The wife of a man who suffered a devastating stroke only noticed something was wrong because he kept yawning a lot.

Margaret Dempster realised that her husband had been yawning more than usual and didn't quite seem right in October last year at their Glasgow home.

The couple's worried son suggested calling an ambulance and when paramedics arrived they explained the 61-year-old was having a stroke, the Daily Record reported.

He was rushed to hospital where he spent five months recovering after emergency treatment.

Margaret said: "The paramedics said the yawning meant he was having a stroke. He didn't seem right, but it was just the yawning.

Margaret and Brian Dempster were not able to see each other for six months (


Daily Record)

"There we were on our way to hospital at 12 o'clock at night.

"I had no idea that Brian yawning would be such a big deal, I just thought he was tired but then it turned out to be much more serious."

According to the Stroke Association fatigue and tiredness are a side effect of stroke, with some sufferers yawning excessively.

Clinicians believe it is because it may help the body to regulate and reduce brain and core temperature.

Dad-of-four Brian was rushed to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where a terrified Margaret was told he would either recover, partially recover or die.

Thankfully, the dad survived, but spent five months as an in-patient undergoing treatment.

In that time, Margaret was only able to see her husband twice due to Covid restrictions.

In February this year, Brian was moved to a care home where he is monitored 24 hours a day.

Now Margaret has described the horror and the heartbreak of seeing her husband undergo his recovery battle.

She said: "This came from nowhere. He was a hard-working person before his stroke.

"His right side is badly affected and he babbles, even though he knows what he is saying. But he tries hard to communicate with his family.

"It's sad seeing him like that, confined to a bed or a wheelchair. His sons find it hard to visit.

"But Brian is a fighter and he always has been."

Margaret is now going through what she describes as the 'toughest time of her life'

She said: "I'm in my house myself at night and it's hard because he's missed a lot. He's missed our anniversary, Christmas and our kid's birthdays.

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"We were always together so its really hard trying to adjust to everything.

"I still can't believe that yawning was the start of this."

Brian's family are trying to raise cash to make his life as comfortable as possible and want to buy him an adapted chair that will allow him to socialise with others at his care home.

John Watson, Associate Director of the Stroke Association in Scotland, warned that signs of a stroke can vary patient to patient.

He said: "It’s crucial that a stroke is recognised as quickly as possible so patients can get the emergency care they need by calling 999.

“The FAST test can spot some of the most common symptoms of stroke. They are Facial weakness, Arm weakness and Speech problems. However, each stroke is different and there can be other signs, so it’s important that if you suspect a stroke, to treat it as a medical emergency – Time to call 999.

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