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Old 03-15-2013, 10:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Brain Damage from Coma and Overdose. What now?


Hi Everyone,

So, it's been a few weeks since I last posted about my brother being in the ICU from a drug overdose. I wanted to post my update for some support and to see if anyone has been in similar circumstances.

He was in a coma for 4 days. He aspirated his own vomit when he was unconscious and they think he was oxygen deprived for up to 12 hours before he was found, but the doctors don't really know. He was in the ICU for about 10 days and then moved to an Acute Rehab Unit (neurological, physical, occupational rehab, not drug rehab) to try and get him walking, talking, problem solving etc. again.

The good news is: he is out of the hospital. He has been moved to a full time residential neurological rehabilitation center for his brain and will be there for 2 weeks at a time. He is getting wonderful care and is in a top notch facility.

The bad news is: the brain damage is really bad. At least right now. They don't know yet how far he will come along. He can't do simple arithmetic, and he has been diagnosed with Aphasia where he can't get the words out to communicate at times. His hearing loss is at 50%, he is unable to move his right hand very well because of arterial thrombosis....I could go on. It is very likely he will never be the same. He is currently unable to take care of himself. The goal is to rehabilitate his brain to the point where he will be able to live alone again. As of right now it looks like working again is out of the question, so he will likely have to go on disability.

It's all such a mess. It's all so terrible and I'm so incredibly sad. I have hope that he will be able to function again, but what kind of a life is he going to have? And none of this has anything to do with the fact that he hasn't even addressed his drug problem...will this just make it worse once he gets out? I'm so sad, so scared. My stepdad told me that my brother doesn't really understand how impaired he really is yet. To quote what he said, "He doesn't have the same spark in his eye."

I just can't believe any of this. I need help from this forum. There is nothing that I can do about any of it, just like before, but now he has brain damage. And he put himself and all of us in this position.

Blows. Really.

Last edited by steelers; 03-15-2013 at 10:32 AM. Reason: added more
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i am so very sorry for the situation you all find yourselves in now. pretty horrible repercussions from drug abuse. my thoughts are with you.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't have any words of wisdom to share. But please know you are all in my prayers.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow. This is very very sad for your brother and all of you. There, for the grace of God, go any one of us here with our addicted loved ones.

The only thing that I can gently suggest is to practice your own program of recovery.....one day at a time. It would be very easy to think about the future in a situation like this....but truly....we all only have one day at a time.

I am thankful that your dear brother is getting good care at this time. And somewhere in there.....I pray......that there is a strangely wrapped gift that simply hasn't been exposed yet.

the gentlest of hugs to you today
ke
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry - you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Steelers, your story could be mine. My ex-AH also overdosed in June 2012, was rushed to hospital and has not left hospital since.

You know, we all worry about the addicts in our life overdosing and dying. We don't tend to think about their surviving the overdose with significant physical and mental disability. Forgive me for saying this, but there are days when I think it would have been kinder had ex-AH not survived. Kinder for him - kinder for the people who love him. Because, even though we are separated, I still care very much what happens to him.

Have things gotten any better? Yes, he has regained the ability to walk (with difficulty) and his speech has returned. His biggest handicap now is dementia. Ex-AH is like an Alzheimer patient. He is restless and wanders around. Can't focus on tasks. Constantly undresses himself, not realizing he was already dressed. When he has access to a telephone, he calls people over and over again. 30-40 times a day.

I have had no contact with ex-AH (long story - some of his family members are angry at me for not being willing to take him home under my care, even though it is clear he needs nursing home care and are forbidding me from seeing him as punishment, are threatening me with legal action, etc.) but this is the feedback that I have received from his other family members still talking to me. They visit him regularly and let me know how he is doing.

What does the future hold for ex-AH? A nursing home. Probably a locked-in care setting, because of his tendency to wander. It is beyond sad what his drug addiction has done to him.

On a positive note, he is no longer abusing drugs or alcohol. But he is proof of that saying, that drug addicts will either end up in jail, in institutions or dead.

My prayers go out to you and your family. I understand your pain, I truly do.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Breaks my heart. You are in my thoughts.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A very young man way too high, thought he really could fly…he really did. He only learned that he couldn’t when he jumped.

If you fast forward many years you will find this man in a wheelchair, his speech is hard to understand at times, he has some light tremors, and twitches but all in all he is very grateful to be alive. He also found his purpose, and when he speaks to teenagers about the dangers of just simply using one time, let alone being addicted … he shows himself off as what the reality can be. When he speaks there isn’t a sound, everyone is totally focused on what he has to say. And while I know all don’t get it, some do, and that is good enough.

It will be a long hard road for your brother, but no one can really tell you what will be until a lot of time has passed. I will keep good thoughts for him.

Take good care of you!
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Wow Inciting, your post gave me the goose bumps. Thank you for such a great post.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I am so sorry there is so much damage and pray your brother will be able to heal. It is amazing the power of recovery that our bodies have, it is also amazing how much we can learn to adapt when our functions don't work.

I will keep your brother in my prayers, and also you and your family. Addiction brings so much sadness to addicts and loved ones both.

Hugs
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I am so sorry you are going through this. I agree so much with Ann's post above. We don't know what the future holds so I at times like this it's important to just know anything is possible.

Peace and prayers for your family,
Hanna
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:34 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hi,

currently going through the same situation with my nephew. Came across your post. Do you have an update?
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Old 09-17-2016, 08:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry Desperate Aunt, that you are going through this too with your nephew. Unfortunately, the original poster has not posted since 2013, so I don't think she will be here to update. You may want to start a thread of your own with your story, so you can receive support from our wonderful members.
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Welcome Desperate Aunt - I know you'll find support here

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Old 04-01-2017, 05:36 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Steelers, I am going through The EXACT same thing right now! Dont know what to do

4 days ago i got a call that my brother was in the hospital on life support. after coming down to Tucson AZ, I found out that it was a heroin overdose. The doctors are telling me that there is NO hope for him. they said that when the emt showed up there was no heartbeat and it took 10 minutes of cpr to recover one. They have no idea how long he had been without oxygen. The brain scans show a very small amount of brain activity. They have brought in the organ donor team to talk to me and my family. which I was going with until i started reading more about whether it was possible for him to make a recovery. I know my brother would not want to live in a vegetative state. but if he was able to live (even if it was disabled) Then i DO NOT WANT to take him off of support. i noticed your post was from years ago... can u give me an update
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Old 04-01-2017, 06:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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empathy, compassion and support to you both
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Old 04-01-2017, 07:09 PM   #17 (permalink)
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mntngrace, welcome to SR.

I'm so sorry that you're going through this with your brother. Deciding to continue life support is such a difficult decision.

You may want to create a thread of your own, especially because steelers hasn't posted anything here since 2013. By creating a thread of your own, you can get the individual attention you need and deserve.

I'll be praying for you and your family.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Update - my husband passed Aug. 2018

Quote:
Originally Posted by anond View Post
Steelers, your story could be mine. My ex-AH also overdosed in June 2012, was rushed to hospital and has not left hospital since.

You know, we all worry about the addicts in our life overdosing and dying. We don't tend to think about their surviving the overdose with significant physical and mental disability. Forgive me for saying this, but there are days when I think it would have been kinder had ex-AH not survived. Kinder for him - kinder for the people who love him. Because, even though we are separated, I still care very much what happens to him.

Have things gotten any better? Yes, he has regained the ability to walk (with difficulty) and his speech has returned. His biggest handicap now is dementia. Ex-AH is like an Alzheimer patient. He is restless and wanders around. Can't focus on tasks. Constantly undresses himself, not realizing he was already dressed. When he has access to a telephone, he calls people over and over again. 30-40 times a day.

I have had no contact with ex-AH (long story - some of his family members are angry at me for not being willing to take him home under my care, even though it is clear he needs nursing home care and are forbidding me from seeing him as punishment, are threatening me with legal action, etc.) but this is the feedback that I have received from his other family members still talking to me. They visit him regularly and let me know how he is doing.

What does the future hold for ex-AH? A nursing home. Probably a locked-in care setting, because of his tendency to wander. It is beyond sad what his drug addiction has done to him.

On a positive note, he is no longer abusing drugs or alcohol. But he is proof of that saying, that drug addicts will either end up in jail, in institutions or dead.

My prayers go out to you and your family. I understand your pain, I truly do.
It has been many years since I wrote this post. So much has happened since then. A very long story. The short version is that my husband never did get out of the nursing home. His condition continued to deteriorate and at the end, he was totally bedridden. He passed peacefully and his long, long struggle with addiction and all that it causes was over.

To the families coming here - you are in a good place. Everyone here understands and you will find much needed support.

Although my life is now very peaceful and without all the drama I lived through during my marriage and even after we separated.... I miss him terribly. He was a good man with a big problem that he couldn't overcome.

Wishing you all only good things.

anond
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:04 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry for your loss Anond.
Thank you so much for thinking of us and updating us tho.

D
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:49 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I am very sorry for your loss. Its all very tragic. Wishing you peace.
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