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Kit1964, February 11,  2019  8:52pm EST

My mom's stroke 11/14/18

Hello all,

My mom is 79 years old and suffered an Ischemic stroke 11/14/18.  She had a history of AFIB and was in a bad case of denial.  She has always been so healthy and active and hates taking any kind of medication.  I wasn't aware of this but she stopped taking her heart meds and blood thinner.  My brother and I were devastated when she had her stroke.  She worked two jobs and was going ALL the time.  It was determined that she had two small strokes that affected her right side and she was in the hospital for about 2 1/2 weeks.  She has never been in the hospital for anything!  Needless to say this has been so hard on all of us.  She is doing better but her short term memory is still not so great and she still walks with a bit of a limp.  She is doing yoga and also out patient PT but she was kicked out of her speach/cognitive therapy due to her attitude.  This was only after she was accessed by the therapist after one visit.  Her attitude at times is horrible and this therapist caught it big time.  She insists she does not need it and nothing is wrong with her.  We can't do anything right..I mean anything.  She has told me several times that she wished she were dead and it kills me.  I am very close to her and honestly  I am at my wits end with her mood swings that all seem to be directed to just to me and my brother.  To everyone else she is really nice.  I have been patient, we do everything for her, we take her places when we can an do whatever we can to help but its not making any difference.  She is not married and lives alone and I have thought I may have to move in with her but not sure I can with her moods the way they are.  This has brought my whole world crashing down.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with her mood swings?  Everything I seem to say or do is wrong.  I know this is blow to her as well but she doesn't want to do the therapy that will help her, I can't make her.  I am so frustrated.  

3 Replies
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, February 12,  2019  9:09am EST

    I am so so sorry that you and your Mom are having to manage this. I can share the information we have regarding Life After a Stroke and also helpful Caregiver resources for you.  Please know that we are here for you and want to help in any way possible. Best Katie 

  • Kdogg240
    Kdogg240, February 12,  2019  1:06pm EST

    Hi kit1964, I can tell you that strokes can cause personality problems and emotional stress and frustration. My wife had a stroke and I sometimes deal with these problems. My wife’s attitude for the most part is positive, but there are those days where I feel like there is nothing I can say or do to please her. It can be exhausting mentally and physically!  Your Mom’s stroke was fairly recent, so there is a lot to learn about post stroke deficits. Make sure you do your research to help you understand all of this. My wife and I are fairly young and her stroke was very unexpected. Over the last 3 yrs I have learned a lot about stroke recovery and also about myself. Maybe some support groups would be helpful to you and your brother, it really does help to get your feelings out. Everyone needs a release. It has helped me tremendously to find my place of calm. Search for support groups in your area for stroke caregivers and also stroke survivors. If you can maybe ask your mother to come as well. Maybe she won’t because of her changes, but it’s worth a shot. Maybe she needs someone who truly knows what her mind is going through right now, as this is a huge change for her. Hearing other people tell there story may help her to except all of these changes. Most of all be patient with yourself and your mother. I know how difficult and frustrating that can be, my wife also has aphasia because of her stroke, we also have a 4 yr old child. So my mind definitely knows about frustration. Keep your head up and just don’t give up, your mom needs you, even if she doesn’t realize it right now. We as caregivers can feel all alone sometimes, just please know your not! And please keep getting your feelings and frustrations out, keeping them inside can be harmful to your health. Good luck to you and your mom and brother! We will be praying for your guys. 

    Sincerely, Kevin 

  • JimSinclair
    JimSinclair, February 13,  2019  8:23am EST

    It seems that there are two issues to be dealt with; your mother’s rehabilitation and the family’s frustration.

    I have been in and through your mother’s situation. Whether it is apparent or not your mother is grieving just as if she had lost a family member, except what she feels is that she has lost is a part of herself.

    Although it has been three months it sounds as if she caught between the first two stages of grief Denial and Anger. Recovery is a long slow process, but it does come. As someone who has been in your mother’s situation what you feel in terms of your mother reacting as if you cannot do anything right is really just her frustration with her situation and not criticism of you. You and the other family members are just nearby when she vents this frustration. It sounds as if she is also exhibiting signs of depression, another part of the grieving process.

    These are things she probably does no realizes are happening. If you can recognize when this happening and what has her frustrated that may be a time when you might be able to suggest that there are ways that she might be able to overcome what it is that is so difficult for her. A feeling of loss of independence and inability to control things is one of the most frustrating factors for a survivor .If you can approach your mother in such a way she is the one making the decision for her own benefit she may be somewhat receptive to rehabilitation therapies. No matter how you approach it she is likely to see that approach as frustration because she has to address her issues, Unortunately, there is only so much that you can do, At some point she will have to develop the drive, desire, determination, dedication, and discipline necessary to improve her life.

    If she is as frustrated as it sounds, she will badly want to end this frustration, creating opportunities for you to guide her towards doing more things for herself and regaining some of that control she feels she has lost. Hopefully you have access to another speech/cognitive therapy professional that has the experience and ability to deal with your mother, the fact that she is doing some yoga and PT is an indicator that she has some desire to do what is necessary to recover. She might not see any progress that she is making. The more you can make her aware of any progress she is making the more she will be interested in doing more rehabilitation activities

    You may find that she develops a more accepting approach to taking some medications. Speaking from experience heart meds and blood thinners do not produce any feelings of improvement in the short term

    Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and sleep aides can produce almost immediate benefits.  When she was taking heart meds and blood thinners before for A fib, which might or might not create a problem.

    Now you can link her stroke directly back to her failure to take her meds. Taking her meds is now a life and death situation or at least a necessity to avoid another stroke.

    It is imperative that you and your brother focus on your own well being as much as possible.Takiing time for yourself will ease your frustration and stress which in turn may relieve some of your mother’s anxiety.

    If you two wear yourself down you cannot do your mother any good,

    If you are concerned about her safety and well being you may have to hire someone to spend time with her; but do so in such a way that your mother understands that the person is simply there to lighten her load until she sees that she has made significant and demonstrable progress and she decides that the person is no longer needed. Always encourage your mother to do more rather than less; and if you wish to help her ask her if it is alright to do so

    remember stroke recovery comes in small steps slowly

    Best of luck; Jim






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