Going Home after Bleeding in the Brain
This handout is for those who have had bleeding inside the brain. This is often referred to as an intracerebral hemorrhage. This is usually because of a problem with the blood vessels inside the brain. You may hear this referred to as an intraparenchymal hemorrhage or an intraventricular hemorrhage. An intraventricular hemorrhage means that blood is present within the ventricals of the brain.
Questions about my bleed
When to call 911
- Sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm or leg. This is often on one side of the body only.
- Sudden trouble seeing. This could occur in one or both eyes or involve double vision.
- Sudden confusion or trouble speaking clearly or understanding simple statements.
- Sudden trouble walking. This can include dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause. “The worst headache of your life.”
When to Call Your Doctor
It is a good idea to go over this list with loved ones who are living with you in case they notice any of these changes.
- Increased sleepiness
- Changes in behavior or changes in mood
- Continued nausea or vomiting
Showering and Bathing
It is safe to shower when you feel strong enough. It is always a good idea to let someone know when you are taking a shower so they can be available if you need help.
Driving and Travel
Do not drive if you are taking prescription pain pills as they can make you sleepy and make it unsafe for you to drive. Talk with your doctor about when it would be safe to start driving again.
Avoid flying for 2-4 weeks. The pressure caused by flying can damage the areas of your brain that are healing from the bleed, causing more bleeding. If you plan air travel within 6 weeks, you should discuss it with your doctor first.
You and your doctor will discuss when you are ready to return to work. Most people are quite tired and need six weeks to recover and have enough energy for work. You may need a longer or shorter time based on how you are feeling and the type of job you do.
Activities and Hobbies
How much you do depends on your level of comfort and fatigue. Guide your actions by how your body feels. Take breaks when needed. Be aware of the risks that headaches, fatigue, and memory loss can have on certain activities.
In general, limit your activity to walking for the first 6 weeks. This is the best way to gain your strength back, while keeping your head safe. If you have questions about when it is safe to start an exercise routine, ask your doctor.
Until seen by your doctor at your clinic visit, you should avoid heavy lifting and bending at the waist. Keep in mind you should not lift over 10 pounds. If you have young children, you may need to gently remind them that it is not safe for you to pick them up for a few weeks.
Also, try to avoid bending at the waist to pick something up. Instead, bend your knees before lifting. This helps to protect your brain at the site of the bleeding by decreasing the pressure inside your head. These tips should also help to reduce headaches, which are common.
Do not use heavy or high speed machinery, such as lawn mowers and snow blowers until cleared by your doctor.
You can go back to the diet you were on before you were hospitalized, unless your doctor has told you to change your diet.
To help prevent and treat constipation that can be caused by medicines given to treat pain and prevent seizures, make sure to eat foods high in fiber. Fiber is found in many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is a good idea to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and a total of 25-35 grams of fiber per day.
Drinking plenty of fluids, unless your doctor has told you not to, can also help prevent constipation.
Your headache should improve slowly. As your pain improves, you will need to decrease the amount of narcotic pain medicines you take. This will help with constipation too. Instead, try plain Tylenol® or Extra Strength Tylenol®.
If you have any questions or concerns once you are home, you can call the neurosurgery clinic at (608) 263-7502.
After hours or on the weekends, this phone number will reach the paging operator. Please ask for the neurosurgery resident on-call. Give your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 09/17/2012
Copyright © 09/13/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6197
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