Coping with the aftermath of a minor stroke

When my mum had a stroke last year, one the doctors described as minor, though it didn’t appear minor to me as I watched my mum contort and suffer, I thought once the stroke was over and she had spent a bit of time recovering she would be back to normal.

It didn’t take long to discover I was wrong. Almost immediately I noticed that my mum had suffered a loss of strength and mobility/dexterity on her right side, which made difficult many things she had previously done easily. In addition to the loss of strength and mobility my mum developed problems with her memory, making it hard to understand her at times as she struggles to find the words to express her thoughts.

She forgets things within moments of having said/seen/heard them, and she has difficulty processing thoughts which means it can be hard work explaining things to her, and that is trying for someone who already suffers with stress and anxiety as I do.

All of the above I was aware were possibilities since I am not completely unfamiliar with strokes thanks to TV shows that have portrayed the condition. What I wasn’t aware was a possibility, and what the doctors didn’t tell me to look out for, is that in the aftermath of a stroke a person can suffer seizures, either serious or minor, and that they can continue for some time. The doctors also didn’t tell me that it can take 2–3 years for a person to recover fully from a minor stroke.

The seizures would be bad enough, the lack of anything to signal when one is going to occur makes a bad situation very difficult to deal with.

My mum can be going along quite nicely, talking and doing things to the best of her abilities, when all of a sudden she is seizing. It’s scary, and more than a little worrying.

Much of my concerns could have been alleviated if the doctors at the time of the stroke told me more of what I could expect. Instead it was only yesterday, almost ten months after the stroke that a specialist told us it will take up to 3 years for mum to recover fully, and that the seizures are to expected and no cause to call for an ambulance each time so long as the seizure is short and nothing out of the ordinary.

If I have learnt one thing from this experience, it is that I should press doctors for full details on the possible outcomes from any medical situation that arises. If you don’t know what to expect, there is very little you can do to prepare for it.

If you don’t already know the symptoms of a stroke, learn them, they can make all the difference in the world to someone since time is of the essence.

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