Confused!

Alisonwendy

Registered User
Jun 3, 2004
2
East Sussex
I wonder if anyone has had a similar experience to this.

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia following a stroke just over a year ago. Since then her condition has deteriorated rapidly. At the end of last year my father-in-law was not coping with the incontinence and non co-operation and she was beginning to be violent towards us. At the end of February she was sectioned and looked after in a secure unit for assessment. She totally lost her speech and then swallowing. Finally in April she was taken into hospital, with pneumonia and treated with antibiotics. We were prepared for her final days. Imagine my surprise when I visited her and she was sitting in a chair laughing and joking and talking more than she has done for the past year. She also has no memory loss. In the weeks following we have been able to discuss her condition. (She said herself that she was suffering from a degenerative brain disease). Now she is slipping back into silence so I am very confused!

Any comments would be apreciated.
 

Kriss

Registered User
May 20, 2004
513
Shropshire
Hi Wendy

please keep posting updates on her condition - my Aunt deteriorated rapidly over a period of approx 6 months - mini strokes we think - finally moved into a home about 8 weeks ago. Physically she is much improved but because she cannot communicate very well it is difficult to tell just how poorly she is mentally.

If it isn't bad enough coping with the practical problems of AD then the unpredictability of how it all may progress makes it so much more difficult to deal with.

Kriss
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
It seems there's no one path through anyone's experience of dementia. Sometimes there are periods of seeming remission - often when a medication regime has been changed or adjusted. I have learned to grab such times and enjoy them while I can because, overall, improvement is not the usual experience.

It could be that medications your mother-in-law was prescribed while in the secure unit were discontinued when she had pneumonia. Or it could be just one of those things that unaccountably happen.

As she seems to be slipping back now, just keep on talking quite normally to her, and make your visits as normal as possible. [it may be worth checking her medication again to see if she is back on reduced amounts of whatever she had before, and that may have contributed to her loss of speech]

'Normal' visits probably won't do any visible good, but she will know, and that is what is important. Always hold on to the fact that she will still be in there, somewhere, even if she can't tell you explicitly.

Best wishes
 

Alisonwendy

Registered User
Jun 3, 2004
2
East Sussex
Thank you both for your support. I certainly keep talking normally to Jeanne and tell her all my news. Her husband visits every day even though he is very frail with chronic emphysema. Just two weeks ago there was talk of her being discharged home as she was so well, now no one knows what is to happen to her. I just have to take it a day at a time.

My step father-in-law had alzheimers and he seemed to follow a very very different path, one that I recognise from the things I have read. But with Jeanne everyone has said there are things that just don't fit the AD symptoms. I suppose I just hoped there was a wrong diagnosis and she could be cured of what ever was wrong with her. I think I have to give up on that idea now and be happy that we have a wonderful video (1 hour 1 min long) of her apparent return to normality, in which she is so happy to see us and so grateful for all we have done. Somewhere inside that person is still there and we can keep reminding ourselves of this.