Mom 2nd TIA: My regret for not taking the first stroke seriously

My mom suffered the first TIA in Dec 2020. On one late Dec morning of 2020, she woke up and felt numbness on her face and fingers. The paramedics came, evaluated and decided that she did not need to go to ER. However, I insisted my mom to go. We spent more than 10 hours in the ER. They did took MRI and other tests. By midnight, we decided to go home as the hospital would not give her a bed. We were sitting in the waiting most of the time. They said because of covid, they would not have a bed for her and that it would take at least 16 hours to get the results. They said they would call us if the MRI and other tests showed that she needed to get back to the hospital. Since they did not call and my mom felt normal the next day, we carelessly moved on, without calling the hospital for the results to see it it was a stroke.

Three weeks ago, 17 months after the first TIA, she suffered another TIA. Early morning on July 28th, she went to the bathroom but lost control of her right leg. She lost her balance but managed not to fall. The ambulance came and took her to the same ER. She spent one night there. The MRI showed she had ischemic stroke. The latest MRI also shows the scars from the previous MRI.

Now, three weeks after the second TIA, she’s still struggling with fatigue, lost of appetite. I really regret for not being more mindful about the first stroke she had back in 2020. Since it was so mild and I was not well informed on stroke, I did not guide my mom with correct actions. Her family doctor did prescribe her high blood pressure meds, but she did not take them because when she used her at home bp monitor, her numbers were always good (below 120). Even when she was seen by her family doctor one month after the first stroke, the doctor said her blood pressure was ideal (he thought the medication he gave her did the magic). So, between her first stroke and the second one, she did not take the medication the doctor gave her because the blood pressure monitor always gave her perfect numbers. Between her first and second stroke, once in a while she complained she was tired and the numbness of her fingers was still there.

Had I read up and paid attention, the second stroke would have not happened. I am regretting and feeling guilty the last three weeks.

Now she’s on the medications that were prescribed for her (blood thinner, high blood pressure, aspirin 81mg and iron supplement). However, her blood pressure is not going down (it’s fluctuates between 137 and 105). She checks her blood pressure after 3 hours throughout the day. The highest is about 137 and the lowest is 105. Most of the time it’s between 130-132. Also, her heartbeat is on the fast side (between 82-90).

I just am not sure why she had 2 ITA when before 2020, her blood pressure, cholesterol level and everything else were in ideal range. She exercised for 1 hours everyday. Has anyone experience the same thing? I know regretting will not make things better now, but I just don’t want to make anymore mistake. What can we do now to prevent another stroke from happening? We all agree that she will need to stay on her meds as prescribed by the doctor, even if her readings are in ideal range. She’s been trying to exercise again, but the fatigue has been an issue. I also try to get her healthy meals but she lost her appetite.

My mom is the whole world to me and I am just afraid to lose her. She’s will turn 79 in 2 days and I understand that everyone will lose their mom at one point, but I just praying to God so she can recover and live healthy for another 10 years. Is it possible for a 78 years old female to live somewhat healthy for 10 years after 2 TIAs? I love you mom.

Thank you all for reading.

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@long hi I’m sorry your mum has had 2 strokes 17 months apart. Welcome to our forum sadly but, we are all supporting each other so someone may be able to give you some good advice and support.

There’s nothing I can say to help or support as I had my stroke 17 months ago and I’m still in recovery. Tiredness and fatigue play a big part in my life so rest is crucial or I can be knocked off my feet for days.

I hope your mum recovers well and I wish you and your family all my best wishes, regards Loraine

@long welcome to the forum & sorry to hear of your mums stroke / TIAs. Firstly, try not to beat yourself up about what has happened on the past. I think in Hindsight many of us would have done things a little differently but we can’t change it & it makes us more stressed. Easy to say not so easy to do I know. I would question why the hospital never got in touch again after the visit in 2020 if the MRI scan showed something. Having said that even if you had known it might not have stopped the 2nd happening. My advice would be to concentrate on what you can do now to get your mum back to fitness so she can live a full life for as long as possible. Fitness levels are never a guarantee as I too was running & walking loads pre stroke & didn’t drink & never smoked but stroke still hit.
It is normal for blood pressure to fluctuate during the day and as long as she takes her BP meds this should remain stable & I’m sure is being monitored by her GP now. If you don’t have to take it do often then I would suggest taking it less often as that can add to your stresses.
Fatigue is a big part of stroke & she will get good & bad days with this. Its important to exercise but within her capabilities but it is equally important for her to rest when she needs to.
I lost my appetite following my stroke & 9 months on it hasn’t come back. Try & get your mum to eat little & often & don’t try & overfeed her. My hubby thinks piling more on my plate will make me eat more but it has opposite affect.
It sounds like you are a very caring person & your mum is in good hands. Hopefully your mum is getting right treatment & care now.
Best wishes to you both

Ann xx

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So sorry to hear of your Mum’s stroke. She is now on all the right meds, so hopefully will make a good recovery. The tiredness and fatigue is so normal for us stroke survivors and there seems nothing to be done for it. Just rest when needed… Try not to get too intense about taking BP readings as they can cause you stress. Also her heartbeat is not too bad (between 82-90) over 100 is more of a concern. Just take it slowly and I am sure she will recover in time. She has a wonderful caring daughter looking after her and that is so important, so please don’t feel guilty about anything. Sending good wishes to you both.
Jane.

Hi,
Don’t beat yourself up about the first TIA. It happened. The hospital should have let you know, but what’s done is done. Your mum has survived (I had 3 TIA’s and ignored them to my cost - and I had never had high BP or cholesterol and was pretty fit) and now has the right medication.
She will be fighting fatigue, the same as a lot of us. Just be there for her. Make sure she doesn’t overdo things and takes her medication. Her appetite will eventually come back, but maybe not the same as before.
Have a good weekend.
Minnie

Hi @long , I would agree with what the others have said. The fact that the hospital didn’t have a sense of urgency would make you assume it wasn’t too serious (but as we know TIAs can be a warning of stroke to come).

After suffering a second and now taking medication, then your mum should be less at risk and secondly the medical services should take any further issues more seriously (& not brush her/you off).

Try not to spend all your energy on what could happen in the future but rather enjoy spending time with your mum. Obviously keep an eye on diet and fitness, but rest and having the odd treat is also important.

I wish you & your mum the very best.
Mark

Hello everyone
Thank you for reading my post and replying. This forum really is really helpful and I learned a lot from everyone 's story.

Your advices and experiences are truly appreciated. Before finding this forum, I felt very down about mom’s appetite loss and fatigue. Whenever she felt tired, I worried that a stoke was coming. I understand that you are not doctors but my question to you is: how do I know when to call the ambulance? The last time, we called the ambulance cause her right leg became weaken and she felt tired. Now that she’s struggling with the fatigue, I just don’t know when to treat it as the “normal” fatigue that TIA patients all face and when to treat it as a precursor of another TIA/stroke.

@long hi I don’t have the answer I think it’s just playing it by ear. Fatigued is normal for us SS.

You could call her Gp or even 111 to get advice if you are concerned. I don’t have any other answers sorry.

Best wishes Loraine

@long that’s a difficult one and I suspect can only be answered by your mum as she will know what’s normal for her. Fatigue can present in all sorts of ways…as an example yesterday my head felt like it was going to explode. I think as a result of doing too much the day before. In the early days I’d have called for medical advice if I felt like that but yesterday I rested up & today it is a lot better but not gone. All I would say is if you are concerned at all ring 111 or your GP & they will put you right.

Hi @long , I’m guessing from your original post,where you refer to the ER and your mom, that perhaps you are in America or Canada? Therefore things may work slightly differently there. I think we do have a few Americans that post regularly on here so they may be able to help.
However in answer to your question, it is difficult how to advise. If your mum is in a good way mentally then she may have some recollection or how she felt with the previous TIAs and you can use that as a guide.
But the fatigue could well be a red herring as this is so common after a brain injury and seems to affect most of us many months or years later. I would see if you can get any advice from your mum’s doctor.

Obviously, keep an eye on any new symptoms such as speach or swallowing problems or any new loss of feeling areas.

It can be especially difficult with older people as old age brings it’s own set of problems that maybe difficult to separate from stroke symptoms.

Get some advice from medical professionals but try not to stress too much.

Mark

Hi Mark,
You are correct. I am from the US. Although mom has has been slowed down by the TIA, she is very alert. The first TIA only caused numbness on her face and fingers. The second TIA did cause her legs weakened. Her speech was also affected. Her leg is now normal. She could walk on her own. Her speech is almost back to normal. On the day of the second TIA, her voice was very low but she had no difficulty with pronouncing and we could understand her easily. So I think fatigue and appetite are the 2 major issues she has. Now that I learned most stroke patients have these 2 issues, that calm me down a bit. Thank you again for sharing and reading

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Sorry to hear u news try not to blame yourself I know it’s easy to say hard to do. The good news is that she seems to be recovering well and it’s on all the right meds. Fatguie and lack of eating us quite normal even for people a lot younger than your mum . Are you still in the USA or are u in the UK now. I do hope u mum contues to improve with kind regards des

@long welcome to the forum, though I’m sorry to hear about your mum.

As others have said, please don’t beat yourself up about the past, you cannot change what has happened, you weren’t to know, you trusted the hospital staff to make contact if they MRI showed anything and they failed to do so.

Fatigue can affect us SS and sadly seems to be a common after effect, try to encourage your mum to eat a little, even if she’s lost her appetite and exercise, though she may have to take it easier and rest more often.

Your mum’s got the meds now and is taking them, which should reduce the risk of another stroke.

Best wishes to you both