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tell me about strokes :(

(83 Posts)
MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 07:44:19

MIL found at the bottom of the stairs by BIL 6am this morning. she doesnt get up early so chances she has been there some time sad and golden hour well gone. DH gone to hosp (she has gone in ambulance obv) dh in bits and has only finished chemo in Jan sad so not very resilient. wtf do we do? what to expect?

Bunbaker Mon 20-May-13 07:46:01

No advice but I hope she makes a full recovery. flowers

HadALittleFaithBaby Mon 20-May-13 07:58:53

First thing is to try not to panic (easier said than done of course) but as it stands you don't know what you're dealing with. Did the ambulance crew say they thought it was a stroke? How old is she?

I hope you're able to use this thread to post and I'm sure you'll get plenty of support - I'll certainly stick around. I really hope she makes a full recovery thanks.

Turningupsidedown Mon 20-May-13 08:02:44

Oh MrsS this was at the top of the thread and then realised it was you, so sorry sad . My DF had a stroke a month ago, from what I have learned so far, they will need to do scans and tests to find out where in the brain it has happened, what type of stroke it is, if they can see any damage and where it is. Stokes can happen in different parts of the brain and for different reasons. They will test for blood pressure and cholesterol AFAIK probably other things. My DF has been very lucky and is doing well although they are still trying to get his medication right. It will take them some time to assess how your MIL has been affected.Sorry that is all very basic, still learning about what it all means here hopefully some people with more experience will reply soon.

I am so so sorry you are going through this now as well sad Sending much love and hugs flowers

CorrieDale Mon 20-May-13 08:12:14

I had the same with my mum 3 years ago. It was the side that affected mobility rather than speech. 4 hours had elapsed when I finally got in. The stroke was catastrophic - I couldn't see how she'd ever be able to live independently again. But she made an amazing recovery - it seemed miraculous to us! Rehab is key. Once she was discharged (6 weeks in hospital) she did a conductive education course, lots of walking and keeps challenging herself with new activities (which she could do with ease pre-stroke!) she also lost half her body weight, which brought her blood pressure down to normal. Her memory is still a bit fuzzy and she can't multi-function at all. She's also quite emotional and happy clappy, which can be hard to deal with. But these are minor things.

So don't panic yet. It will be tough and I'm so sorry for you. Take it one day at a time and start nagging for physio or slt now!

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 08:26:05

she is 68. not a spring chicken but not old either.
thank you all for posting. not heard from dh yet so no wiser. just trying to get children ready for school; not telling them anything yet.
turning...cant believe another horrible parallel in pur worldssad

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 08:36:58

now worried silly. She is so lovely sad

Cyclebump Mon 20-May-13 08:53:31

Huge hugs xx

My dad had a 'catastrophic' stroke four years ago and it's an immensely frightening thing.

Dad was paralysed on his right side and had severe aphasia, he's now about 80% physically recovered, his speech has recovered (he even speaks fluent French again). His was a lucky recovery but it does happen.

Things I learned that may be of use:

His was the left side of the brain so his right side was affected. It meant he had aphasia.

Her sight may be affected too, dad could see in his right eye but couldn't process so he saw a lamp but his brain said it was a cat etc.

Aphasia means he knew what he wanted to say but it came out wrong (tea please became bobcat by the stream). This may be what they mean if they say speech is affected, we were not expecting it and it made it harder to deal with so ask if you don't understand things.

Sleep is massively important, dad still gets exhausted now.

Dad didn't really understand who we were at first but he knew we were important and our visits helped him loads. Even just sitting with him talking about what was in the newspaper was good.

Fight, fight, fight for a swallowing assessment if you think she needs or wants to eat. Dads was delayed for days and he immediately improved once his blood sugar went up.

Make sure the nurse/doctor can deal with stroke case. I had a nurse removed from dad's care rota as she was shouting at him, she thought he was deaf because he didn't respond to questions. She hadn't read his chart and he got upset and frustrated.

If your MIL cant speak initially and they don't supply a picture board bring one in. Dad was desperate to answer yes, no etc but had no way of doing it.

Don't lose hope, recovery is possible and dad is still improving now.

Sorry this is so long I just wanted to offer practical stuff, we were floored when it happened and information was key to our helping dad.


Turningupsidedown Mon 20-May-13 09:03:42

MrsS It is such a shock and the not knowing and waiting to know what is happening is terrible as you know only too well. Especially waiting at home and not knowing what is happening. Hope you find out some information very soon, it will feel less panicky when you know more. Will you go to the hospital when you have got the children to school?

I have to go to work now, but will be thinking of you very much and will check back later. flowers

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 09:17:28

cycle thank you for so much practical info.

dh sent text to say left side paralysis. she is sleeping. he just put ct so presume that means she has had a ct scan.

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 09:17:47

thanks turning smile

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 09:22:21

next dilemma...
1) what to tell children (12.9&7) they have been through so much in the last yearsad
2) what to tell my parents and when.... they are on hol in italy til weds. I dont want to spoil their hol but they'll want to know. def not doing anything til tonight.

archfiend Mon 20-May-13 09:47:29

So sorry to hear this MrsS. My DH had a stroke 6 years ago (l-hand side so his speech was affected). They will need to scan to assess whether it is a bleed or a blockage as they won't want to give clot busting drugs for a bleed. It is still very early days, as others have said push for OT and speech/swallowing assessment, expect her to be exhausted for a while - DH couldn't stay awake for long for the first few days.

I don't know where abouts you are in the UK, but hopefully there will be a specialist stroke ward at the hospital. We had access to a specialist stroke nurse who was around more often than the consultant.

It is very early days, DH has made a brilliant recovery - back at work, driving etc. his speech will never be 'normal' again, but he is able to live a totally normal life and he is now only slightly more at risk of having another stroke than someone who has never had one.

Look after yourselves flowers

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 10:01:52

Arch that is inspiration. thank you so much.
she is apparently being transferred to the neuro hospital in the city. Presumably much more specialist care there.

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 10:02:11

it is a bleed btw not clot

archfiend Mon 20-May-13 10:55:50

Glad she is being moved to somewhere she can get the best care. DH had a clot (awkward bugger - apparently bleeds more common at the age he was - 34), so I don't know much about the treatments for bleeds, but it sounds like the hospital are doing all the right things.

Will check in on you later. Please PM me if you want.

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 14:01:09

thanks again
just got back from the hospital. still waiting for a bed at the neuro centre. hmm she looks better than I expected tbh. really hope she is going to recover to a good level of ability, she is such a lovely lady. she doesnt seem very comfortable and is very wriggly, but from one pov that's good. she seems to be able to wriggle her left leg a little so hope that means she will be able to walk on it sometime during recovery. I know it will be (another) long haul but we can do that if we can find the energy from somewhere she hasn't lost her speech thankfully. It is minimal and slurred but it's there.
Am I getting too optimistic?

HadALittleFaithBaby Mon 20-May-13 16:40:09

It sounds as positive as it can be. Going to a specialist unit is great because they categorically show better outcomes for recovery. Considering that they don't know how long it had been, it sounds positive.

Have you decided what to tell your children? I'd try to keep it simple but explain her brain has had a bleed and explain what kind of symptoms they might see and that it might take her some time to get better.

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 17:02:58

have done exactly that littlefaith smile
they took it in and a few questions have followed, all sensible logic which could be answered honestly. I have told them that she needs lots of sleep, ds1 then explained to the other two how the body repairs by conserving energy and sleeping and they all seem happy with that. the biggest issue for them is going to be that they see her most days and it will be a few days at least before they can see her even for a couple of minutes. I have covered that so far with the idea that she is very sleepy and needs to get a lot of rest before having lots of us go to visit. ds2 had a brain scan last year and understands the process rather than finding it scary, so ok so far. They know that her left side is affected but it appears to be mainly her arm atm. They have all volunteered to do jobs for her, bless em!

HadALittleFaithBaby Mon 20-May-13 17:15:31

They sound very bright and supportive smile

archfiend Mon 20-May-13 17:57:23

Movement is good, speech is fantastic! DH lost his r-hand side when he first had the stroke, but that did come back pretty quickly and I think e was walking again by day 3. The fact that she has movement now is encouraging.

Fingers crossed that a bed is found soon so she can settle properly.

Your kids sound absolutely lovely! I always take the same approach as you - tell the truth, but only give as much detail as is needed at the time. My DD was 2 when DH had his stroke, so we kept it very simple. As time has gone on, she has asked more questions and we have continued to answer them.

MrsShrek3 Mon 20-May-13 18:49:57

thank you again arch, you are so positive and encouraging, you have no idea how wonderful that is just now smile

the dc have dealt with dh having chemo over the last year and know that we tell them what is going on and answer questions, we were determined early on that they wouldn't overhear any stuff they hadn't heard (and understood) from us first. Good to hear it works for others too, I do wonder if I am doing the right thing sometimes.

archfiend Mon 20-May-13 21:55:16

Sounds like you have had a hell of a year already - I hope your DH is doing well at the moment. I think that children know when you aren't telling them things and it worries them - better to let them work through things and know they can always ask questions and get an honest answer.

Hope you all have a good night and that tomorrow is a much better day! flowers

Turningupsidedown Tue 21-May-13 00:10:34

Sounds like some good signs MrsS hope they can get her moved to the specialist centre soon good that she is going to get specialist care. DF lost all right side initially but it came back quite quickly and he is doing really well now, although gets a bit tired and has to monitor his blood pressure carefully which is what caused his. Hopefully they will be able to give you a clearer picture of things when she is settled onto the unit. Sounds like you did a great job with the dc, that is also how we approached things with our dc and DH's cancer. Hope you get some sleep tonight flowers

MrsShrek3 Tue 21-May-13 01:48:26

when she got to the neuro centre it apeears that the nine hour wait and the journey hadnt been good for her. they went straight to ct and then surgery as she has deteriorated.
she has just got out of surgery and into ICU sad on a ventilator. Things seem to have gone downhill.

Oh Mrsshrek I remember you posting about DH sad SO bloody unfair.

No real experience myself, just a friendly 2am brew if you need it. I hope things take a turn for the better by the morning and you get some rest before then if you can.

archfiend Tue 21-May-13 06:32:49

Just woken up and come to check in. Am so sorry things aren't looking as good sad. Will keep everything crossed for you all.

MrsShrek3 Tue 21-May-13 07:17:33

arch, thanks again
hope she has had a settled night. DH going to ring icu now.

Turningupsidedown Tue 21-May-13 08:26:40

Oh MrsS just checking back as well, so sorry it was a difficult night. Hope you get better news when you ring this morning. So sad you have this to deal with too. Hugs

MrsShrek3 Tue 21-May-13 08:44:10

critical but stable this morning. they are keeping her asleep and ventilated. dh going to visit when allowed. visiting hours only hmm

So sorry this has happened. sad

My dad had a stroke 11 years ago. I am sure a lot has changed in terms of treatment and care over the last few years. But he was deteriorating for a while after getting to hospital. He got in while the stroke was still in progress, so he walked into the ambulance. This was 27th December. On new years eve he was still able to sit up in bed and hold a plate of cakes, and eat cream cake with a fork. But as the areas in the brain that was flooded with blood, got starved of oxygen, these brain-cells did not recover. It was a slow process. He was in hospital a couple of months, then went into rehab for another few months.

We did not know at the time, but he had a bleeding stomach ulcer, and nobody check his iron levels, nor questioned why his stools were so black. He got severely anemic, and for that reason was too unwell and faint for recovery. He only started recovering in October the following year, after he had a couple of blood transfusions. By then, it was too late for efficient physio and training.

I know you need positive stories now, but please follow her care very closely and dont let them overlook things like they did with my dad.

MrsShrek3 Tue 21-May-13 09:12:51

Sad story, Quint sad but will take all of your advice
Already unhappy that she was quite ok and then left 9 hrs with naff all observation to deteriorate

Pandemoniaa Tue 21-May-13 10:23:43

I'm so sorry to hear your news, MrsShrek. No practice advice or experience to offer but thoughts are with you and hands held.

SomeBear Tue 21-May-13 11:05:52

I'm sorry to hear this has happened to your MiL, and I hope she is receiving all the care she needs.

My lovely FiL had a massive stroke 2 years ago which affected his entire right side and left him with aphasia - his is total speech loss, not just getting words wrong. Like your MiL, he was found several hours after he had the stroke and was very ill, spending several weeks in ICU where he contracted pneumonia which then delayed his physiotherapy. He spent a couple of months in a specialist stroke unit and was then allowed home to be cared for by my MiL.

He has recovered some mobility but no speech which is frustrating - we were warned there is less funding for therapy for the over 65s. Even now, he is immensely tired and struggles with family gatherings as they are too chaotic with noise and chatter, but despite all our expectations is happy and coping well. The Stroke Association have been incredibly helpful, once you have a more clear idea of what care your MiL will need
it might be worth giving them a call or looking up your local branch.

Our children were almost the same age as yours at the time. We gave them simple facts that granddad was in hospital because he had a bloodclot in his brain that meant he couldn't use one side of his body. Because he was in ICU, no children were allowed on the ward so they only saw him once he was mostly tube and machine free. Offering you a virtual hand to hold and will be thinking of you.

archfiend Tue 21-May-13 14:12:43

Stable is good. I hope that your DH manages to see her soon - I guess visiting hours only are to minimise disruption in ICU but it's hard not to be able to see her sooner. Is there any way he can speak to a consultant before then? Agree that 9 hours is too long - the main thing is that she is hanging in there and that she is now in the right place.

Will be thinking of you all.

MrsShrek3 Tue 21-May-13 19:04:17

she is sedated, ventilated and pipes, monitors and tubes absolutely everywhere (as expected but the technology....ohhh my) DH still very upset, understandable. Wires and tubes aside, she actually looks ok. awesome black eye from the sugery.

archfiend Tue 21-May-13 21:52:52

Hoping for a good night tonight - here's to less technology being needed soon!

PoohBearsHole Tue 21-May-13 22:06:59

Op, both my parents have had strokes. Recovery can be a long process, be patient, and be prepared that the person she was might not quite be there any more. With df his mathematical ability has diminished and where timing and knowing business was important to him he now can't grasp it. This frustrates him and at times he behaves like a grown toddler, he loses his temper and gets very tired quickly. Dm seems to have the memory of a gnat smile ther is a lot of repetition, which again is frustrating as physically she seems lose to normal. Thy have both become a little more selfish too, but quite frankly I don't really blame them sad

PoohBearsHole Tue 21-May-13 22:08:06

I meant to say, hope the night goes well.

MrsShrek3 Tue 21-May-13 22:17:01

PBH <snigger at nn> thank you. At this point I think we will just be happy if she survives tbh. we will deal with bossiness later wink

arch, yy. smile

PoohBearsHole Tue 21-May-13 23:06:16

Hopefully it will all be fine after a time smile. Rest, look after dh and keep yourselves well hydrated and fed smile you will then be prepared for the days to come.

they aren't nice, but hopefully there is going to be good news (hugs)

Glad my nn made you snigger smile

archfiend Wed 22-May-13 14:27:45

How's it going today MrsS? Hope that at the very least things are still stable, if not improving. flowers

Turningupsidedown Wed 22-May-13 17:46:32

Still thinking of you MrsS hope you have had better news today. Hugs flowers

HadALittleFaithBaby Wed 22-May-13 18:03:47

Thinking of you MrsS, sorry to hear she deteriorated.

MrsShrek3 Wed 22-May-13 21:14:47

things much the same today apparently. She has had another scan and the surgery appears to have worked. she remains under sedation and ventilated in ICU. That place shows you just how fragile life is.

archfiend Thu 23-May-13 07:41:38

It's good the the surgery has worked. I suppose sedation etc necessary to allow time to heal. Will continue to keep things crossed for you.

MrsShrek3 Sat 25-May-13 21:43:36

appeared to be going well yeaterday. she was writing notes and having fun.
today there are problems and it appears that there is no blood supply to her bowel. she is back in surgery now. DH has cried and screamed constantly since he got home.

Turningupsidedown Sat 25-May-13 23:22:10

Oh no so sorry to hear this it is so cruel after a better day yesterday. You have had so much to cope with recently i am not surprised that your dh is terribly upset its so hard. Everything crossed here that the surgery goes well and there are no further complications. Hugs and Hand-holding while you wait

MrsShrek3 Sun 26-May-13 01:26:53

<holds Turning's hand firmly>
good vibes going back your way too smile
and thank you.

archfiend Sun 26-May-13 10:44:21

Oh bloody hell MrsS - I'm not surprised your DH is upset, it seems like one thing after another. sad. Another hand and positive vibes being offered here!

Turningupsidedown Sun 26-May-13 14:05:49

How are things going? Hand still firmly held for as long as you need smile

MrsShrek3 Sun 26-May-13 18:11:47

a bit rubbish tbh. more surgery today on bowel - they've taken another bit out and done an ileostomy. blood pressure very low and back on ventilator.
sorry if it is all a bit muddled. cant think straight. she had surgery last night too was discovered that the blood supply to her bowel had been blocked and therefore some of it was dead and probably burst causing peritonitis. Before that she was sitting in the chair and writing notes to dh. Looked quite promising. then thissad

Turningupsidedown Sun 26-May-13 19:20:59

Oh MrsS sad so so sorry, really hope the latest surgery gets on top of it. You must be exhausted. You must feel very muddled with so much happening in such a short time. Don't feel pressured to update, but I am listening if it helps. You are very much in my thoughts, more hugs sent. flowers

MrsShrek3 Sun 26-May-13 19:42:01

blimey yurning you have enough going on too sad

MrsShrek3 Sun 26-May-13 19:42:30

yurning = Turning +typo blush

Yurningupsidedown Mon 27-May-13 01:30:43

Don't worry, I got called Turnip recently! grin

MrsShrek3 Mon 27-May-13 09:25:55

pmsl at namechange.... stoppitgrin

Obviously there's more going on than "just" a stroke, and that makes it all so much more complicated. However my experience with stroke (my mum had a massive bleed 5 years ago at 70, we were told to prepare for the worst and that if she survived she would be completely incapable) - left me with this: the brain is so hugely complicated that there is no one size fits all diagnosis possible, the experts can not and do not know exactly what will happen and how it will affect someone, each case is so very specific. They give you the best information they can, but don't accept it as gospel. My mum fought and fought and came home able to look after herself after 3 months intensive in patient rehab - she wasn't allowed to drive again - but she did manage on her own, shopping, cooking, washing etc absolutely fine.

There's no denying it's hard work for everyone involved, physically and emotionally but it can work out right. Fingers and toes crossed for some better news for you all.

MrsShrek3 Tue 28-May-13 14:10:33

switching her life support off now. DH staying with her until she is gone sad sad

mummylin Tue 28-May-13 14:17:34

So sorry to see this sad news. Awful for everyone in the family especially your dh x

HadALittleFaithBaby Tue 28-May-13 14:26:15

Oh I'm so sorry sad praying for you all.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Tue 28-May-13 14:37:38

I'm so sorry MrsShrek3sad

Wshing you and your family all the best x

Sometimes life seems very cruel and relentless....

Such sad news, so sorry to hear it.

Turningupsidedown Tue 28-May-13 16:46:45

So, so sorry to see this sad sad Thinking of you all.

MrsShrek3 Tue 28-May-13 18:25:38

24hrs changes everything doesn't it sad

SomeBear Tue 28-May-13 18:28:11

I am so sorry to hear this. Life is so cruel sometimes, sending you my best wishes.

TheDeadlyDonkey Tue 28-May-13 18:32:37

I'm so sorry MrsS sad

TallGiraffe Tue 28-May-13 18:46:44

I'm so sorry to read this. Thinking of you and your family this evening flowers

NotAQueef Tue 28-May-13 18:55:15

I am so sorry to read this. sad
Thinking of you and your family tonight x

MrsShrek3 Tue 28-May-13 19:30:59

DH is still sitting with her. she is still being ventilated and some sedation but nothing else. blood pressure ridiculously low but she's hanging on. He is staying with her smile


archfiend Tue 28-May-13 19:58:16

Oh no MrsS, I'm so very sorry to read your latest updates. sad. She has clearly fought incredibly hard but sometimes it's just not enough. Will be thinking of you all this evening. x

MrsShrek3 Tue 28-May-13 20:00:21

Arch, thank you for all your amazing support over the last week. You've been incredible thanks

Pandemoniaa Tue 28-May-13 20:03:36

Oh, Mrs Shrek, I am so, so, sorry to hear this. Will be thinking of you all. xx

archfiend Tue 28-May-13 20:17:31

You're very sweet blush! Honestly, I am just glad it has helped a little. I wasn't on MN when DH had his stroke, and I know how much it would have helped to know about anyone else dealing with all this stuff.


CityTiliDie Wed 29-May-13 07:05:35

MrsS Big Hugs.

I had similar with my DM 6 years ago. She had a different type of stroke and was never given any hope so we had five weeks to sit and watch her die slowly but peacefully. It was almost a nice way to go and we knew she was 'hapy' about it as it was something we had talked about as a family in the past. She had already palnned her 'leaving do' (wouldnt have a funeral as they are morbid and dull).

When it cam to the end my DSis and DF sat with her for 36 hours but she refused to go so they both left to go home and freshen up. 10 minutes after they had left the hospital she died.

Your DC are a credit to you and will cope far better than you can hope for and probably far better than you or your DH.

Its a really tough time for you but you will all get through it and time will help. Remember to never stop talking about your DMil and dont stop talking to her either. i talk to my DM every day and it helps me a lot. I was lucky that 9 months after she passed away my DD was born and she is the image of my DM in every way so I feel my DM will always be with me.

Keep strong for your DH, allow him to talk and cry and shout and you will both be stronger for it.

MrsShrek3 Wed 29-May-13 11:30:54

city, your post about your wonderful dm is beautiful. MIL also said the same about FIL -like he's never gone as we all carried on talking about him (he died in July last yr) . Grandma will be hugely missed by all of us as she has been a huge part of the children's lives, as are my parents. Can't really believe it.

DH got home around 1am, after she'd gone. he seems amazingly chilled. not talking much but so so calm. he spent 12hrs just sitting with her yesterday, we will never know how that went but just hope that it was positive for both of them.

I'm so sorry, it's a terrible time for you all. Perhaps DH feels calm because he's had some quiet time with his Mum and said what he wanted to say and is a little more at peace with himself. Having said that he may just be too stunned at the moment to do anything else - I hope that he and you can all grieve and remember MIL in good times and bad. She may be gone physically, but she won't be forgotten.

Thinking of you.

archfiend Wed 29-May-13 19:28:28

I'm glad that at least they had some quiet time together. I think that things can become so overwhelming that when there is time to sit and just 'be', then there is no place for anger as such. (God I sound like such an old hippy, I'm not I promise!).

Will be keeping you in my thoughts. I hope that you can all remember and share the positive memories as I am sure they outweigh anything else. x

Andro Wed 29-May-13 22:30:11

Mrs S, it sounds like you've all had the ear from hell! As a partner there is so little you can really do when your OH experiences such a devastating loss, all you can really do be there.

When my DSiL died my DH was almost eerily calm...for months. His emotions didn't come to a head until almost 6 months later, he shattered on her birthday. If there was a positive to be taken from that it's that I had worked through the most acute phase of my own grief (DSiL was one of my closest friends for many years) and was mentally in a better place to help DH pick up the pieces. It may be that your DH will do likewise.

Keeping your family in my thoughts and offering a shoulder if you need it flowers

sad So sorry to see your recent updates. So sorry for your loss, and your dhs loss. What a terrible year you have had!

Courage and love.

MrsShrek3 Wed 29-May-13 23:44:20

thanks all thanks
I do wonder about calm before storm with dh. FIL died, 2 wks later dh dx with cancer, 6mths chemo, all ok for a couple of months whilst he recovers from chemo then this. Life sucks. How much can he take? Even I have no clue and it's fair to say I know him best.

HadALittleFaithBaby Thu 30-May-13 06:43:44

I'm sorry to hear she died MrsS but I'm glad she went peacefully and that your DH was with her.

It may well be calm before the storm as he tries to process what's happened. In terms of coping, I remember when my Mum died people said I was coping well but I was just trying to function because its all you can do. Is he off work?

Jestrin Thu 30-May-13 07:30:19


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