I know that anesthesia can accelerate Alz if a person already is showing symptoms, but can it actually cause it? She has been very sharp for the most part for a person of 82, but maybe I've not seen any symptoms that were already in place.
Those of you who don't know, my aunt had elective hip-replacement surgery. Brought her home yesterday and she has forgotten where some things are in her own home...that have always been there. Not to mention that she's been repeating the same story to me that I already heard...several times.
When I tell her that I already know, she gets upset...when she couldn't find her purse in her house where she always keeps it...she got upset. I told her that it was her first day home; she needs to get acclamated again.
An appt. with her PCP is next month and she does want me to have him give the question and answer test to her. So at least she's aware that something is not right. I think she's afraid the same thing will happen to her that happened to my mom (her sister) who now is full-blown dementia/Alz.
I keep trying to comfort her and tell her that she has to trust me to talk to the doctor and we'll go from there...luckily, she's all for it.
She has no memory of a lot of things before surgery...some very important things concerning her own health.
Perhaps the hoarding is a symptom..she is well aware how her house is out of control. I cleaned off the kitchen table so at least there's a spot to sit and have a cup of coffee.
Yesterday, she insisted I pour her a cup of water in this absolutely; disgusting plastic cup (the kind you throw out that comes in packages at the store)...YUCK! We got into a bit of a tiff but she insisted her water had to be used from this crappy cup. So, like a good little neice, I gave her the water in it. It is so stained from different juices...but geez...it's awful!!
Hubby (retired) wants to sell our house to our boys and move south...right about now I'm ready to fly off on the next plane!!
Thanks for listening to my rant...what would I do without you all? You're a blessing to me, that's for sure.
Last edited by sunnydaze1; 11-16-2008 at 04:41 PM.
I hope for your sake that this is a temporary setback caused by the operation, anesthesia and hospital stay. But some damage would probably remain even after this all wears off. Good luck with her. I hope you have an alternate plan in mind for when she gets worse ...
I know with every hopsital admission my Mom has she has had 7 this past year and 3 rehab facilities. With each one of those admissions she would return home more confused. The transition from rehab to home is always stressful.. She is currently in Rehab now recovering from a bone infection in her foot. She is due to be discharged on Wednesday after being away from home for a month. I know it won 't be easy when she comes home she will be wiped out and very confused and agititated. Each admission into the hospital sets her back with her Dementia /alz.
Martha, having been through this with my mom, I think I can handle it with auntie. Although, she's a bit stubborn when she wants to be. An ALF where my mom stayed for a few months is like a golden palace...hoping I can talk her into it if need be.
Hopefully, she will be alright for awhile.
Pauline...I know exactily what you're going through. Thanks so much to both of you for such quick replies to my neverending fears.
My worst fear is that I'm missing the best years of MY life and will fall into the dependent wife/mom for hubby and boys because I'm following heredity. But...life is unpredictable.
Last edited by sunnydaze1; 11-16-2008 at 05:27 PM.
I truly do hope that you are not dealing with yet another case of demential Sunny. I do know that anesthesia and hospital stays can cause confusion in the elderly but I do hope she bounces back. It would definitely be worth talking to her physician about this and having her tested. I truly understand that wish to fly away to the sunny south.... far enough to find a palm tree by a warm beach and a little, no big, drink with a cute little pink umbrella in it. But somehow it never seems to happen that way.
With a grandmother, several aunts and great aunts, a mom and a dad with dementia.... sometimes I do let it flit through my mind. Then I push it back and try to live each day like it is my last. Yes, that includes taking care of Mom and Dad but that's part of what my life is about. I just hope that is never me......
Being hospitalized can't cause AD, but the changes in routine can be enough to cause disruptions in brain functions which were already damaged. If you view an AD patient's brain as functioning with countless rubber bands, AD can be viewed as a chemical erosion of the rubber bands. Eventually, a rubber band will break and a memory or a particular ability is lost. The disruptions of a hospital stay or other change in routine puts some pressure on the rubber bands too, breaking more of them. While other rubber bands might take some of the pressure and do "work arounds" for a little while, eventually there will be some areas of the brain that aren't supported by rubber bands and a function or memory will be lost forever. Your Aunt's memory illness may have been progressing slowly, but the hospital stay broke some of the connections which made it less evident.
Another contributing factor could be the anesthesia. I have read that anesthesia can cause micro-strokes, which for most people are nonevents. For an AD patient, however, these micro-strokes might cause further damage to areas of the brain that are already damaged, causing an apparent downturn in the Alzheimers' disease. (I'm not a doctor, but I compulsively read every book on AD that I can find...you'd have to check with her physician to find out if this micro-stroke theory has any merit.)
And, of course, Alzheimers' often has drop-offs after plateaus, and her hospitalization might simply have corresponded with a drop-off. If it wasn't clear that she had Alzheimer's or another memory disease before her hospitalization, she might have been one of those patients who were able to cover their illness very, very well, particularly when they were following long-established routines in their own homes before the change in routine.
Even if it runs in your family, you don't have to get Dementia.
Anyway, all that news from Scotland a few months ago sounded like a real cure, some medicine that can reverse the brain damage, was on its way. This gives me hope. It still has to go through more testing to be approved, but those in the experimental program showed actual improvement, not just slowing down. Let's just believe that by the time we are going to be affected, if we are, that drug will be here!
In my opinion it is as important as the polio vaccine or the antibiotics. Anyone who has seen this disease destroy a loved ones mind and body will agree with me.
Meanwhile, enjoy your life now, as much as you can. No beach, no ocean? Go to your local indoor pool!
Oh Sunny...sounds like you've got your hands full! Bless you, bless you for paying attention to your aunt's needs! I'm sure she's plenty scared when she is realizing new challenges...especially if she's observed loved ones following that path.
Like the others here...I think it's unusual to have Alzheimer's actually CAUSED by anesthesia...but the fact does remain that this horrendous disease digs in a little more every time there's a change in location, health, or circumstances.
You mentioned "hoarding"...yup...it does accompany Alzheimer's. Your description of the styro cup reminded me of the 2 hours I spent simply sorting the variety of styro cups, plates, and trays that my Mom had stacked under the kitchen table! YOIKS! She had to have been the "Champion Hoarder"...a little known award that goes out to Alzeimer's patients that had families who ignored obvious hoarding behavior! Her house took over a year (every weekend we sorted, sorted, sorted...) to get thru! Unfortunately, this also can be a learned behavior passed to the next generation. Really!
My 5 siblings and I all had to step back and admit we'd better all do something about this habit so OUR children would not have to do what we did!
Martha...thank you for posting that Scotland info; I'd not heard about it....we all could use some positive feelings!
Beginning...loved your "rubber band" analogy...somehow makes all this less befuddling !(love that word)......Pam