Basal Ganglia Haemorrhagic stroke - stranger in my mums body

My mother (53yo female) had a haemorrhagic stroke affecting her left basal ganglia 10 days ago. Doctors believe this was due a sudden surge in her blood pressure, although her pressure is kept normal with anti-hypertensive medications. She was very much unconscious for 4 days and then began waking up on day 5. Her right side is hemiplegic currently and her speech is very difficult to comprehend. Further her understanding of words is very limited. The part my brother and I are struggling with the most is that her cognition is very poor. She is at the point where she can function well with her left side limbs (feed herself, comb hair, pick things up, point at things) but her mental state is of a 4 year old. She laughs at irrelevant things and doesn't register that we have sad faces. She also demands a lot and doesn't really recognise us or know where she is or what has happened. It is very heart breaking for us. We feel at though she is physically with us and has decent motor function, but it is a stranger in our mothers body.

I would be interested to know if anyone has had similar experiences.

Dear Pri, Sorry to hear about Mum. Ten days is very, very early on in the recovery process, but she has survived. My stroke was eighteen months ago and for the first week I felt as if I was in la la land. I could speak, but have no memory of the conversations back then or people’s expressions. I also had odd dreams and felt I was floating around in the ether. Suddenly, one day I woke and felt more myself again. Mum’s brain is busy re-wiring and needs time to do its work. Others will advise you better, but Mum is still there, trust me. I hope she improves soon. I wish you and your brother well.

Dear Pri
Many Stroke survivors laugh when they do not mean to. Its a reaction that the brain decides to make without consulting other parts. Even more common is sudden crying with very little reason. I am male and don't cry, well I do now. In the first weeks I cried for half an hour because I dropped the tea tray. This emotionality has eased away and is now at an acceptable level. Just funerals and the odd TV program that I over react to. I am 22 months post stroke.
Stroke kills part of the brain. It does not get replaced. So we are not going to be the same person. There is "old Mum" and "new Mum". They are not the same. Maybe the difference will be slight, maybe greater, maybe even nicer than before. As John mentions, we dream and the dreams are inclined to get mixed up with waking. I call them night terrors. I hallucinated but this is apparently less common. I loved the hallucinations.
It was very hard for me, when people talked to me. I explained this to my wife and she was great. She visited but sat and read and went for lots of coffee breaks and went off for lunch. Perfect. I just could not process the conversations and it hurt my head. This has eased away.
Recovery is so slow. But there is recovery. I recommend that you and your brother keep a stroke diary, noting how she appeared each day. Later she can do this herself. My stroke diary is very helpful. I can look back and then be extra pleased with the progress I have made.
Do say hello to Mum from me.
Best wishes
Colin

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