My wife had a stroke on 31st May. She spent two months in hospital and another month in rehab (which she hated).

She has made good progress physically and in combating her Aphasia, but in the last couple weeks, she’s had gastric problems, so far undiagnosed. Our GP is actively investigating the issue, but my wife has become increasingly despondent and withdrawn. Today she announced she will no longer take her medication. She has no appetite and been prone to nausea and retching. I’ve explained this will only get worse if she won’t medicate, but so far she is adamant.

I haven’t been able to discuss this directly with the GP as yet, but I suspect she might suggest my wife needs to return to hospital for further evaluation. I would support this approach, but wonder if anyone has advice on how to address her refusal to help herself.

Hi Steve

Welcome the forum.
oh gosh you are both having a rough time.

Phone the GP and get advice, as they are investigating her gastric issues you need to update them on her despondency and refusal to take meds and to get help from them.

Also phone the UK Carers Helpline for any other advice

Carers UK information and support
Our telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email (advice@carersuk.org)

Finally get in touch with the local Stroke group and have a chat on the phone with the group leader.
They have a lot of information, help and advice especially regarding the issue of despondency.

I hope it will all come good soon.

Hi Steve,

You have both been through so much in recent months.

Could her medication be making things worse?
I have a very sensitive stomach, and have to be very careful of some things.
Is she able to swallow OK?
In our family, my youngest resorts to Weetabix or baked potato when he has a stomach upset.
I prefer tinned rice pudding!
Is she able to tolerate live yoghurt, something like Activia, Rachels, or Tims?

Thanks Breezey and Bowlingbun

I’ll try to respond to both your replies. I’m in close contact with our GP and the local stroke organizations. Haven’t surfaced the refusal to medicate as it’s only come up today but I will do so ASAP.

She’s been off her food for some time now, but up until a couple weeks ago I managed to get her to have a small tub of yogurt and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Very occasionally she would have a small bowl of soup but all this nourishment has now come to a screeching halt.

The medication is primarily a blood thinner, an anti-reflux blocker and, as of yesterday, a tablet to be dissolved to combat the nausea and retching. GP doesn’t think these should exacerbate the problem, but if my wife sticks to her guns I suspect we’ll see pretty quickly.
One thing’s for sure: whatever the outcome anything negative will be my fault. :unsure: :wink:

I notice my post has somehow ended up in Caring and Physical activity: Useful links, tips, and advice on how to be active,
which doesn’t seem to be the most suitable fit–would it be more appropriate in a different topic and, if so, how can I get it relocated?

I can move it for you Steve - which section would you prefer your topic to be in ?

Maybe “All About Caring” or “Tips & Practical Advice” or “Other specific conditions and disabilities” just let me know :slight_smile:

Tips & Practical advice sounds good


It’s such a shame that the person who loves her most of all and is trying so hard to help in every way, is getting the blame.
Is her current level of understanding good enough to talk about facing this problem together?

Thanks, Bowlingbun, but deep down inside I know it’s not really her doing the blaming. I can handle the flak :+1::wink:

Hi Steve,

welcome to the forum.

she definitely isn’t constipated? That can affect appetite and could cause her to feel nauseous and retch, especially if she has been constipated for sometime. Constipation doesn’t necessarily mean not opening her bowels at all - she may be partially opening them but not passing enough. A stroke can affect the ability to empty the bowels.

Just a thought.


PS I have moved your thread to the Tips and Practical Help section as requested. I have left a link in the original location so that members who have replied will be able to locate it easily if they want to contribute more.

Hi Steve

It’s great that she’s made good progress physically, but some of what’s going on may not be physical.

Stroke causes a lot of damage: hospitals concentrate on the physical, but there is a massive effect on the mental wellbeing. We all have a certain image of ourselves, and stroke comes along and demolishes it. It’s only 6 months since your wife had the stroke and she’s probably feeling that life has come to a complete halt. It may have affected her appearance, and that is a real concern for a woman. Scrub that, Anyone. But if you’re someone who habitually takes great care over your appearance, a stroke is very likely going to tear your self-image apart.

Obviously, I don’t know your wife, so this is all guesswork. But almost every stroke victim I’ve ever known really struggled in the first few months because they knew what they’d lost. And it’s easy to get fixated on that. And, if they’ve lost so much - why bother?

All I can suggest is that you try talking to her about the emotional side of stroke. Are you part of a stroke club where you can meet with other stroke survivors and their carers? That might help you both.

Charles, that’s a good point about appearance.

After my husband died I couldn’t be bothered for ages, then became allergic to the hair colouring my hairdresser was using. I have a photo of me when I was 55 and looked 75 with pure grey/white hair!!! I didn’t recognise the woman in the mirror.

Eventually I found a new hairdresser who used a different colour that I wasn’t allergic to, and decided to have my hair cut, brows and lashes tinted every month, waxing as required.

When I’m asked my age now, people can’t believe I’m 70. When I went to the town hall to get a free bus pass form, the woman went to get it, then turned and said “I’m sorry, but they are only available for over 60’s.” My eldest son has never been impressed when people mistake us for brother and sister.

There are plenty of home hairdressers and beauticians in my area, they charge less than a salon. For my birthday I usually have a facial, such a lovely relaxing feeling. I also enjoy a hand massage with a manicure, and a pedicure.

If you are struggling to cut your wife’s toenails, this would be an especially good way of introducing a beautician, as they can keep toenails under control.