Mum recovering from massive stroke - I'm exhausted

Hi all.

I’m new here.

My 77-year-old mum had a massive ischemic stroke 6 weeks ago. But she’s fighting back. She has been referred to a rehab unit so we’re waiting for an idea of a hospital discharge date.

This last week she’s coming out with new words but yet to create any sentences. She’s getting stronger physically too. But I arrived at hospital today to find her very poorly due to secretions that have built up in her throat due to difficulties swallowing.

The whole process is heartrending. The ups and downs are awful. And of course I can’t but think of how long she’ll have left, even if she does recover reasonably well.

I suppose I’m asking for encouragement from people who’ve gone through it with a parent. I don’t have a partner to support me and I’m self-employed so i can never stop working. My step dad is present for mum but he isn’t able to offer emotional support (it’s complicated).

I try to meditate, walk, etc. A local carers support group is at the other end of the phone. But of course you can’t change the fact that this is a long, gruelling process with lots of unknowns.

So I feel very isolated, fearful and stressed.

How have you coper with supporting a parent?

Thanks :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m a stroke survivor not a carer, but I’m sure someone with experience of your situation will be along soon. Recovery is a long journey, be prepared for ups and downs. When I was first in hospital I was aware of my family being there and took I comfort from that.
Immediately post-stroke I was unable to move , my leg, arm, face and back were paralysed. I recovered enough to walk, drive, return to work and live alone.
When things get tough feel free to come here and scream or rant, We all do it.
Best wishes to you and your mum


@EMG72 hi & welcome to the community. Sorry you’ve had cause to join us but hopefully you’ll find it a useful place to be.

It sounds like your mum is a fighter & that will stand her in good stead for her recovery journey. It’s a marathon not a sprint & you need to prepare yourself for the long haul. There will be ups & downs along the road but hopefully when you look back you’ll be able to see her progress.

Have you spoken to the drs about the secretion build up? I’m hoping they’ll be doing something for it.

I’ve not supported anyone through stroke recovery as I had a stroke but I did support my dad when he had cancer. It’s tiugh, at times heart breaking but you get through because you have to. Even through my dad’s darkest days we still found humour in things & that helped us all.

None of us know how long we have left so try not to dwell on that with your mum. There is someone who had a stroke on this forum who is over 90 years old.

It’s very important to look after yourself too. You’ll need all your strength to support your mum. Make use of the carers griup, reach out on here, call the Stroke Association helpline, Age UK and similar can all offer support.

Best wishes to you & your mum.

Ann x


Hello @EMG72
Welcome to the group although sorry you have had a reason to join us :slight_smile:

There has been a recent influx of folk with a similar journey just start.

You will find there stories in the following two threads and from there a reference to a journey that started six or seven months ago. There is a fair amount of reading but there is a great deal of hope and relevant messages within them.

There’s also a carer’s zoom cafe 1st &3rd Friday of the month details here

My best wishes for your family’s journey


Thank you for all replies/ support so far - it’s hugely appreciated. :slightly_smiling_face:

And I’m in awe of all stroke survivors who are posting and sharing on this forum. Thank you.

So, my mum’s secretion issue is being dealt with with deep suction and mouth work. Bless her. It’s all so heartbreaking to see her go through this, through no fault of her own.

At 6 weeks, it’s too early to know her longer term condition but she’s using the Sara Steady (what a brilliant piece of kit) but still using pads and nil by mouth (she’s having a PEG so she can be moved to a rehab unit).

The ward staff are amazing. They are very happy to sit down with you and explain what’s going on. Only once in over 6 weeks have I felt ill informed, which is good going for any NHS ward. It’s Ipswich Hospital in case anyone else reading this has a loved on there.


@EMG72 it’s very pleasing to hear that your mum is being well looked after and that you are bring kept fully informed. If only this was the case everywhere. My experience is that the staff give their all and it’s the system that is broken.

Glad they are helping your mum with her secretion issues & her feeding. Hopefully when she gets to rehab she will get the physio & therapy she needs & you’ll see her improve more.

It is heartbreaking to see your loved ones ho through ill health but things will improve i’m sure. It sounds positive already.

Best wishes

Ann x


Sadly my mum has taken a sudden turn for the worse and is having ongoing issues with secretions. We’ve been warned she might not pull through if her body can’t start to deal with the problem. She also has an infection which is being treated with antibiotics.
This was a huge shock - the consultant delivered the news like a sledgehammer yesterday as soon as I walked on to the ward! I fell apart and had to call in my cousin to support me. Last Thursday they’d started the referral process to a rehab unit.
We hadn’t been told the issue was potentially life threatening over Easter weekend (consultants were not working). She might get through it but the consultant said as she’s 77 and she’s been in hospital for nearly 7 weeks, it’s not looking good.
I’m now really struggling with my mental health as a result of this change.


Oh, dear. I am so sorry. I wish I had something wise and helpful to say, but I don’t know what it would be, other than I am sending light your way from here in hopes you and mom will be comforted and healed in the best way possible.


@EMG72 so sorry to hear that your mum has taken a turn for the worse. It must be really difficult for you to hear that. I’m not sure the news was delivered in the most sensitive way. I guess consultants see it all the time & forget that it’s your loved one…some of them at least. That sort of news is never easy to hear though.

Sending you positive thoughts & strength to get you through.

Best wishes

Ann x


Sorry to hear your news
Fingers crossed for mum and you


Thank you all.

My mum’s had her third infection in 3 weeks which is awful. This latest one (think it’s pneumonia forthe second time) was terrible. She swems to be gerting over it but of course with each course of antibiotics comes increasing resistance to them.

Is it usual for so many infections to occur? It seems particular. Especially as ahe has a long way yet to go in rehab.


I imagine your mum’s immune system is pretty low at the moment and thar could be why she’s getting so many infections. Being bed bound can add to that too.

I really hope that this is the last one for her so she can start to move forward in her recovery.

Best wishes to you both

Ann xx


Unfortunately pneumonia is a major risk factor amongst all the elderly, be they at home, hospital or care home. And for a whole number of reasons such as lowered immune system, breathing or swallowing issues, lack of mobility to move in order to both speed up blood flow and keep lungs clear. Your mum had a major stroke and there is no way to tell what impact lack of brain signalling has had to vital organs, only time will tell. My prayers and best wishes are with you both :pray:


Hi DeAnn

Please tell me why after only 3 weeks the doctors want to discuss this “best of interest” patient chat??
My mum still hasn’t woken up and is stuck in that “low state of awareness” and the Pneumonia plus MRSA.
Yesterday we found out she’s having loose stools causing issues around her thigh areas .
My mum good arm is lifting and she does open her eyes now and then but this question “what would she want from life” makes me so angry !
As long as she’s not in pain then to hell with being disable. People are tough and resilient and function without the dignity that gets stripped away from them but I’m here.

It’s just bleak bleak
I go London Neurology hospital everyday with my siblings to see her. We talk to her and always hope she’ll open her eyes that bit longer and be more aware but the doctors keep bringing me crashing back down to the point I often feel like just jumping on the rail tracks on my way home; only thing stops me it’s unfair on the driver . I may be old at 41 but I cannot function without this beautiful woman in my life .
I’m fighting for them to put a trachea in and move her to the ward if what they want is the bed back ! But I know my mum can come back somewhat mentally cognitively and I’ve seen all the success stories in here.
I’m sorry if my language or anger upsets anyone .

I’m so sorry to hear that. :frowning:

I’m praying for all the sadness in here. :heart:

You are now in my territory with the MRSA. I did not get pneumonia, (nor do I have cancer). I did have MSSA though (difference is it is not Methicillin resistant, so easier to treat). That was the reason I was put in hospice. All of my organs were shutting down…it might be also called sepsis or staph infection. I did have infective endocarditis as well, unknown if that is something affecting your mom. Once my sister was able to convince someone to replace my aortic valve, I started getting better, but still had dialysis for my non functioning kidneys, liver damage that eventually healed itself, extreme edema due to the non functioning kidneys, spleen damage that is likely still a problem (haven’t found help for that), and on ventilator until after that surgery, then again, when I had some troubles due to swallowing problems that allowed stuff to get into my lungs. I was 56.

I am telling you all of this because it was very, very hard to get back to where I am now. I am still nowhere near who I was, but good enough to at least share love and time with my loved ones.

It has been extemely hard on my daughters, most especially the one who lives with me. I would have a hard time living alone at this point, but am working toward that possibility so my daughter can be free of having to care for me. I try very hard not to be a burden, but for her I suspect it can be much like having no time for a life of her own.

Emotional issues are hardest for me. My moods can be all over the place from moment to moment. I would have been just fine to go to the next adventure, other than wanting to help my daughters and grandson. Same now.

I would not have chosen to take on this very hard task of recovery for myself. But for them, I have.

All of that it to say to you, it isn’t a matter of ‘giving up’ on your mom, it isn’t a matter of her not being valuable enough to hold on to her. It might be the bed, but more likely they are trying to convey to you, how very hard the work is to recover, and that they truly can’t know how much or how little she will recover. They likely want you to think about what she has taught you about herself over the years. Is she a life-loving person, who has been quite active before this, someone who will fight? Does she believe in the ‘glory of heaven’ and looking forward to meeting her Savior? No doubt at all in my mind, if hers is working, she is thinking of you and siblings. If so she is worried for you, and in recovery she will have some emotional issues (almost without doubt) Am I a burden to my children? What am I here for when I can’t do anything much? Would it have been easier for everyone if I had just gone?

Doesn’t matter if those things are ways people should feel, it is often how they do feel. I still sometimes ask myself those questions.

I am so sorry as I know you will see this as harsh. I thought you would like me to be as honest as possible.

Is mom still under sedation at times? Is she able to communicate with you in any way? Perhaps it would help to list all signs of hope you have and all questions you have about her status and differing health issues, and keep them for the doctors rounds as well as send a copy through the nursing staff so the doctors will be ready to answer your specific questions.

This is so bad words painful. My heart is with you. Please don’t take my words to mean I think there is no hope. I don’t know. But as much as you can, with the best information you can get, ask yourselves, what is the best we can do for mom.


Tacking a :heart: on to that post seems very inadequate @DeAnn but it’s the best this s/w knows



I am deeply moved by your story again and the challenges you’ve faced with immense strength and resilience. Your journey paints a picture of courage and endurance through the toughest of times. I admire your determination to recover for the sake of your loved ones, particularly your daughters. As a daughter myself, I wholeheartedly believe and can tell you that you and mothers can never be a burden. Your love, presence, and the lessons you impart are invaluable beyond measure. Your story is a testament to the power of love and family bonds during the most trying circumstances.

Mum hasn’t had any sedation over two weeks .

She opens here eyes for a few seconds and gone again.

Her good arm lifts and they think she’ll accidentally pull the ventilator pipe off so now her hands in a boxing glove type thing .

MRI scan happened today and we will get any insight if any as to why she’s not waking up .

Mum’s heart is relatively fine but will ask again and kidney was getting annoyed from all the antibiotics.
I don’t know what else to say . :frowning:

Your journey sounds so ….no words .

And you’re not being harsh at all!
I need this.


You are so full of love. I can feel it.

Have you been able to hold your mom’s hand? Sometimes people are able to communicate to answer yes/no questions via squeezing a hand, say once for yes, twice for no. My sister thought maybe three for yes, two for no, because I was able to squeeze with my good hand. She rarely thought to give me time to actually answer a question, I suppose thinking I could react that quickly. Three squeezes from me actually stood for I love you. We laugh about that now.

I am still keeping you all close in my thoughts, hoping to send light into your lives from here.


She’s totally unresponsive unless it’s intense pain inflicted on her which then gets a reaction out of her. The most my mum does is grimace in pain.

She yawns and sporadically lifts her good arm and I swear today she did manage to swallow ?

We hold her hands, talk to her, play her holy book recitation .

Today had a bit of misunderstanding with a nurse who knew nothing about my mum when she saw us on a video call ( 3rd person ) telling us we cannot video call as mum hasn’t given consent!
They say each case is different, then treat my mum differently. Not special treatment. We are being told this could be as good as good as mum gets it then let her loved ones see her on video call. We aren’t recording her. No child will want to keep photos or videos of their mother with pipes and wires coming out of everywhere.
Majority of the nurses tell us we can video call especially when we have family all over Asia and isn’t familiar noises of loved ones a way of healing too?
Later on the senior nurse came back to tell us we can do video calls until they hear back from the top people if we can carry on.

I should take a break from here as I may come across ungrateful . I’m feeling angry , so angry at myself.