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Old 10-02-2008, 11:47 AM   #1
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Mixed Results

Took Mom to Dr, who believes her problem is depression. He checked her physicly but did not really test her memory. Mom acted plenty confused. He gave her Lexapro, which she says she will try. Mom did sign the HIPPA form, so if there is no improvement I'll be calling the office. I hope this is the answer, but considering she had forgotten what the white pills were for by the time we got to her house, I have my doubts. Do I have to leave?
Q

 
Old 10-02-2008, 01:13 PM   #2
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Re: Mixed Results

Q,

If there is one thing I have figured out...and it is not a LOT of stuff I have figured out...it's that WE...let me repeat that...WE, the caregivers know our loved ones. The doctors, much as we depend on them, see our people for 15 mintues - 20 minutes, make their decision, let the conclusion roll down from on high, dismiss us, and then...we are on our own again.

I always used to leave the office dizzy headed. Whaddya mean, he's no worse? He craps his pants now, fergoodnessake. Whaddya mean, he is talking fine? He was rehearsing all the way here! Whaddya mean, he looks good to you? His lips are blue, and he looks like hell!

Do not take the doctor's "verdict" as gospel truth. YOU know mom. YOU know that she is all jacked up, and YOU need some answers!

How would mom feel about a new doctor? Ask around...see who people recommend for patients with beginning/moderate/severe dementia. And don't quit till you get some answers.

The reason daddy has this sweet doctor he has is that she schedules him 30 minutes each appointment, asks questions he is not expecting (How are you? How have you been feeling? Anything new?...these are all the answers he rehearses, and therefore, have no meaning. She asks him stuff like, "How about all that snow outside (when it's 75 degrees)?" and "Who is your friend with you today? (Me)...I love her), and seems to really take a gooood look at him. She is frank and honest, telling me stuff like, "He is really going downhill, isn't he?".

Look around, Q. You AND your mom deserve better.

...lil' deb

 
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:16 PM   #3
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Re: Mixed Results

Q... I feel your pain. I got the same thing from my Mom's doctors. Her first doctor diagnosed her as depression brought on by caregiving for Dad. Three years she hung on to his diagnosis as proof she was ok. After she accidentally gave Dad an overdose of Xanax and then told everybody he had a stroke or a heart attack, depending on who she talked to, I insisted she be properly tested. We had changed her doctor in the mean time and he didn't think it was necessary... "according to the chart"! Even after I took her to the Memory Assessment Research Service (the best in the state) and had her diagnosed with Moderate Sever Dementia consistent with Alzheimer, and I was explaining all the bizzare behavior, he wouldn't tell her she needed in home home (he knew Dad was well into vascular dementia and was not help to her) or tell her not to drive the 6 hour trip to the cabin (even when I told him she had gotten lost on her last trip and took 13 hours to get home). He told her she needed to focus more on her driving and try harder at home but she would be ok at home alone. !!!ARG!!! Then, after changing Dad's doctor, we discovered that Dad's diagnosis (for 6 years) of Alzheimer's was incorrect and he actually had Vascular Dementia. If I had not spent so many years working LTC I might have believed what the Doctors told me. But I knew better and I didn't stop until I had a proper diagnosis and proceeded from there. DId the doctor do the flash memory test, ask her any questions to test her current memory, or chat with her about current events?

I hate to say it but many General Practicioners and Family Physicians don't have a clue about dementia. Your Mom need to see a cognitive testing service, geriatric neurologist, geriatric psychiatrist, or geriatric physician that is familiar with the progression of dementia. Being on Mom's HIPPA you can request this refereal. With all you have told us.... I don't believe it's just depression. More likely depression brought on by dementia. Hopefully the Lexapro will help with the depression and then you can see if the memory and behavior improves. In the mean time see if you can make an appointment for a proper diagnosis.

I do wish you luck...... and don't beleive all you hear that is not what you know....

Love, deb

 
Old 10-03-2008, 04:43 PM   #4
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Re: Mixed Results

You are sooo right - and you are very lucky to have found a great doctor for your dad. We ARE the ones who know our parents. 10-15 minuts is not enough time to really evaluate a patient.

 
Old 10-03-2008, 04:48 PM   #5
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Re: Mixed Results

Deb,
After reading your post, I think it's a great idea for my stepbro to take stepmother to see a specialist in a larger city for an accurate diagnosis. We have never heard anyone really say she had dementia/alzheimers/et cetera. It's all been in roundabout suggestions. We should find out the actual diagnosis after next Friday. She went into a nursing home about 3 weeks ago after being admitted to the hospital from an assisted living home. It's amazing how quickly she has degressed. Ry

 
Old 10-03-2008, 05:13 PM   #6
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Re: Mixed Results

I agree that many GP's don't have a clue. It seemed like my Dad had to start having physical problems before they "saw" the mental problems. To a Dr, a healthy 80 year old patient is great - lots of job satisfaction for them!!! As long as my Dad was healthy they weren't really looking for anything else.

 
Old 10-03-2008, 07:20 PM   #7
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Re: Mixed Results

I think it is a great idea that your MIL is getting a proper diagnosis. Knowing what you are dealing with does makes it easier. Until Mom was diagnosed I didn't relalize that part of her problem was that she cannot process auditory input. You can say something to her and she will not process it or remember it. I thought it was a function of her poor hearing but it's actually a disfunctional part of her brain due to the ALZ. If we write it down, put it on a calendar, or show her a picture, she is more likely to remember it. That way we can help her. She also has trouble refocusing. She gets stuck. Thus her obcessive behavior. They were amazing in explaining to us what was going on in her head so we would understand and know better how to deal with Mom. That has been most beneficial. Each loved one affected by this disease is different. Hopefully your BIL will get useful information that will help him, and you, better deal with your MIL.

I agree teapot. Even after a day comprehensive cognitive evaluation, with him holding the 15 page report, Mom's doctor gave her a minimental and declared her better. She's an extremely healthy, very intellegent..... VERY CONFUSED.... lady. He just didn't see the confused part. So he gave Mom false hope and completely sabatoged all that we were trying to do for Mom and Dad.

Their doctor now is a geriatic specalist and she is wonderful. I am truly thankful for her

Love, deb

Last edited by Gabriel; 10-03-2008 at 07:21 PM.

 
Old 10-03-2008, 07:48 PM   #8
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Re: Mixed Results

Deb,
What I want for my mom is the kind of evaluation yours received. I'm used to trying to understand how my child's brain works, I see understanding her brain function as a tool to facilitate a plan to allow her to maintain her strengths, and work around her disfunctions, as long as possible. My mom sees any test to diagnose her mental problem as a threat. She was scared when I accompanied her to the examining room. I will not be able to get her to see another doctor unless things get worse. Which they might, she wanted to call the ambulance earlier because she is tired...I may soon have to take her anti-depressents, which would be ok since she forgot to take it today. I'm actually tempted to type the f-word.
Q

 
Old 10-03-2008, 10:43 PM   #9
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Re: Mixed Results

I found this research service only by chance. It was in connection with the psychology department of the university my daughter attends. My Mom refused to be tested at first. There was nothing wrong with her except a little depression from taking care of Dad for so long. She overdosed him on Xanax because he just drove her crazy. She told one friend he had a stroke and another he had a heart attack because she was so upset she couldn't think. Nope.. nothing wrong with her at all. So I just looked at her and said... "Prove it!" If we kept the appointment she could prove me wrong. She marched out of her room that morning with the strangest outfit I have ever seen on her. With stubborn determination she told the doctors she was perfectly fine and didn't know why I was wasting their time.

I will never forget the sad broken look she had when she walked out of that facility. She knew. By the time we got home she had made up her excuses. She didn't see the need to remember the people in those photos or their questions didn't make sense. She didn't understand much of the results visit. Then her doctor didn't help at all. She was retested 9 months later and she didn't argue about going and doesn't remember much of the testing or the results..... except they took her driving privilages away and she swears that was my doing. She is still telling us she is just depressed.

But you are right.... the details of her deficiencies has helped. I would really like to have her tested there again to see the changes but she had reached the limits of their research on her last visit.

How far are you from Williamsburg? I did an internet search and found a memory assessment clinic there. Might be worth checking out the Center for Excellence in Aging and Geriatric Health.

Love, deb

 
Old 10-04-2008, 05:10 AM   #10
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Re: Mixed Results

We're about 3 hours from Williamsburg, and I appreciate your efforts. I'm taking the quetzal to UVA on Tuesday for more autism evaluation. I'll see what they've got as they've been good for me for other complex problems. I honestly feel I'll never get her to go unless it's court-ordered or something. Mom would never go for the prove me wrong challenge, I suspect because she knows I'm right. She is also unwilling to go anywhere more than 45 minutes away because she's "sick..so sick."
Q

 
Old 10-04-2008, 05:22 AM   #11
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Re: Mixed Results

Hi all,
I remember the first time I took my DH to his Dr for a "consultation" he, the Dr, thought I was nuts. Now this was the first time I had met my DH's doc and he had always loved going to see him 'cuz they talked sports etc. So he didn't know me from Adam but I had scheduled this consultation because I was noticing changes and I wasn't going to leave that office until I had a neurologist referral and a script for am MRI. I accomplished both of these things and after months of tests, I was right...a dementia diagnosis. I realized right then and there in the doctors office that I was going to have to be my DH's advocate and fight for everything he needed, and I did, right to the end. For whatever reason, docs are hesitant to diagnose dementia but can't wait to throw out a depression diagnosis and I just don't get that. Anyway, like all of us are saying here, no one knows our loved ones better than we do and unfortunately, sometimes we have to fight for what they need.

Love to all,
Janie

 
Old 10-04-2008, 06:43 AM   #12
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Re: Mixed Results

Strange clothing seems to be one of the symptoms of AD. Mom wore the strangest combinations. My friend's sister now has AD, and all last winter she went out in a thin summer jacket (in this frozen northern state) and did not seem to feel cold. All summer she huddled indoors wrapped in sweaters.

My friend recently moved her sister to an assisted living facility They had to put an ankle bracelet on her with a sensor that sets off an alarm if she goes outside one of the outer doors -- she walked off at all hours of the day and night, wanting to go home. She is also incredibly angry at the whole world for forcing her into that place (after she agreed in the summer that she would enjoy the food, company, not having to cook, etc.)

You would think that a doctor would have that cartoon light bulb going off in his head when he sees his previously conservative patient coming in in red pants, a pink sweatshirt, green sneakers, and a yellow scarf ...

Love,

Martha

 
Old 10-04-2008, 01:12 PM   #13
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Re: Mixed Results

Bless your friend Martha.... her Mom is a clone of mine and I know what she will be gonig through.... except Mom doesn't wander. She just picks up the phone and tells us girls what horrible people we are after she has gone postal on the staff.

We are making progress since the last meeting. At least the psych watch has been moved from Dad to Mom. They finally realized that Dad is fine and long as Mom is happy. It's Mom's antics that gets Dad upset.... and I can't blame him at all!!

I agree with the strange clothes. My Dad dresses in dark brown. Dark brown pants and a dark brown plaid shirt. We have finally removed everything from his closet but these two items of which he now has many. You have to remember th plaid pattern to know if he has changed clothes. There is no telling what my mom will come out dressed in. The day she came out with the black slip and called it a skirt was a hoot.

Keep looking Q. These memory assessment clinics and research facilities are becoming more previlant. Hopefully you will find something at UVA or they can lead you in the right direction. The one Mom went to is in connection with UNC-W's psychology department. I understand they have created the clinical trial protical for a new med that is being investigated. They do baseline evaluation for anyone over 55 and it is not expensive. I am seriously considering going myself. Slowing progression works better the earlier you find the disease.....

Love, deb

 
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