Unable to get words out and confusion - British Heart Fou...

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Unable to get words out and confusion

Handel profile image

My daughter in law flew to Malaga with her sister for the weekend and felt strange as she got off the plane.

Her vision became affected and she became incoherent and confused. Her sister called for an ambulance and she's now in hospital with tests being run. She was recovering a little in hospital last night.

She's in her mid 40's, very fit and carries Salbutamol as she occasionally suffers with mild asthma attacks.

She hates planes and has been known to have mild panic attacks.

My son is beside himself with worry.

My initial thoughts were perhaps a TIA (I'm not a medical person). Has anyone else had or knows someone similar ill health concerns?

I understand she was given blood thinners as a precaution. Just so sad we are all so far away.

Thank you so much for reading this. xx

20 Replies

A similar thing happened to my brother-in-law a few years back during a flight to Majorca. He was admitted to hospital in Palma and investigated for possible Tia etc. He underwent a CT scan and was discharged after couple of days when no abnormalities were found. He is a very nervous flyer and fearful of health matters in general and it was felt he had a severe panic / anxiety episode. Malaga and Spain in general have a good health care system. I lived in Spain for a few years and my experience is they are very proactive with investigations. Sounds like your daughter in-law is being looked after. Try not to worry sure you will get more info soon.

Handel profile image
Handel in reply to Nathan53

Thanks Nathan. That's quite reassuring in a strange way.

She was discharged from hospital last night and has spoken to my son. She said she just felt weird with loss of peripheral vision and couldn't get words out. She knew she was married but didn't remember her husband or the kids names. It's all come back now.

Again, thank you so much xxxx

Violetta25 profile image
Violetta25 in reply to Handel

Hi it does sound like a TIA. Did she get a diagnosis?

Handel profile image
Handel in reply to Violetta25

Scans and tests didn't appear to show anything. She made a good recovery from whatever it was but will get checked out by the GP when she lands back in the UK tomorrow. Strange and very scary!

Thank you so much for getting back to me xxx

thetidders profile image
thetidders in reply to Nathan53

Have to agree with you, Nathan, we too lived in Spain for 12 years & the Spanish Health Service is very good. We had Spanish Health cards as we were pensioners so we were treated like the Spanish. We spoke enough Spanish to get by which is very useful because communication can be a problem at times.


Nathan53 profile image
Nathan53 in reply to thetidders

Yes Jean I am with you 100% there. We are currently in Spain on holiday I do miss the climate and Spanish way of life. It's been mild and sunny for 10 days now! Hope you are keeping well.

thetidders profile image
thetidders in reply to Nathan53

I am doing well now, thanks, after my bypass & electrolyte imbalance, took a while though. We are going to Spain in March, to the Costa del Sol, we lived at the other side of Andalusia in Almeria, I fact we still own our villa, it’s rented out on a longterm basis.

Hope you are doing well.


Nathan53 profile image
Nathan53 in reply to thetidders

Pleased you got through your CABG (I read your earlier post) we still have our Appt in Olivia North of Denia but returned to UK for family reasons. I am good thanks after heart attack and stents last April - a doddle compared with your op. Well good luck and enjoy your visit to Spain - not long now.

Has severe migraine been ruled out? I suffered with classical migraine for 60 years and had those exact symptoms among others. It is often brought on by stress and it sounds as if she was under a lot of stress.

Handel profile image
Handel in reply to Bernice74

Hello Bernice. So good of you to get back to me.

There was no headache to speak of and she's never suffered with migraines (always a first time though). She was on the mend and had been discharged from the hospital. However, she called my son at lunchtime today to say she was back in hospital as she'd suffered numbness on one side of her face.

Following CT scans, there was no sign of mini strokes but her blood tests came back and she had low sodium so was put on a drip.

She was probably worrying about the flight back tomorrow as she's really stressed and suffers with claustrophobia (first I knew of that this morning!).

I'll report back when I know more.

Thank you so much. Your reply means such a lot. xxx

Bernice74 profile image
Bernice74 in reply to Handel

Hi Handel, headache is not always a feature of migraine but numbness is and I always used to get that in my face arm and hand on the left side. Migraine doesn't seem to show up on tests either. Hope she gets back ok!

Handel profile image
Handel in reply to Bernice74

Thanks Bernice. It's strange that so many illnesses have symptoms that could easily be a stroke. As someone who knows how awful migraines can be, I'm really grateful for your input with this.

I'll certainly let you know how things turn out. It's just so worrying especially for my son (he's nearly 40 but I still think of him as a scared toddler!).

Thanks again Bernice. It's lovely to pour problems out on this forum. xxx

RoyM profile image
RoyM in reply to Handel

I have suffered migraine for years to varying degrees, my symptoms always include vision disturbance and occasionally speech difficulties, short term memory loss and numbness in varying locations but usually face and hands. I also suffer a headache after all other symptoms have passed.

Handel profile image
Handel in reply to RoyM

Thank you so much RoyM.

Your comments are really reassuring and much appreciated xxx

Oh dear. Look on positive side she did the right thing going to hospital. Best of luck and hope verything turns out well.

Handel profile image
Handel in reply to redcarpet123

Thanks redcarpet. It just a shame that she only went to Malaga from Friday evening to Monday morning. Most of that time was spent in hospital.

At least she had her sister and aunt with her. She flew back with her sister today and from what I can gather from my son, she was OK when she landed in Luton. He took trains to get from where they both live to the airport.

She'll get a thorough check up here. I'll let you know how things go. I really appreciate your concern xxx

I'm glad to hear that your daughter-in-law is doing better. I have read the comments here about the effects of a panic attack, and it sounds from other people's experiences that that may well indeed be what happened.

However, in reading the symptoms you noted - not to worry you and I say this as a layperson, of course, but is it possible that she has suffered a mild stroke?

Her confusion, sudden trouble speaking or understanding, and her sudden vision problems all immediately made me think of this.

Of course as we know, many symptoms cross over with conditions and as I said, I am only saying this just in case this might have been part of the problem and it was missed.

I read that Spain has excellent healthcare so it seems like they would catch this if it were that a mild stroke had occurred. However, just in case - I am noting it here.

I will now cut and paste here the bit of information regarding symptoms of minor strokes that I Googled and found, which run as follows:


Know Your Stroke Symptoms

The symptoms associated with TIAs or minor strokes are the same as for major strokes, but they may last only a few minutes.

They include any one or combination of the following:

Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body

Sudden trouble speaking or understanding


Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes

Dizziness, loss of balance, or sudden trouble walking

Severe headache with no obvious cause

In an effort to educate the public about stroke symptoms, the National Stroke Association launched the "Act F.A.S.T." campaign early last year.


Again, I imagine I am wrong about this but I am emailing you with this anyway to share.

I myself have gone through very serious misdiagnoses. This is why I am more than aware that this can happen, hence why I also wish to share this.

All the best to you all, and I hope she is in fine fettle and the above has not applied to her.

Handel profile image
Handel in reply to presto816

Hi presto. I'm with you to be honest.

Not all TIA's show up but I think we were being optimistic that it was nothing more sinister than a panic attack.

She's now back in Britain and has visited her own GP who strongly suspects a mini stroke so the wheels are now rolling to either confirm or refute this.

My dad (mind you he's 97) suffered several mini strokes and each one took a different form, obviously depending on where the mini clot sat for a few seconds.

Better to know for sure I think as something can be done, whether it's blood thinners, statins or a combination of stuff.

I really appreciate your comments. I'll let you know what comes of all this xxx

presto816 profile image
presto816 in reply to Handel

My apologies that I'm answering your response to mine a month late, Handel!

So how is your daughter-in-law doing at this time? Did she have a mini stroke, was that the diagnosis in the end?

Without getting into details of why, I have just been reading about how women are so repeatedly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed regarding heart attacks. The statistics are shocking - particularly since women are in the majority in the population, no way are they a "minority". No new news to me, but I was sending someone a number of links today as it happens, so it's on my mind as I write this.

Back to your daughter-in-law: I hope she's doing much better, and coping well.

Hi Presto.

As a first aid instructor, I was running a course today when one 44 year old lady on the course suffered a heart attack!

My daughter in law has had every test and scan in the book! The hospital and her GP have put this down to ocular migraine. She's had a few episodes since then but these have all ben visual disturbances. She's not long started a stressful job so that may not be helping.

She's having a 'full MOT' next week so I'll report back.

Thank you so much for your concern. It's really appreciated xx

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