My Mum's life has changed and I don't know what to do to help

Hi, I am new here but need some support and advice. Sadly, my Mum had a post op Stroke just before Christmas. Ut was identified late and she went on to have another one but once again no one knew or told us. She didn’t show the classic signs. She can walk, talk, feed herself etc.
She has now been left with poor cognitive ability and in hospital she suffered with delirium.
She had been home a week now and it’s tough. I’m a teacher and have taken time off to help her become more independent.
She has no motivation at all and can’t be bothered to do anything. The one thing that is hindering her rehabilitation is a severe back ache and breathlessness. The OT has said she needs to exercise more and get outside but Mum just doesn’t feel up to anything because of her back. She says she aches all over too and it hurts her chest when she coughs.
Has anyone else experienced this? I am sick with worry all the time and just need reassurance. She is living with me and I have 2 young boys to look after too. My husband is great but is also a teacher. I feel like I’m fighting losing battle and I’m exhausted.

Hello @Kimlouise, I imagine your mum is feeling a bit all over the place at the moment. It’s very early weeks, and there may be some residual shock. I was in a daze for months before I started to come to terms with what had happened, and what I needed to do in order to start a proper recovery process. I had (and still do have) dyspnoea which is laboured breathing. I managed to reduce it by switching statins (I was taking Atorvastatin, which has a side-effect of breathlessness according to the users on the Atorvastatin forum). But my breathing is still laboured much of the time. I do controlled breathing exercises in the morning and at night. The breathlessness, for me, is very uncomfortable and does prevent me from doing many things just because it is so unpleasant. I’m not sure how much of it is physiological, psychological, or medication based.

During the first six months of recovery, I was having a lot of personal anguish that I rarely expressed to others. Private moments of brain fog, confusion, and physical pain. I preferred to be alone just to suffer through it, and also failed to express just exactly what it was I was experiencing. Early on, rest is extremely beneficial. The brain wants some time to repair for itself, and it can’t do this if it is urged to be active. Stepping stones are important, and while physiotherapy is key to recovering as best as one can, it should be taken in small doses and often. I didn’t really leave the house much during the early months, but spent time in bed. I would get up and do daily exercises beside the bed. This I felt was needed to prevent muscle deterioration. I then moved onto Tai chi which can be done inside, after that I started playing the Rig Fit adventure on the Nintendo Switch (probably not suitable for your mum :grinning:)

What I found essential was going at my own pace but having a milestone target to aim for. A schedule and systematic pace is a good way to work around neurological fatigue which in the early months is very debilitating for most, and still is for a lot of us.

I am one year into recovery. Gentle encouragement may help your mum build confidence, cognitive games are good, and I found Tai chi to be excellent. I first started doing it by mimicking an instructor on the telly (Amazon has some free videos), now I do it alone just with music playing.

Welcome to our forum, and hope you can schedule a plan for your mum, and you both can work together with it, as rehabilitation does require a lot of input from the survivor in order to move forwards.

Hi @Kimlouise, welcome to the community, I’m sorry to hear about your mum and the situation you find yourself in.

As @Rups mentioned, it’s early days for your mum and her brain will need more time to recover. Please speak to her GP/Stroke Consultant and ask if her medication could be causing some of the symptoms and whether it’s possible to change it.

The Stroke Association may have some advice too, call their helpline or browse articles on their website as there may be something relevant.

Your mum could still be in shock, it takes a little time to come to terms with the fact you’ve had a stroke, it’s a balancing act between exertion and rest as fatigue is a big thing for survivors.

Try to take time for yourself too, I appreciate it’s difficult with a young family and your mum to look after, but you need to look after yourself too.

Stay strong, best wishes to you and your mum

1 Like

Thank you so much for your advice and guidance.