• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

From Healthy to Full Alzheimers In An Hour

kirbylee

Registered User
Nov 24, 2014
4
Sever years ago my mother was very healthy both mind and body. One night my mom and dad went to bed and she fell asleep. A short time later ( one to two hours) dad noticed something wrong. She wouldn't respond to questions and mostly just stared. Unable to walk my dad carried her to the car and drove her to the hospital where I met them. In the emergency room she lay there wondering where she was and who all these people were including me. A nurse started to take her pulse and my mom yanked her arm away and told her not to touch her. She had absolutely no idea what was going on. An hour later the doctor came out said he couldn't seem to find anything wrong. Then he asked me if this was her normal behavior or does she seem different? I couldn't believe he asked that. As calm as I explained to him that just a couple of hours earlier she was perfectly normal both physically and mentally. I went on to tell him how she has always seemed to be above average in intelligence and just as sharp thinking as him or me. He went to see her again. 45 minutes later him came back out and said " We think she may have had a TIA ". He had no idea.
The next morning I went back to see her and she was much better. Not like she was before this episode but was able to talk , knew who I was and other family members. She just appeared to be tired and maybe a little slower thinking than normal. Within a few days she was back driving helping at the office etc. but not 100%. I noticed she seemed to have lost her edge and noticed she would forget small things now and then. She may have been 80 to 90% herself. Her condition stayed pretty much the same for a few years until one afternoon we were at a house my dad build in the country about two hours away.My dad told me to go upstairs and check on mom. She had went to take a nap but that was three hours ago. When I got up there she was trying to get out of the bed and pretty much in the same state of mind when my dad took her to the emergency room. Again she didn't know who I was, couldn't walk , talk, and had no idea where she was. On the way to the hospital she tried to simply get out of the truck while going 60 miles an hour. I guess she wasn't aware that we were even moving.
After arriving at the hospital they checked her and admitted her. The next day she seemed to be somewhat better. Knew who I was , and most everyone else, but wasn't near at all herself. Simple questions were hard for to answer and some she just had no clue. After a few days passed she did begin to improve but nothing at all like last time. We couldn't let her drive and when she began to cook something in the kitchen it scared us to death.
One very interesting thing, was her gait. She walked while looking at the floor with tiny short steps. An absolute perfect match to a "NPH Magnetic Gait". Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus. If anyone thinks they may know someone with an abnormal such as this gait or would like to know what "Classic NPH Magnetic Gait" looks like, type it in Youtube. My mom walked exactly like that. Many doctors have misdiagnosed NPH as Alzheimer's. Nearly 400,000. One doctor that specializes in NPH said that many doctors simply don't take the time to talk to the patient and just don't take their time. He went on to say that many doctors see a patient, that's 75 years old with symptoms of short term memory lossmaking hasty diagnosis , short term memory loss, Incontinence , confusion, speech difficulties, and behavioral changes. In other words, NPH symptoms are very similar to Alzheimer and the diagnosis is simply wrong. A very sad but life giving fact is that for many NPH patients there is a one hour surgery involving a shunt in the brain that allows the built up spinal fluid to drain allowing the pressure that is mashing on parts of the brain causing these problems in many cases to simply go away, and sometimes by the end of the day return back to who they were after 10 or 15 years confined to a wheel chair and unable to preform simple math such as 3+2. One returned to his dental practice , another resumed his work as an engineer, and one woman began to play the piano for her church after she became unable 15 years earlier. She had played 40 years for her church until she was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer.
About 4 years after my mothers second episode I decided to go check on my mother She had decided to go to bed one night around 10 o'clock like she always did. When I walked in her bedroom there she was trying to get out of the bed just like before. My dad, my cousin and myself helped her up and into her wheel chair that she used on and off. Again, she didn't know who we were and appeared very confused and didn't talk.
She recovered somewhat and was able to walk a little bit on her on but would forget in the middle of a sentence, burn food to charcoal, try to eat a lid to a jar of jelly she thought was a piece of toast and be convinced my dad was having an affair with his sister. His sister and her husband were staying in the house and helping out with my mother and my father which was very sick with throat cancer during that time. Soon she began to loose her balance and would fall injuring herself. It broke our hearts but we had no choice but to put her into an assisted living facility. Now she is in a nursing home. Its horrible.
I am just not able to tell all the other things, well not briefly anyway. After I talked to her doctor about the possibility of her problems being something other than Alzheimer's, she became very angry. A month later when I took mom back, the same doctor began telling my mom that she wasn't at all sure if her problem was in fact Alzheimer. She wouldn't even look at me as I sat in the room. The doctor went on to tell her that she is positive its not Alzheimer and was going to pull that from her chart. The doctor went on to tell her that she is going to send her to a neurologist.
To cut this short, I finally talked to the Mayo Clinic and flew her there for several doctor appointments and test they had scheduled for her. She never had Alzheimer, but the first doctor that saw her after an hour of reading my mom medical records looked at me and said ... My first thought was the same as yours. NPH. I felt like God was going to give my mother back to us and she was going to be just fine with that one hour shunt surgery. But then the doctor went on to say , BUT, you mother is not a good candidate for that surgery. My heart sank.
I should have simply just asked if anyone has ever heard of anyone going into this severe dementia type state within an hour or so? The doctors are missing something and it is just so hard for me to figure out the cause of her problem. Im not a brain surgeon, or even an MD. I'm just a used car dealer. I would be glad to finish this story if anyone is interested or answer any questions. I know there has to be several things I forgot and left out, some probably very important. One thing I just remembered was that the four ventricals in her brain were extremely enlarged from the spinal fluid that wasn't able to drain causing pressure.

If anyone has someone that may have experienced anything similar or may have some knowledge of what may have happened in this case please contact me.
I'm sure I have missed if not forgotten many things. One important one I just remembered was that her MRI showed the ventricles in the brain to be extremely swollen which made NPH an even more possibility. The Mayo Clinic also agreed with this. The enormous amount of spinal fluid was unable to drain causing the pressure to mash on certain parts of the brain. I had a spinal tap ordered which drained some of the fluid in order to see any improvement. There was, although it was only slight, it was noticed by several family members and lasted a few weeks.
If anyone has someone they think may have the same or similar condition or has any knowledge of the things I've described please contact me.

I apologize for all the mistakes I made. I'm just tired and will try to come back and finish this.
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,506
Near Southampton
Hello and welcome to TP.
What an interesting post and a heartbreaking one too.
I have never heard of this before. I know of Hydrocephalus of course but not in this context.
If only your suspicions had been taken seriously years ago.
I'm wondering why your mother is not a good candidate for the shunt surgery but perhaps it is now her age.
That is a real shame.More than a shame, a tragedy.
I'm sure your insight into this condition will be of interest to many others here and even a help too.
I hope that your mother is well cared for in her nursing home even thought that might be of limited consolation to you in view of your previous doubts and misgivings.
I wish you all the very best.
 

kirbylee

Registered User
Nov 24, 2014
4
Hello and welcome to TP.
What an interesting post and a heartbreaking one too.
I have never heard of this before. I know of Hydrocephalus of course but not in this context.
If only your suspicions had been taken seriously years ago.
I'm wondering why your mother is not a good candidate for the shunt surgery but perhaps it is now her age.
That is a real shame.More than a shame, a tragedy.
I'm sure your insight into this condition will be of interest to many others here and even a help too.
I hope that your mother is well cared for in her nursing home even thought that might be of limited consolation to you in view of your previous doubts and misgivings.
I wish you all the very best.
The words you wrote are appreciated more than you know. Thank you

I cant remember exactly why she wasn't considered a good candidate for the shunt surgery but I think it had to do with her blood pressure or the medicine for it. Not everyone is a good candidate, but I think most are. This stuff is not only hard to comprehend but also hard to retain.
I wish you the best of luck.
 
Last edited:

Sammyjo1

Registered User
Jul 8, 2014
194
About 30 years ago my mother stopped being able to walk and became very feeble. It was obvious something was wrong with her but noone could work out what it was. Eventually they discovered she had a benign tumour in her brain which caused a build up of fluid. By the time she got to hospital to have a drain put in, she wasn't able to answer any questions properly and didn't recognise people.

Immediately after the drain she became her old self again and bounced back quickly.

Are you able to find out why your mother isn't a good candidate for the surgery?

It must be so frightening for you and so difficult not to be able to find a fix for what is going on.
 

kirbylee

Registered User
Nov 24, 2014
4
About 30 years ago my mother stopped being able to walk and became very feeble. It was obvious something was wrong with her but noone could work out what it was. Eventually they discovered she had a benign tumour in her brain which caused a build up of fluid. By the time she got to hospital to have a drain put in, she wasn't able to answer any questions properly and didn't recognise people.

Immediately after the drain she became her old self again and bounced back quickly.

Are you able to find out why your mother isn't a good candidate for the surgery?

It must be so frightening for you and so difficult not to be able to find a fix for what is going on.
It's amazing when I read of someone getting their life back like your mother. I can not imagine how you felt when they told you they thought they had a good chance of helping your mother become herself again. Even harder to imagine would be when you saw that she actually did become herself again. I'm very glad for you and of course her too.
I cant remember exactly why she wasn't considered a good candidate for the shunt surgery but I think it had to do with her blood pressure or the medicine for it. Not everyone is a good candidate, but I think most are. This stuff is not only hard to comprehend but also hard to retain.
 

Sammyjo1

Registered User
Jul 8, 2014
194
Just to clarify, my mother was ill for a few months 30 years ago rather than being ill for 30 years...

And she had one good year before having a fatal stroke. But it was a very happy year
 

stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,707
North West
As Saffie says an interesting and heartbreaking post. Thank you so much for sharing this as what you are telling us seems to be relatively obscure when it's something that will probably interest a lot of members.

I was thinking a spinal tap would be rather an ordeal for someone with dementia and wondered how your mum reacted?
 

Sammyjo1

Registered User
Jul 8, 2014
194
Sorry to have confused you. She had a shunt in her brain to drain the fluid. And although she showed some dementia symptoms it was only for a short time and she didn't have it. It was purely the result of the build up of fluid.


Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
 

Recent Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
113,595
Messages
1,662,546
Members
64,710
Latest member
Anne Elizabeth