recovery from a mild brain injury, post concussion syndrome and lapses

Has anyone on this forum had experience of people having lapses or bad days after post concussion syndrome?

My mum had an accident a few months ago when she hit her head and cut it badly when washing her hair in a sink. The bash and cut was at the rear left of her skull. She lost a lot of blood and was very dizzy. Fortunately, she was still aware enough to call her best friend, who heard mum say she was dizzy and haemorrhaging.

Mum passed out again as her friend heard a thud on the floor and called paramedics. We think she sustained a second bump on the head when she

passed out. They took her to hospital where she was very confused. She improved and within 2 weeks, was discharged.

A few days after coming home, she was crying in the kitchen. She told me she was scared because she was cold and did not know how to turn the heating on. I was very shocked and took her to the GP, who said her symptoms were caused by the accident after repeating a memory test done in hospital and it would take time for her to recover.

Mum improved over the next few months. Some of the headway readers may have seen my posts about cook books by Tina M Sullivan, Nourish your Noggin,

which I have used. Mum has often sounded like a text book case of Dr Diane Roberts Stoler's book on concussion, especially the chapters on

memory and the execution function.

She did not have any noticeable memory problems before the accident.

She has not been the same since, but I have noticed market improvements. She has lost some of her confidence for sure.

What I have noticed and found strange since she has been recovering is that even now and again, she has a day or some hours in the evening in particular

when she is more tired where her memory seems a lot worse. For example:

- I have been with her since end September/October to help her since the accident. On Christmas day, she thought I had come home only 2 days before Christmas. (She managed to get a small glass of port on Christmas eve so maybe that set this off?)

She does recall that I have taken her out to the GP, to town with me to a cafe and to visit her sister.

- I arranged to have a garage door remote control fitted in November so she would not have to struggle with a heavy door. She has used it several times and has a remote control device herself in her bag. A man called to read the meter a couple of days ago. She did not realize we had a door automation+remote and tried to get the man to open manually. (This won't work). She told me she did not have the key to the side door to get it open. I got it from her bag and showed her. I think she was in a panic because the meter reader was waiting and she wanted to open the door for him as fast as possible.

- On the same day, she thought she had not been back in the house for so long, just a few weeks rather than months.

The next day her memory can improve again. She knows she has a remote controlled door and that she had an accident months ago.

She manages to peel and cook vegetables, but she has lost confidence in the kitchen. She can do a crossword puzzle. She is still good at doing sums.

She can do simple administration, but writing 20 Christmas cards out was too much for her. I ended up helping. She wrote 2.

I do see some correlation between smaller lapses and tiredness sometimes.

Have other people noticed relatives having these off days now and again during recovery?

13 Replies

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  • i am in total despair of my 18 yr old grandaughter who was hit on the head by a section of wood 3.5 yrs ago and suffers total hell with stabbing pains and migraine ever since and not one neuro gives a care

  • That is so sad that you have not got support from any neurologists for this. Headway does care and I hope like me that you are finding support in this community and from the headway team. I hope your she improves. Did you try alternative treatments like aromatherapy or diet? I've had migraine myself at times which I found out is triggered by any type of wine, port or sherry even in the smallest quantity. I've found taking cod liver oil (tip from my mum) and doing sport such as jogging or cycling on a regular basis helps me to avoid migraine.

  • tried all of that and more

    nothing helps and she never drinks anyway

    whats worse is local headway guy said she is stuck with migraine and the stabbing pain 24/7 it never lets up and stops her getting a ights sleep which simply adds to the problems

    As for the "worlds leading neurologist" he could not care one iota for her suffering

  • This is an awkward one for me to reply to, so excuse me if it may sound harsh it isn't intended to.

    One of the things is that is surprising is that how a relatively simple accident can have quite a significant change on peoples lives. However, any injury can come with psychological problems which can raise other symptoms: mood swings, depression, isolation etc. This is one of the biggest problems for carers on this forum is separating the physical from the psychological. ,

    As someone going into the latter years, there is also the ageing factor, where naturally we are more absent minded, resistant to change and have different levels of sleep and fatigue.

    The other difficult thing is that both the injured and carers can be on the lookout for symptoms and tend to match behaviours to an injury or in some cases develop symptoms to correspond to those that are expected for a particular type of injury.

    Writing that wa difficult, for carers to balance all that out is even harder.

    We all have better days and worse days, few can predict which one you will get when the sun comes up in the morning. Some of us are lucky to get our shoes on the right feet one minute but then do a Sudoku like a pro but then forget which year we are in.

    The whole head injury issue is a complex one for the injured and also the carers. I would ask your GP for a NeuroPsychologist review for your mum

  • Thank you for your reply, balanced view on the various factors here for a more elderly person and advice.

  • I'm coming up on my year's anniversary of my concussion. I have had times when my symptoms have worsened. From seeing others' posts, it seems to be normal and probably a sign that she's overdoing things. It's easy to do too much when you're feeling better and then end up "crashing" with symptoms getting worse again. They should get better again with rest.

  • >Have other people noticed relatives having these off days now and again during recovery?

    Yes, it is pretty common to have off days for sure. You may also find some helpful information here: headway.org.uk

  • I'm high functioning but I have good and bad days, sometimes good and bad hours!

    Generally caused by tiredness-overload-panic-so on.

    I'm much more anxious than I used to be, in fact I didn't worry at all before. In fairness I don't worry, I get anxiety about being on time or events etc.

  • Thanks Roger, mum was always anxious about being on time for events before her accident as well.

  • I'm the same, I was never depressed or anxious before my injury, but now sometimes anxiety completely floors me. So much so after resisting antidepressants for over a year, I've finally given in as I really couldn't carry on at work much longer.

  • Thanks Sue. I hope you recover soon.

  • Thank you everyone for these comments and sharing your insights with me. I left a message for headway on the helpline and was called back for a chat by a very kind advisor. Thank you headway!

    I have more information on how I can ask our GP to help to monitor mum's progress, how to encourage mum more and the online resources. I was making a small diary about her progress before, but Headway advised me to use it to monitor days when she is challenged to try to correlate these with any stressful events or tiredness. I shared headway's advice with mum when I came off the phone. She recognizes herself that she has some challenges. For example, returning cooking utensils to their place in the kitchen. I put some labels on the doors and shelves recently to help her and she said they are very useful and make her feel able to complete the task herself without having to ask someone.

    A very good point made is that any type of traumatic accident will impact on someone's confidence.

  • Hi - sorry to hear of your mums problems. In my Rehabillitation I was told to think of each day (or part of a day) as a backpack full of everything I need for my journey through the day. As you climb a hill, (do something hard or challenging) some of the things you need fall out. If you climb lots of 'hills' in the morning - you need to tsk a rest and fill up your back pack again before you tackle the next part of the day. Using up everythjg in your backpack will mean you have nothing left by the end if the day. It seems very much to be the case with me. Do to many challenging things in the morning and afternoon and I'm in tears by 4 pm. Perhaps your mum needs to try and pace herself a bit - not take on too many things in each day until she recovers a but more? Good luck

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