I found my mom on the floor babbling

My mom is 91. Last night she called us up about 10:30 and we couldn’t understand her. My wife kept her on the phone while I went over there. She was on the floor, having made it over to the phone. Her speech was garbled, although she did manage to string occasional words together that made sense and were appropriate (at one point she said “Oh Shit!”, which I found oddly reassuring). I called 911 & took her to the hospital. Although a bit wobbly, she showed no physical signs. She seemed generally to understand us, but was often preoccupied with trying to speak.
The cat scan was inconclusive, but the doctors seem to have settled, for the time being on a minor stroke. I would like to hear from anyone who has had (or who knows someone who had) a similar experience. Obviously not looking for medical advice, just some idea as to how long it will take to recover some speech.

My mother is 97, and has had some mini-strokes. She usually recovers within a few days, as much as she is going to. She has lost some word recognition with each mini-stroke, and some balance, but is, on the whole, still going strong.

How frightening that must have been.

I have no experience, but stopped by to send out a wish for a speedy recovery.

Mrs. Homie’s grandma had a similar experience at age 79ish. I believe the diagnosis was TIA: Transient Ischemic(sp?) Attack, or mini-stroke. She fully recovered within a few days.

At present, she’s showing early signs of Alzheimer’s, but I don’t think the two things are related.

My grandfather’s biggest stroke (he keeps having ministrokes, but nobody is going to explain that to Grandma) left him completely unable to speak for a couple of days. He was also paralized down one side. He’s been considered 99% recovered on one side and 90% on the other since three months after the stroke, and back to being able to talk anybody’s ears off since about one week after the stroke. No mental aftereffects: he’s crazy, but it’s his usual brand of crazy.

The ministrokes all seem to take place in the same area, as the effects are always a milder version of the big one.

Oh, at the time of the big one he was 92 if I’m not miscounting.

My mom is 85, had a stroke 5 years ago and still lives alone because she refuses anything else. You story frightens me because I know it is only a matter of time. Mom never completely recovered from her stroke but she did get most of her former, limited, abilities back very quickly. Refab is the key I think. If your mom does what they say she may come out of rehab even more able than before.

:EMT hat on:

My impression would be a stroke, also. I’ve seen other, similar cases where that was the diagnosis.

:hat off:

Give her a hug, and talk to her normally. She’ll understand you even if she can’t talk back. Also, odds are she can write coherently.

Wow - all these folk with aged parents.

It has be 10 years since my parents died - neither made it past 77 and both died in their sleep. Quite the trade-off, to have lost a decade or more with them, but to have been spared the difficulties of medical emergencies and a slow decline.

Best wishes, and enjoy every day you have with your parents.

My dad had a small stroke in his early 60s that he recovered from completely within a week or so.

First of all I’m glad you’re mum’s all right.

Second, I wouldn’t accept “decided on” for a diagnoses. It was a stroke or it wasn’t a stroke. I know these things can’t always be decided on, but I am just not comfortable with that diagnoses and you shouldn’t be either.

Is you mum on pills? Sometimes elderly people take pills wrong. Losing speech isn’t necessarily a stroke problem. When I ran a PBX call center, one lady thew something at me and when I turned around she indicated she couldn’t talk, and was panicky. We called 911 and got some oxygen from the emergency kit and she was fine before the paramedics go there. She had very blocked arteries. Over 90% blockage in her neck and other places. That is what caused that.

If you all agree it’s a stroke that’s fine, it’s your mum and her health, but if you’re not satisified take her and get a second opinion. I’d do it anyway just for peace of mind.

But that’s up to you.

Third and most importantly is you and your mum now need to get together and take an action place for the future. If it was a stroke, it’s likely to happen again. The fact that your mum called you and not 911 right off isn’t a good sign. Oh it’s 100% reasonable she did that, I probably would’ve done that too. But in a stroke a minute can make a difference between recovery or not. She should’ve hit 911. The paramedics could’ve called you or later the hospital.

And I know you can’t tell a 91 year old lady what to do. :slight_smile:

The thing is you definately need to sit down and decided, where’s your mum gonna live? Is she gonna get one of those emergency necklaces? What’s the plan?

You obviously don’t want to upset her while she’d recovering or during the holidays, so I’d wait till after January 1st, but don’t put this off

Thanks everybody for your replies. I love the Dope.

She did have a stroke. It was confirmed by an MRI done the next day. Apparently strokes do not show up until some time after the event. The only reason they do the cat scan is to look for a brain bleed or other anomaly. The tissue changes that make it possible to diagnose a stroke don’t happen for 12-18 hours. Or so I was told.

Markxxx, I hear you about calling 911. I should have called 911 as soon as she called me (she is always going to call me first, I have been down that road with her many times). There is no substitute for being mentally prepared for this call. I knew that and I still wasn’t prepared.

My father had a right basal ganglia stroke when he was 69, and he couldn’t speak for a week or so. When he regained consciousness after the stroke, he seemed to comprehend that he couldn’t speak, so he desperately tried to scribble down everything going through his head in a writing frenzy. The scribbles were completely indecipherable to anyone, though. How scary it must’ve been for him.

Yeah, it’s frightening. My Mom had a “mini-stroke” (TIA) last year at the age of 69. Luckily my sister who lives with her has had some medical training and recognized it for what it was when it was happening. Mom was back to normal very quickly - within 48 hours - so it blew over without too much stress, but the initial news was very unsettling.

Something similar happened to my mother. She couldn’t speak normally for at least a month. She’d start a sentence, but after the first few words, she’d get “hung up” and couldn’t finish it.

She also had some serious physical effects, but other than a halting gate and some loss of balance, she’s pretty much gotten over those.

She’s well into Alzheimer’s now. She can recall things from her childhood in the 20’s and 30’s perfectly well, but she can’t remember what happened yesterday. Or this morning, for that matter.

Get your mom something like a LifeAlert device, so she can summon help with the press of a button. She should wear it on her person. Next time she might not be able to make it to a phone.

Your mom should see a speech or occupational therapist, who will evaluate her and will probably give her exercises. It would help your mom greatly to learn about these exercises and work with her on them.

I hope she has a speedy recovery, and that she doesn’t have any more problems for a long time.

Hmmmm I thought that an history of brain injuiry as an elder may have a connection to Alizhemiers…
It makes sense…the brain is prolly very fragile in older people…disconnect the oxygen even for a second and its got enough energy to remember old times, and maintain the body…but not enough to remember day to day stuff…

How’s she doing?

She seems to be improving a bit, but she is very tired. When I am there she is generally sleeping, but she has spoken to me.

Alzheimer’s doesn’t show on scans, the only way to get an actual official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s based on physical tests is an autopsy. The regular diagnosis is based on having out-diagnosed everything else that causes similar symptoms: a bundle of other dementias, brain tumors, oxygen deficiency… Ministrokes (even as frequent as my grandfather’s) don’t happen every day: if the cause of the memory loss was ministrokes, they’d have to be happening continously, so that short-term memories would never have time to move to long-term storage; also, in Alzheimer’s the problem is not information not moving from short-term to long-term, it’s the short-term just not working. At all (eventually). Using an extreme example, it’s not “not being able to remember today what happened yesterday,” but “not being able to remember why is there a spoon in my hand now” (because you’re eating soup).

There are other dementias which have been linked to brain injuries (there was a recent thread about it in, of all places, Cafe Society, talking about brain damage in former athletes).

Strokes, unlike Alzheimer’s and those other dementias, do leave “scars” that are visible on scans.

I thought I would post an update on my mom.

After three days in the hospital she was transferred to a rehabilitation center. It was not a ‘mini stroke’, but a fairly large one. She has not regained her speech, although she has made gains. She did not have any paralysis or weakness, except that she had a little problem swallowing, which seems to have resolved itself. She also cannot read or write, although the extent of that is not clear to me. There will be a meeting with the therapists on Tuesday 1/5.
One thing that is encouraging is that in all my visits (and my brothers’ visits) she has been invariably in a good mood. She will try to say something, then throw up her hands and break out laughing. We have been reading her stories from David Sedaris’ “Holiday on Ice”, which she loves (and laughs at all the appropriate parts). She appears to understand us pretty well and can respond to yes and no questions.

I think she will be alright.