When to start talking to stroke patient about forgotten memories?

My mom recently had a left intracerebral hemorrhage in the basal ganglia (deep within the brain). Unfortunately, we only got her to the hospital around 9 hours after the event, and they only started using the blood thinner after around 11 hours. Thankfully, she has recovered pretty well and is able to speak and converse overall. However, when asking her about some of her childhood memories, like her memory of her own mother she seems to have forgotten. Later, when we asked her again about it, she said she doesn't want to talk about it. However, she really loved her mother (who died at age 49 when she was just 17). Should we try and talk to her about her mother right now (ASAP), or later? I know that for strokes, time is key, even in rehabilitation. Thank you.

Dear John
Sorry to hear about Mum having a stroke.
I am 70 and fairly well recovering from a right lacunar stroke. 21 months in. My memory is damaged but I don't think anything will "jog" the lost bits. I don't have any problem with jogging my memory, but the thinking progress is hard and I do not want to be asked lots of queries. My brain can not process as it used to. And my nature has changed, which seems to be a permanent change.
You might get better or fuller experiences if you mention when the stroke happened (so we know how many months in) and Mums age. Approx will do if you don't want exact info released.
Best wishes and say hello to Mum from me

Hi Colin, thank you for the reply. It is good to hear that you are recovering! Your typing and writing style is very good, so this gives me hope for my mom and other stroke victims. My Mom is in her early 60s, the stroke just happened this week (week of the 18th). I am worried that my mom is no longer the strong, proud and fierce woman she once was. When you say you feel different (nature has changed), is that sort of like "I am the same person, it is just that my personality has changed"? I mean people go through changes all throughout their life naturally, so that is not necessarily a bad/strange thing is it?

I'm sorry to hear about mum's stroke. Memories can come back - it's very early days, but take your mum's lead. Everything is much more effort post-stroke and there are probably more pressing things that she's putting lots of effort into. Plus it's probably upsetting if she thinks about it too much (so may be trying not to!)

I had aphantasia anyway pre-stroke, but my memory has been affected and I have very few memories of my mother (she died a couple of years ago). I'm 9 months post stroke, I doubt anything is coming back now, people talking to me about her would upset and frustrate me more than it would help.

Dear John
Thanks for the additional info. It really is very very early days for Mum. And she is a young Mum isn't she.
The sudden change of personality and loss of memory happened immediately. It took many months for me to fathom what memories have gone. For me it is a lot of recent stuff, which seems to be things that don't actually get in to my memory plus all events for about three months up to stroke. I don't think this is going to change. (But I never give up) There is also a slight loss of memory generally, but this could be ageing.
The change in personality is a lot more than natural ageing. My brain can not process what it used to process and so I cant be the person that I was. Some of us actually call it "new me". The "old me" has gone and that is very disturbing. I am trying to make new friends, being people who only know me post stroke. We are all different but it is quite likely Mum will display a different person. Maybe an even nicer person.
I think you need to prepare yourself for a significant change. If you think about someone you like and compare them with someone you don't take to, then the difference is tiny. The change on stroke can be quite a big change in comparison. You will also have to accept that many of her friends and family will "run for the hills".
It is early days. Perhaps you could read the stroke association leaflets and that will increase your perception. At one week I slept a lot and could barely speak. The effort of speaking was far too much. I asked my wife to bring her books and just sit with me. And to go for lots of coffee breaks etc. I couldn't bear to discuss day to day things, it hurt too much. Visiting hours were horrific. People having conversations hurt me a lot.
Now I am able to have conversations . I will often explain that I need to rest, but truly it is to get away from the conversations, especially the questions.
BTW my long term memory is much improved. This might be ageing but it is somewhat sudden. early memories keep appearing (especially in dreams) and I hadn't thought about these in years.
I am an FCA. People still want to talk to me about their tax affairs. No chance, my lateral thinking (pre stroke was exceptional) has gone and if I were to advise then it would be disaster. My own tax return, on which no queries raised in fifty years, was subject to investigation this year. I just can not explain stuff logically.
As always I am rabbiting on so I will now close.
Do ask anything, someone will usually have an experience or two to share.
And say hello to Mum. Only another SS can understand what she will go through.



Charity information

Stroke Association is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered in England and Wales (No 61274). Registered office: Stroke Association House, 240 City Road, London EC1V 2PR.

Registered as a Charity in England and Wales (No 211015) and in Scotland (SC037789). Also registered in Northern Ireland (XT33805), Isle of Man (No 945) Jersey (NPO 369).