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I lost my mum to a SAH and have some questions?

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Not sure if this is the right place, feel free to delete if not ..


Warning - kind of depressing ..

I lost my mum to a subarachnoid hemorrhage 2 years ago and I'm still not exactly sure what caused it ..

She didn't smoke, drink, do drugs and was pretty healthy (she was 52 when it happened) ..

There were no warning signs, she just went to bed one night and never woke up ..


Me and my sister had recently got our own houses and I can't help thinking if one of us had been there things could have gone differently .. 


Does anybody know how long something like this would take to kill a person?


Also, I know it's probably not relevant but she had moved house (out of the house I grew up in) only weeks before this happened and I know stress can do crazy things to the body .. 


Long shot but can stress contribute to something this severe?

Finally, does anybody know if she would have woken up or felt any kind of pain or even fear?


Sorry this wasn't the most pleasant post but I really need some clarity.

Thank you in advance.


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Hi Maeve firstly it was nobody's fault never ever blame yourselves for moving xxx


Secondly I would say she probably died in her sleep so even if someone had of been there they wouldn't of heard anything xxx


I know of a few people who felt nothing leading up to it (their families have said) then collapsed and died there now if that be the case there was no pain for me I just felt really drunk then went down, then started being sick xxx


Stress can be involved in causing it raising blood pressure and things but everyone is different xxx


So sorry you lost your mum xxx

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Hello Maeve and also a warm welcome to BTG.


So sorry to learn that your mum passed away following an SAH.


Please don`t feel bad about asking these questions ..... it is only natural for you to be looking for answers if you and your sister are still struggling with coming to terms with your loss. You will find so much information on this site about the challenges faced by those who have survived SAH.


Did you receive much help from the hospital consultants at the time?


How and when an SAH happens can be so different for everyone, and following an SAH some can continue for days without a diagnosis or even attending a hospital, while others like your mum pass away quickly. One thing is certain, the fatality rate from SAH is very high.


Most survivors recall experiencing a severe headache (often referred to as a `thunder clap` or being hit by a hammer) 


You mention stress, and while some have been involved in stressful exercise when it happened, many others have not.  Also you can imagine that so many people are living stressful lives and never have an SAH.


I do hope that you and your sister can move on knowing that your mum would have passed away peacefully.  Please don't dwell  on the `what if`s for too long.


Wishing you both well as you find the answers you are looking for.










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Hi Maeve,


i am very sorry to hear that your mum mum passed away and I am sorry for you and your sisters loss.


The effect of an SAH are different for everyone but it is a very sudden event and in that it has the effect of any sudden life threatening trauma . I read a surgical view early after my discharge that a SAH is a "catastrophe" which in some ways I think is a good description. The larger the bleed the more the senses and functions are knocked out 


A SAH is still relatively rare but it is a very disabling and dangerous type of stroke and we who are here to post are the 50% who survived but we always keep in our thoughts those like your mum who weren't as lucky.


i have no recollection of my sah event when it happened to be honest and it was a while before I knew I was in hospital. I suspect your mum had a very big bleed whilst sleeping and just never woke up. and knew no pain.  I hope that helps.  

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Hi Maeve,


I'm really sorry to hear that you lost your Mum when she was so young and you naturally have these unanswered questions going round your head.


It's perhaps equally impossible for us survivors of subarachnoid haemorrhages to know the answers to your questions, but my personal opinion is that your Mum probably didn't suffer and would have passed away peacefully  - I base this on the fact that as she was in bed, she was probably asleep up to the bleed starting and as it was a severe bleed, I imagine she would have lost consciousness quite quickly and therefore felt no pain. 

Whilst a lot of people experience a thunderclap headache immediately, I didn't when I had mine. My peripheral vision closed in to the point that I thought I was going to pass out and die and remember thinking afterwards how quick and painless that would have been.


Please don't feel guilty for not being there - my daughter was there when I nearly passed out and had mine been as severe a bleed as your Mums, she would not have been able to do anything to help.


I'm not sure if your Mum's bleed was from a ruptured aneurysm or whether you even know, but the chances are that if she did have an aneurysm that she was unaware of, then it's quite likely that she was born with the weakness on the blood vessel which over the years turned into an aneurysm by the general pressure of blood.  I was 46 when mine ruptured and bled - I had no warning at all although I was under a lot of stress at the time and have always believed that the stress caused my blood pressure to rise, causing it to rupture.  On the other hand, due to fact that my aneurysm was there anyway, it was quite likely that it could have ruptured at any point in time, with or without stress at the time.   Every subarachnoid haemorrhage is unique and sadly many are not as fortunate as us to survive the initial bleed.


I do hope that my post has helped a little bit and not led to more questions or distress for you -that would not be my intention.  I really understand how upsetting it is to lose someone close, having myself lost 4 family members since my sah,


Wishing you and your sister a happy future,



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Hi Maeve


I'd just like to echo all that the  others have said before me. I suspect it is highly unlikely your mum even knew about the bleed and would have passed quite peacefully in her sleep. 

When I had mine after being taken to hosptial and scanned whilst waiting to be transferred to the Neuro unit I fell into a coma and felt nothing. I often think if I had not survived then I would not have know anything about it - just not woken up.

Stress is often blamed as a reason and although I had a fairly stressful life, I was out running while it happened, something that always helped my stress levels,  so who knows.


I Hope you and your sister can come to terms with your loss, it must be so hard and I hope we here on BTG have answered some of your questions.


Clare xx

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Hi Maeve,


When I had my SAH I saw my Mum but she wouldn't talk to me, maybe a dream,  but I like to think my time wasn't up and she was not making me welcome lol xx

My Dad got told off for singing with me and my brother by my Mum.  All had passed on xx


Surgeon told me stress is bad for us so I sing when on a downer.  It keeps the stress away xx


All what the others have put I agree with.  I was cooking a curry on a Friday and had been feeling rough/tired all day.  Hubby came home early and I passed out. ?? 


Awoke when shunt went in head to stop hydrocephalus.


My Daughter has migraines and since my SAH I was worried for her but she had a scan and her brain is in good nick,   phew xx


Hope you and sister keep bright  when possible,  as your Mum wouldn't want you to worry about her xxxx  


Good luck to you 


Winb143 xxxxx








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Want to thank you all so much for your replies, they have definitely helped put my mind at ease.

Guessing it's not too nice having to go back to these memories, so I really appreciate it :)

Hoping everyone is doing well now and wish a good recovery for anybody still affected.

Thank you guys, maeve xx


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Hi Maeve


Can only echo what others have said.  I didn't feel mine until I came round after passing out.  Had that been it, then yes, completely painless and that's how I'd want to go.  Mine was caused by an aneurysm but no stress as I was on holiday at the time so I was completely relaxed.  


Please do not blame yourself and be plagued by "what ifs" and "If only"s.  Statistics show that roughly 8,500 people a year in the UK have an SAH - less than 1% survive - it has an extremely high mortality rate which, unfortunately, is why so little is known about it.


Is there any bereavement counselling that you and you sister could get access to?? Counselling helped me after my SAH so I think it would do you both the world of good.  But please, as the others have said, do not carry around unnecessary guilt - none of this was your fault.


Take care of yourselves xx

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