Mood swings

Hi again everyone, my mam is now 4 weeks post stroke. While weve had a few positive days and shes been discharged by the speech therapist, i am very worried about her mood and confusion which seems to be getting worse. While she is 91 she has always been as sharp as a pin with no memory or confusion issues. We now seem to follow a pattern in that by mid afternoon her mood really drops and she becomes confused. She often says she doesnt want her tea and can be quite snappy. I sit and chat with her and try to encourage her but she now has very little interest in reading which she did alot of or watching tv. Ive bought her a puzzle book butcagain shes not touched it. When she was assessed by the stroke rehab team their only concern was her speech. Shes of a generation that wont complain, im 91 i cant complain! But theyve not seen her in her confused state. She also rings me through the night, sometimes 3 or 4 times which is difficult for us as we both have to be up for work. I bought her a new bedside light so she would know the time but lastnight she convinced herself it was wrong. Im worried that this is it. I’ve rang the stroke team and asked for help as i really feel im out of my depth and im just so tired. Thanks for reading guys, it helps just to put my feelings down

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@TraceyD sorry to hear your mam is still struggling and you’re dealing with the fallout. Hopefully the stroke team will be able to assist.
Best wishes

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No because this is all very new and intermittent. Shes always been very active prior to the stroke despite her age. The main issue is the mood swings. She has very few physical or personal needs. I dont worry leaving her alone, im only across the road and she will ring me if she needs me, whatever time of day that is. As long as i can i will provide the care she needs. This afternoon she was very confused, i popped back an hour later and she was more or less back to normal. I really just need to know if this is a common behaviour pattern. The night time calls she usually doesnt remember. I talk to her and tell her what time i will be there and thats fine. This isn’t me complaining, not at all, ive just never been in this position before so i just needed to speak to someonecwho maybe has experience, hence my post.

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@TraceyD sorry to hear of your mums confusion. I wonder if she is suffering with stroke fatigue & as the day goes on she gets very tiredwhich in turn affects her mood. There may also be an element of frustration for her if she was fairly fit & active previously.

When I had my stroke I had no interest in reading, puzzles, TV etc as these were all activities that wore me out. The brain needs to repair & rewire following a stroke & to do this it needs to rest. Watching TV, whilst it may seem like resting, actually stimulates the brain & is very tiring. I wonder if this is affecting your mum?

Hopefully you’ll get some answers from the stroke consultant.

Best wishes

Ann x

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Thank you Ann, that all makes alot of sense and would seem very plausible. I can honestly understand that frustration. I hadnt thought about tv being tiring so i really appreciate that input.

Thank you so much x

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Hi Tracey. I am sorry to hear about your mum’s stroke. I am eighty four years old and had a stroke four years ago. Although I used to love reading I too find it hard to concentrate now. Could your mum use an iPad. This has been a life saver for me. She may feel tired in the afternoon but that is quite common. Thinking of you. Love Lilian

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Thank you Lilian ivreally appreciate your feedback. She has a very basic mobike phone just to call, shes strugglingcwith texting at the moment. She has no internet connection and dont really think she would manage a tablet but thank you for the suggestion x

Shwmae @TraceyD, although I cannot reflect on my experience in relation to your mum’s excellent age, I can say that four weeks is a mere ripple in stroke recovery. The brain is scrambled, suffering shock, physically healing over, and trying to figure out what it needs to do in order to achieve some self-repair over the next six months. I was forty-four when I had a stroke, subsequently, my mind was in a fog, I was confused, I was anxious, and a bit barmy to be fair. Every person will react slightly differently, but I am sure that your mum’s brain, at this stage, will still be reeling from the shock it has received.

You know your mum best. She may settle into a more cohesive routine, but the brain damage may have some lasting effects on her cognitive ability. I wouldn’t worry too much about the lack of getting back to habits concerning reading or television. I struggled with motivation on and off, simply because I was trapped inside a troubled head, and the effort of dealing with that each day took priority over other stimulus that would normally be part of my daily routine. Sometimes, I couldn’t listen to what my partner was saying because I was figuring out exhaustive and confusing cognitive and simple physical challenges that no one else could see, but it took immense effort just to exist at that stage.

Gentle, kind patience is required early on. Observe her moods, not eating or becoming too sedentary can be obstructive. She needs rest and sleep, it’s the only way the brain can self-repair this early on. If she likes the radio or music, it can be a positive background sound, but if it grates on her than she may prefer the natural sound around her.

Keep us posted on her progress.

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Hello Tracey, Rups is spot on. Mums brain is scrambled and will be reeling from the shock it has received. His experience and description of those first few weeks and months of stroke will hopefully help you understand what mum is going through, and help you to support her. She may not be able to to articulate (or understand) what is happening to her and why she is feeling and behaving the way she is. I know I didn’t immediately after my stroke, and I still find it difficult to describe at times. Stroke isn’t like an illness which can be measured and quantified (which we all like so that we are in ‘control’!)and that makes it hard for strokers and carers. As Rups says gentle, kind patience is very helpful early on and reassurance that she is safe and cared for. I wish you well

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Hi Tracey, I am only 76, and had TIAs and brain bleeds last summer. I also am finding “brain fog” a nuisance and quite regularly have to try and think of words … just before the strokes I had Covid and I think it is having them both that I am struggling. Much more tired than I used to be and often feel I just can’t be bothered. I have no family close, and was never a great socialiser, plus spinal and hip probs mean I can only walk short distances and depends on the weather too …. my doc says it can take up to 2 years after strokes for a brain to re-wire which shocked me. But after joining this group I don’t worry as much as I can see it is common among us … though I do question the length of time to get back to normal …. 2 years ??? Your mum is sooo lucky to have you close by xx ….
Val x

Thank you for the response Val x so sorry to hear you have so many issues and no family close by. Theres only me as my brother lives out of town and doesnt visit often although i have now had to insist that he does his bit as i have reduced my working hours as much as i can and taken the financial hit. So he now comes about 3 times a week for a few hours. On a monday all day so i can work and on saturday to give me a break! Weve just had a bad couple of days as paramedics think mam has an infection but didnt want to take her in hospital. We’re currently waiting for a community dr to visit but antibiotics seem to have helped and shes more herself this morning. I think the hardest part is despite being 91, prior to this she was still very independent so gets frustrated she cant do as much. I agree, this group is so helpful and really put things in perspective, its good just to be able to talk about things on here especially when it all new to you. Thanks again Val and take care xx

@Ismeval it is quite refreshing to hear of a dr saying you can still rewire your brain for up to 2 years. Most people are told 6 months. There is also a school of thought that the process can continue for many years which is good for those who don’t make as much progress as they’d like in the early stages. I think we all want to get back to normal as quick as possible but i think I’ve learnt tgat a stroke recovery needs a bucket load of patience - something I’ve never really had.
Keep going you’ll get there.

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@TraceyD sorry to hear your mum has an infection but good that the antibiotics seem to be doing their magic. Hopefully it’ll clear quickly.
Good to hear your brother is helping more now & easing the pressure on you a bit. Caring for someone is really hard work & having a break is important.
Wishing you all the best
Ann x

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Hi Ann, this doctor was the same one who put me on very high dosage aspirin when I had all the headaches after Covid… then I had 2 brain bleeds, :flushed::woman_facepalming:t3: …so I don’t really agree with him, as everything you read says around 6 months , though tiredness can continue longer :woman_shrugging:t3:
Keep well, keep smiling :smiley:
Val xx

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