too much concentration for too long), but just getting out of the starting blocks, does seem to be a hurdle for me, too.

Patience seems to be the thing we are all required to have copious amounts of - whether we are the SAH "victim" or a significant other. Recovery seems to be a very, very long road. Lots of good milestones along the way, but I'm beginning to understand that you never seem to be quite as far along the road as you perhaps thought you were. And the longer it goes on, and the SAH person looks in blooming health, the more problematic it is, because people (and you yourself, on a good day) forget that you've had a very serious illness and make the allowances that are sometimes necessary. And, don't know about all of you, I really hate it when I have to remind someone, because it feels like I'm making a miserable excuse.

Mags.

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