Surgery for a Brain Aneurysm: Recovery at Home
An aneurysm may have affected your loved one’s body functions, skills, and emotions. He or she may move on to a skilled nursing facility, a rehabilitation center, or go home and return for therapy as an outpatient. You, too, can help him or her recover.
Regaining Strength and Skills
Depending on the site of an aneurysm, certain abilities may have been affected. This is because each part of the brain controls certain functions. With special help, many patients regain strength and some skills. A physical therapist helps strengthen muscles. An occupational therapist teaches daily skills, such as getting dressed and bathing. A speech therapist helps improve swallowing as well as speech.
Changes in Emotions
The aneurysm may have affected your loved one’s emotions. He or she may be depressed, worried, or mentally tired. These feelings should go away with time. Some patients also have trouble controlling their emotions. They have sudden mood shifts. The shifts may be out of context with what is going on. This is called lability. For instance, your loved one may cry after telling a joke. In many cases, lability lessens over time.
How You Can Help
You can help your loved one in many ways. Make sure he or she returns for all follow-up visits as requested. And check that your loved one takes all medications as directed. Be patient with mood swings, pain, or fatigue that your loved one may feel. Talk to the doctor if any sadness does not pass with time. When your loved one is ready, find ways to help him or her get back into life. You might take a daily walk together.
When to Call the Surgeon
Call the surgeon right away if you notice any of the following in your loved one:
A severe headache
Any loss of function
A high or long-lasting fever
Drainage, redness, or pain at the incision site
Fainting or falling. Either of these may signal changes in brain function.
Your loved one may have to take a number of medications to control pain, blood pressure, and other problems. It’s very important that all medications be taken as directed. Medications work best if they are taken on time.