Where do I start? What the right questions to ask so I can best help my Mum?

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Hi Stuart, so sorry about Mum. Stroke is a fearful thing and I suspect our reactions are both similar and varied. To begin with, does Mum know she has had a stroke? I ask this question, because no one ever told me I had one. Listening to conversations, I guessed I had but no doctor or nurse said so. I did, however, accept it at a very early stage. Acceptance, however, is not the same as adjusting....that takes time. Sometimes I dreamt I was well, sometimes I woke up thinking, ‘Today I will be back to normal.’ Eventually, I knew that I had a week side and determined to do what I could to improve. I worked hard at physio and longed for the day I could go home.

My moods varied. Like Mum, I found sleeping difficult. In the end I asked for sleeping tablets. At night, people seemed to come and go ad infinitum and every noise was accentuated. When visitors were too much I would ask them to leave. I could also get short tempered, especially if I failed to do simple tasks.

Mum is at the end of stage 1, when clinical care gives way to rehab. Please encourage her to do what she can. It took me time to learn to was and dress again, even longer to know how to tie shoe laces again. Learning to stand and walk are big hurdles, but they must be overcome.

In my area, you were taken on a home visit...firstly, to see if you can cope and, secondly, to note any adjustments that need to be made. Age UK put in an extra stair rail, hand grips and a seat in the shower...all at no cost to me. I also had six weeks daily physio and OT support to help me cope with living back at home. I have a partner and that helped. I also had to sleep downstairs for three weeks. The Community Team also provided a commode, chair raisers, higher toilet seats and a perching stool so I could sit to wash and shave.

I was also warned to expect falls and I did have a few, largely due to carelessness. Encourage Mum to think all tasks through and break them into stages. In time, I got back to cooking and baking. However, getting back to doing anything takes ages.

Lastly, let me mention post stroke fatigue. It hit me on day two at home and,nineteen months on, I still have to rest in the afternoon. You cannot work your way through it...you must rest.

I was 72 at the time of my stroke, so Mum is a little older. She sounds in reasonable condition given the ten hour gap between the stroke and its treatment. At the moment, she appears not to realise that recovery is slow and requires hard work and patience. I wish her well and hope that telling you my experiences will help. Also, remember not all health authorities are the same. I feel I have been lucky to live in an area where post stroke support was very good.

Tue, 11/7/2017 - 6:00pm
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