Carer returning to work

My wife Sam who is aged 41 had a minor stroke last week (we believe it was a TIA). At the time this resulted in a lot of cognitive issues, mainly her speech making no sense as she mixed up words, her sense of taste and smell was messed up and she also got quite confused and couldn't remember things like our kids names. She was released from hospital yesterday and a lot of the symptoms seem to have dissipated although she woke this morning with a bad head which seems to have subsided having taken paracetamol as prescribed by the hospital. I've only been in my new job 6 months so I'm worried about taking time off (they've been really good last week) but at the same time I'm paranoid about leaving her on her own when I do anything. I just wondered if anyone had been in a similar position and what their experience was with this.

Hi there. I have not been in a similar position, but your feelings are natural. Survivors can be left alone but you can take precautionary measures to ensure your wife is okay. Firstly, make sure that she has a phone with her at all times so that you can contact each other and family members at all times. You could also encourage friends and family to ring her from time to time or call round. If you have good neighbours, ask them to keep an eye out for her and give them a key if necessary. Tell her not to overdo things and to take no unnecessary risks e.g. tackling big jobs which she does not feel up to.

I am 75, but my partner will not let me go anywhere very far without support, but that is an age thing as well as a post stroke thing. I carry a phone at all times. We have good friends and neighbours so are okay. I have also just discovered online shopping, which I would recommend to anyone. A stroke is a stroke, call it what you will, so she will need time to rest and recover. If the children are old enough, encourage them to help their Mum out as well. Make sure they know how to contact you too.

All worries ease over time. I wish you both well. Sorry I cannot be more helpful.

Hi - I found it very difficult to leave my husband following his stroke in August 2017, so I understand those feelings and cncerns.  As John has said, worries lessen with time, but walking out of the door in those early days is so difficult.  I cannot really add to John's list of suggestions, other than to say I still try to make my husband's life as easy as possible, so I leave him a packed lunch every day, so that if he's feeling tired he doesn't have to think about what to eat!!  

At one point I really thought I had developed some sort of attachment disorder, as I felt very panicky about being separated from him, but that has eased considerably as he has become stronger.  

When I come home at the end of the day, I try to resist bombarding him with questions about "his day", and similarly resist the urge to tell him all about "my day"!!  This seems to cause tiredness and overload, but that may be different in your situation.  I usually leave it to him to initiate conversation then I can judge how tired (or receptive) he is.  Hope that helps, Nic x

My husband felt the same as you.He took a month off work compassionate leave after my stroke 18 months ago. His employer was very good and this time off was a great help for him to discover what I could and couldn't do on my own and how I felt about being on my own.  I'm not a person who likes being fussed over and, after the first couple of weeks of him being at home, I began to feel 'stifelled' by all his fussing. We had a chat about it and he agreed to back off a bit to let me do certain things for myself.  I made him go out for an hour and leave me just to give him a break from me and me from him!  Bless him! When he did go back to work, I had to agree certain things which are still in force today which are:-

Always email him as soon as I get up so he knows I'm up and about and OK - he starts work at 6am so is out of the house early.

I always let him know where I am going and roughly what time I will be back. I think this is sensible due to the fact that I am now back driving and out everyday.

I am not allowed to use sharp knives or do anything that could cause me to injure myself when alone - I'm on blood thinners so again a sensible idea.

I'm not allowed to climb on the stepladders when I'm in on my own. I'm only 5ft and often have to use the small stepladder to reach things out of  kitchen cupboards. He always gets things out of the cupboards that I think I might need before he goes to work.

And, of course, the golden rule is always have my mobile switched on, fully charged and with me at all times. This is my biggest problem.I hate mobiles, very rarely use it except in an emergency, get really wound up about people who are glued to them all day (husband is) and I do forget to switch the flipping thing on many times for which I get sternly told off about!

Your wife will soon adapt to doing things another way to life pre-stroke and between you, you will find a happy medium in time that suits you both so don't worry too much. With time, everything seems to just fall into place without you even noticing it. Hope that helps. 



Thank you for raising this issue, I found the replies interesting and helpfull.

Hope all is well with your other half and that you will soon be on track for picking up your lives again.

I dont use my mobile. I expect my wife to go out every day and also for a four days away every month. No family that can help, neighbours are either at work or very elderly also I am lucky enough to have plenty of space between houses and doubt that I could make myself heard.

I bleed copiously due to blood thinner, so I am extra careful, but I control this not my wife. I have abandonned two evilly sharp kitchen knives.

I cant reach top shelves so I use a small step ladder for that, I always consider the consequenses of falling before I go up the step ladder. for normal sized step ladder, going in the loft etc, I always do this when someone is nearby, not when on my own. Wherever i walk, whatever I do, I plan for a fall, especially a means to get up again.

My view is that I have to live a life, a new life post stroke, and there are risks to be taken. 

Regarding Sam, please treat the first month differently. You have done the right thing in watching over her as a TIA can be a sign of a stroke to follow. However, I understand that the risk is much less once we have survived the first month. So do get yourselves back into the mainstream in a week or two. 

Good luck to you both


"two evilly sharp kitchen knives." devildevil  LOL!  Strange how sharp objects now appear as evil enemies of the world when you have a stroke.  If anyone would have told me I would shiver at the sight of my knife block, I'd never have believed themblush !!

Good point (pun intended). Life changes when we arent looking.

The main culprit knife was one I especially purchased because it is sharp and a good kitchen knife. About 7" I think.Well it just kept being attracted to the fingers holding the veg. Each error  took me 20 minutes to stop the bleeding. The other one is just a big knife which I can not handle.




Bruising is another one.  The wind caught my car door the other day and blew it closed as I was getting out.  I quickly moved my hand out of the way to avoid fingers getting chopped off and I caught my middle finger on the door frame as it closed on me. Result.. a lovely blue/purple bruise the whole length of my finger. When I was at the hospital the other day, I noticed a bit of dry skin on my arm and I scratched it off in the waiting room. Next thing I knew, blood running all down my arm. I'm dabbing it like mad so it didn't run on the floor and pressed on as hard as I could to stop the bleeding. It eventually stopped before I went in for my scan but the day after I had a massive purple bruise on my arm from pressing on!

I sometimes think everything around me is a hazard. I am very careful with knives, but the other day the front door seemed to set out to hit my fingers (I just about avoided this) and knives, forks, tins, oranges, eggs etc. Appear to throw themselves around or roll about at will. My favourite exclamation is ‘You b......!’ But they are only poor inanimate things. I suspect the real problem to be me.

As for a stepladder, I wouldn’t dare. Slippers are treacherous enough and soap in the shower requires juggling. And don’t get me started on how some small objects prefer disappearing under the sofa........

Hi my name is Jill, my husband Tony had a stroke 3 weeks ago now.  This was hard enough but made very much worse as we are in the middle of a hideous virus, Covid 19.  There is no help in the community as everyone has now been redeployed.  

I am a full time teacher, not a school at present, but I am very concerned about returning to work and leaving my husband at home. 

Can anyone recommend anything, groups, agencies, etc.,  at all that they've found useful information please. 

Hi Jill, Sorry to hear about your husband's stroke. I would recommend you phone the Stroke Association helpline.

Dear Jill

I am so sorry to learn of the stroke getting Tony.

The situation without corona is not easy. We get very little follow up care. But with corona there just isnt anything to reassure you or help you.

If Tony would keep a daily diary of what he does then it might encourage him to recover. I have often mentioned that no one else can get us improvement, it has to come from us.

I made my wife go out every day. It took the pressure off her and it gave me a chance to gradually cope at home.

I was not fit to be left for 24 hours until about 12 weeks.

One thing that can be had is some physio online. My yoga teacher does this. Its too early for tony to start yoga, but hopefully there might be physio exercises online somewhere. 

Recovery is very very slow. In a perverse way this might work in your favour, as by the time Tony needs extra support the corona might have moved on.

Johns suggestion is, as always, helpful and sensible.

Best wishes