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Post surgery relapse?

My 70 year old Mum had emergency surgery last year for a brain abscess, after spending two months in hospital she came home. She had a few weeks of physios and therapists visiting but once that stopped there was no support.

Mum was slowly recovering, her speech, memory and walking all improved. But then over Xmas she got the flu, and have not recovered properly since. Mum no longer has flu symptoms, but wants to sleep all day, anything she does from just getting dressed to walking around the house is enough to cause her to be short of breath and feel exhausted. She saw the GP who said to come off the Keppra and see if that helps, it’s not made any difference and now we have the added worry of possible seizures. I’ve tried to persuade her to go to the hospital and see the surgeon, ask for a CT scan etc etc, but she (and Dad) don’t like making a fuss!

Is constant tiredness a normal recovery problem?

She also has worsened memory, is very unstable on her feet, but as her first symptom last year was headaches she thinks all is ok as she doesn’t have a headache.

Any advice or ideas, help, comforting words appreciated 😊

9 Replies

Possibly she still is recovering from the flu, which is a serious infection.

But no though I was very tired and slept at lot, still do to be honest it was Linear in that it’s much less than it was.

Be tempted to have a chat with GP or hospital that discharged?


I'm in my 50s had a sah August 2017 went down with the flu 23 rd December and still not functional my irregular heart and depressed lung function along with exhaustion are the main legacies, the flu symptons being many more.I did have anti bs which helped but this is a countrywide bug which seems to go away but comes back. As there seems to be so little help, support, monitoring or nurturing with brain injury post surgery aIs slit if people report on here I just don't function in order to try and get through but a backward step adding vicious bugs such as this winter flu.Hopefully the flu symptons will eventually pass and can start moving forward again I hope so x

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Exhaustion is probably the commonest after-effect of brain injury, and with a viral infection during her recovery period (our brains need months to recouperate) it's not surprising your mum is feeling wiped out.

I still struggle with fatigue and can sleep for England if I allow myself to, and that's after 6 years.

It can take weeks to shake off the effects of present-day viruses when the brain is already compromised, and I imagine sleep is what your mum's brain desperately needs more than anything right now.

Keep an eye on things. You know your mum better than we do but the fatigue isn't unusual. Best wishes, Cat x


It’s takes time to recover from any brain injury/ illness. I was 38years old and I’m still experiencing problems 3 years on. So for someone older it must be difficult. I would make her see a doctor for peace of mind but the tiredness is an ongoing recovery process.

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Hi Kavib, i can undersatand your reasoning here and the age and recovery rate might apply in some instances but not all.

I was 59 when i suffered my BI, and although i, 6 years on, still have problems with fatigue and physical problems, memory and executive functioning returned very quickly.

Recovery is a very individual journey the fitter your body and brain are prior to the trauma then this can make the recovery period shorter.

It is fairer to say that it is still very early days and the viral infection wont have helped at all.

Once the better weather kicks in im sure this will help the recovery, my personal recovery seems to follow the seasons, the winter always seems to undo some of the progress made throuh the rest of the year.



Hi all, and thank you for your reassuring replies. It’s such a shock to see a once very fit and able parent age so rapidly.

I’m going to insist she goes to her Gp and asks to be referred back to the neurologist. It will put the whole families minds at rest if she has a thorough check over xx



Sorry to hear about your Mum. My gut reaction is to see a GP asap.

I had a brain abscess 3 years ago and was put onto keppra. I came off it by choice and unfortunately lost my driving licence for the 2nd time due to 'episodes' - partial seizures. Does it cause exhaustion? Not for me. I have had flu recently and that knocked me out for a few weeks - I felt totally exhausted.

Was your Mum ever given a phone number for an epilepsy nurse?

Anyway, my only advice is to see your GP if you can't go back to the Neuroconsultant. Have you thought about ringing his or her secretary up and having this conversation. They are usually very helpful.

Sorry I am not much help. Hope your Mum feels better soon.



Thanks Kate, I’ve tried to persuade Mum to go back to see a different GP (hers didn’t spot the warning signs of the abscess and it was almost too late 😡) I’ve contacted her surgeon and he said he would arrange for her to have another CT scan, but nothing has come through yet x


It is great that you are seeing a GP. I hope all goes well.



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