What Is A Stroke?
A stroke can happen when there is a restriction of blood flow to the brain. Strokes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke) are terrifying episodes and most doctors say you can tell you are having one when one side of your body experiences great pain and/or numbness, and you randomly smell burning toast. There are two types of strokes. One occurs as a result of an interruption of blood flowing to the brain, and the other occurs when a blood vessel bursts or ruptures in the brain. Blood can leak into the brain and pool into one portion of the brain causing a cerebrovascular episode.
Your arteries are precious and unfortunately, the hemorrhagic leak that can create an apoplexy is difficult to prevent. When we are in high school, we learn the acronym FAST to help us identify strokes in other people. Facial droop, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call for help — these are the four elements of FAST. The reason we use this acronym is because it reminds us that when we are trying to identify signs of a stroke as it is happening, we need to move quickly to prevent the person from experiencing long-term damage.
The World Health Organization classified strokes in the 1970s as a cerebrovascular episode that was separate and distinct from other types of brain hemorrhages. Strokes typically start and finish very quickly themselves, hence the FAST acronym reminds us that time is of the essence when caring for a seizure victim in the immediate moment that the episode is taking place. The onset facial weakness is the one symptom that most of us will immediately recognize from depictions of seizures in the media.
It is key to remember that a heart attack and a stroke are not the same thing. On television and in movies, strokes and heart attacks are often depicted similarly. Someone screams, grabs their chest and then falls to the floor. Unfortunately, this does us a disservice as strokes are often more subtle and more difficult to detect than a cardiovascular episode. Therefore it is key to remember that episodes occurring in the brain are completely different from episodes occurring in the heart and thus will require drastically different approaches towards restoration and care.
How Do You Care For A Stroke Patient?
When we think about palliative support, we are thinking about a form of holistic care that is not necessarily holistic medicine. This type of care acknowledges that the person being treated does not have an illness that can be cured, as it is a chronic issue with great suffering and a strong chance at fatality. Palliative medicine is all about ensuring the best quality of life for the patient and minimizing chronic pain.
If someone you know and love has had a stroke palliative care is one of the most important ways to mitigate chronic and extended suffering in aftercare. Much of this type of care is about ensuring that the person is able to enjoy life’s smallest pleasures without experiencing incredible discomfort. The person may be grinding their teeth, experiencing great anguish while trying to negotiate the smallest act, like putting on their pants or eating their food. As a result, palliative support is integral to the healing process for many people who may never be able to go back to normal again.
Alleviating chronic pain is an important focus of the medical industry in the last few decades. Pain studies have actually changed significantly, and the history of science shows that pain has been treated differently over the centuries. Today, we are going back to the type of care we enjoyed before the advent of post-modern science, meaning that we are using said advancements to focus on the quality of life that we cared about many centuries ago. Focusing on just curing diseases and illnesses is great, but those scientists need to work in tandem with healthcare facilities that focus on allowing people to live the best lives they can enjoy given their circumstances.
We call people who have endured strokes “stroke survivors” because they have been rocked by a painful physical episode that has emotional ramifications. It is important that we focus on keeping them comfortable so they can receive relief from the constant headaches and spasms that come after having experienced a severe seizure. Sometimes, palliative care is simply about helping the survivor communicate their needs with family so that the support they enjoy at home can be better quality overall. You can always learn more about this type of aftercare online.
Sometimes, the person we are caring for simply cannot wait for a cure to be invented so they can enjoy a better quality of life. We simply have to meet them where they are and care for them as we best see fit given the circumstances of their lives. As a result, palliative care is critical for seizure survivors. There is a reason we call them survivors: they made it through to the other side. Now our job is to ensure their comfort and happiness while we still have them with us.