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Grandmother, completely lost it... please help

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Old 06-30-2004, 01:00 PM   #1
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Wendy222 HB User
Question Grandmother, completely lost it... please help

Not even sure if I'm in the right board, but this site has been a great help to me through the years...

My 83 year old HEALTHY grandmother recently went through a tough month. She was misdiagnosed and suffered severe pain and swelling in one of her feet, ending up in the hospital with a raging infection and almost lost her foot. Anyhow, after weeks of treatment and antibiotics, physically she is comepletely fine. Mentally she's lost it.

After she was admitted into the hospital, she was out of it, we thought due to the pain medication. However, after weaning her off all meds at this point... she still is acting like she's on Morphine or something. We are talking about a woman who was once sharp as a tack and is now a babbling, miserable, crazy woman. We have ruled out stroke. Like I said, physically she is fine.

Could this be some form of post traumatic stress syndrome? Can traumatic events, such as a life threating and painful medical condition cause someone to completely lose their minds?

We've since brought her home, hoping that the familiar surroundings will help her feel safe and comfortable. But there has been no change in her mental condition.

I guess I'm trying to figure out if this is something physical that is causing her mind to be shut down or is it mental?

Any help and/or advice would be appreciated.


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Old 06-30-2004, 03:49 PM   #2
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Re: Grandmother, completely lost it... please help

What type of mental conditon are you speaking of? Is it like Alzeimers? Or has she just flipped? How old is she?


Old 06-30-2004, 04:31 PM   #3
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Re: Grandmother, completely lost it... please help

it sounds like it could be, but I wouldn't rule out a chemical/physiological reaction to meds. Some meds, especially pain meds, can affect the way the brain processes certain chemicals or neurotransmitters, and this can be long term, if not permanent. It sounds mroe like that, unless she suffered trauma that you don't know about in the hospital. There are millions of safeguards, but the odd night nurse can get through and really scare a patient. Also, at her age, suddenly being so helpless can produce its own trauma. I'm really concerned for her. I strongly recommend a full battery of tests to rule out the physiological. If those tests come back normal, then you may want to have a patient advocate (all hospitals in the US have them) look closely into the staff and into the treatment your grandmother received while in their care. Definitely make the patient advocate aware...this sounds serious.
Keep us posted.

Last edited by zimnah; 06-30-2004 at 04:34 PM.

Old 07-01-2004, 08:58 AM   #4
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Re: Grandmother, completely lost it... please help

Thanks for your help. To answer your questions. She is 83 years old. And no, it's not like Alziemers. She knows who we all are... she acts like a 2 year old. Temper tantums, nasty, talking back, talking to people that aren't there. Just odd behavior.

As far as an injury at the hosptial, that is unlikely since my Grandfather has not left her bedside since she's been admitted. Every time he left to go home one of us family members sat with her. But that's a good point. Maybe something simple like bumping her head could have caused it. They ran a CT scan and that was normal, wouldn't that indicate head trauma.

The idea about the meds causing long/short term brain damage... I guess that's possible. Because that is when it all started. When they started giving her pain medication.

Just wish we could figure out why she's not with it anymore. It's hard to treat her when we don't know if it's physical or mental?

I know they had her on anti-depressants, which they are going to take her off of. Wonder if that could be doing it?

Thanks for your input and help. I am worried about her too. Thanks for your concern.


Old 07-01-2004, 08:29 PM   #5
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Re: Grandmother, completely lost it... please help

You said she's acting like a two year old with temper, and tantrums...that's textbook mild dementia. It's an eroding of the normal functions of the brain. Unlike Alazheimers, dementia doesn't attack the memory circuits and slowly erode the memories that make us all who we are. Dementia just acts as a barrier to all that we have that causes us to think before we speak, and can cause our emotional resonses to revert back to an earlier developmental a 2 year old, as you said. This condition can be spontaneously induced by trauma. Please, any doctor available, especially those with geriatric specialty, get them involved, and make double sure all doctors have the same access tot he same informatin, same test results, etc. That way, your grandmother gets comprehensive care that will help her heal.
Good luck. This is not an easy time. We're here for you.

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