Submissions from Readers

Problems with numbers and time spans

by Mary Ann
(Lincoln, NE)

Question: My husband's stroke was five months ago. He has lost the use of his left side and is unable to swallow. I was relieved that his memory and speech were not affected. In the past couple months, however, he has had increasing difficulty with numerical memory (his age, his social security number, etc.) and other things having to do with numbers and time. Are there specific mental exercises I can do with him to regain this loss? Because he had no problem with these skills in the first few weeks after his stroke, does this mean that damage to his brain is continuing?

Answer: You can try working on exercises to see if it helps. You can try written exercises or search for computer sites or apps that may help. Since he has had a change in condition, I would have him visit a neurologist to see if he is having TIAs or small strokes or other changes in the brain. If he was fine in this area after stroke, but now five months later is having trouble, this indicates a change has occurred. Many people mistakenly assume that a symptom that shows up months or years later may be due to a previous stroke, but new symptoms like this are usually a sign that a new event is going on. This doesn't necessarily mean it's a new TIA or stroke; there could be other causes, but you should have him see a neurologist to determine what is going on.

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