1. Jennywren

    Jennywren Registered User

    Feb 2, 2004
    North London
    Briefly outlining my position. 24/7 carer for my mum who has had AZ for the last 7 years. During the last 18 months she has had approx 5 what I call 'funny turns' where she displayed one or more of the following symptoms - total confusion, unsteadiness, vomiting, anxiety, sobbing, holding her throat and others.... On 3 of those occasions I called 999 as i had no idea what was wrong. The paramedics on all occasions said her blood pressure was very high and because she was unable to communicate took her to emergency. After tests etc. they found nothing wrong and she was allowed home. On the 4th occasion I waited to see if she 'got over it' and just sat with her consoling her quietly. On the 5th occasion I took her round to the doctor (not an easy task in her condition at the time but doctor would not come out!!!) Last week it happened again but this time she was at her day centre. After each 'funny turn' her AZ took a turn for the worse. Just a small thing each time but a definite decline. However, after the turn at the club last week she has gone down hill a great deal i.e. not being able to feed herself,occasional incontinence, agitation (more than usuaal) unsteady on her feet, lack of appetite and sleeping a great deal. I am wondering if she is having small TIA's?????? Would anyone out there have any suggestions regarding this.
    Many thanks for any posts, love to all you carers out there.
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Hi Jennywren - welcome to talking point.

    I have to say that while none of us here are medical experts, my first thought is TIAs, particularly as you say she has hypertension and she has downturns after every episode. Mind you I imagine there are a few other things that could present like this - epileptic seizures for a start. Have they done any scans? For the most part I believe that TIAs don't necessarily show up on a scan but something more major (like the one at the day care) might. Having said that, though, even if it does turn out to be TIAs there not a lot that can be done medically. In that situation it's all about controlling the underlying condition - the high blood pressure, any clotting disorder or atrial fibrillation. Did the GP say anything pertinent?
  3. Jennywren

    Jennywren Registered User

    Feb 2, 2004
    North London
    'Funny Turns'

    Thanks for your reply which is much appreciated. To be honest my mother's, and mine come to that, doctor has been almost next to useless with my mum's condition. When mum first started to worry herself about her memory for almost two years he kept turning her away with the quote 'go away you silly woman it's old age!!!!' It was not until I got involved as I knew it was not simply a case of old age that something started to happen. It is all a very long story and his attitude to AZ still leaves a lot to be desired.
    I took mum last week to him after the turn. He sent us for blood tests and said he would arrange some examinations. No blood results yet and obviously no appointments (they seem to take forever). Mum has definitely taken a drop of around 30-40% in her abilities now. She could feed herself fairly easily before the turn and now cannot feed herself at all. She mumbles to herself all the time. Her speech has not been coherent for some time now but she did not mumble to herself, which also happens in her sleep. She has also lost all conception as to how to dress whereas previously she would make some attempt albeit in the incorrect order. I have the social worker visiting this afternoon and will report on her findings. Thanks again for your info and thoughts, every little bit helps. As I am completely alone as a carer I am really feeling very low and at the far end of my tether......
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I got exactly the same response from my mother's doctor. It was several years later when she had had a stroke (actually 2) they found evidence that she had had a previous stroke. From everything I've read this myth that with old age automatically comes failing memory is just that, a myth. There may be nothing that can be done to treat the underlying problem, but it's always indicative of something.
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    #5 Grannie G, Dec 11, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2007
    Dear Jennywren.

    I can only suggest you keep a record of all your concerns about your mother. Keep it in diary form and present it to the GP, It might then be taked more seriously.

    When I went to our GP with my diary, to tell him of my concerns, he did take me seriously. Admittedly tried to rule out depression as the only cause of Dhiren`s symptoms, but eventually accepted there was more to it that just depression and sent him for a scan.

    In spite of Dhiren refusing to attend two appointments for a scan, the time from my initial query, to diagnosis, was 16 months. It would have been much shorter, if he`d attended the first appointment.

    We live in a small seaside town. There is a high population of elderly retired people. I wonder if it makes a difference, if the GPs see more cases of dementia, do they recognize it earlier, take it more seriously, or are we just lucky with our GP?
  6. Lucy O

    Lucy O Registered User

    Jul 4, 2005
    Hi Jennywren
    Your mother's 'funny turns' sound just like the funny turns my mother has when she has a tia - she has vascular dementia and Alzheimers. There are, apparently, drugs to help avoid frequent tias, but my mother was so far gone by the time they were mentioned we didn't use them - that was 4 years ago and she is still struggling on! The one good thing I can tell you is that although my mother does go downhill after a tia, she usually picks up again, nearly to where she was, after about a week or so.
    Good luck with the GP!
  7. Dave W

    Dave W Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    Hi - my experience with Mum is similar too (again, a combination of Alzheimers and Vascaular Dementia). At various points, there's been fainting, giddiness and sickness and then a noticeable sdden decline in her abilities for a while - usually, things do pick up again afterwards. Medical science doesn't seem to have a great deal to offer by way of explanation or diagnosis (although Mum is on medication to control blood pressure and possibilites of clotting and thrombosis, so the preventative option is being taken), but the pattern is familiar.

    My experience with local population patterns rings a bell here too: Mum was originally on the London/Surrey border, in an area with a large elderly population, and all the services in the area seemed pretty familiar with dementia. (My problem is that I live in a new town with a young population and Mum is now nearby in a home so we can visit: the home have been excellent, but everything else as left rather a lot to be desired.) Good luck with the GP from me too - a good GP is worth their weight in gold. Failing that a good CPN is pretty amazing too, but that seems to be much more 'luck of the drawer'.
  8. germain

    germain Registered User

    Jul 7, 2007
    Hi all
    Just to agree with most previous comments - our Mum has had AZ for about 3 years and has been on Reminyl from the start. After a miracle initial improvement, deterioration was very slow and steady UNTIL this April when suddenly she started having falls, funny turns etc. The elderly care consultant at the hospital (she was admitted a couple of week ago after a TIA) told us that her brain scan showed signs of old stroke damage. We're now assuming that the mini strokes or TIAs started from around April - but we never ever saw any signs at all (at least from a non-medical expert view point) until last couple of weeks.

    And now , unfortunately the Reminyl will be stopped so we enter a new phase.

  9. Jennywren

    Jennywren Registered User

    Feb 2, 2004
    North London

    Thank you all for your very important imputs which I have read with interest. I am picking up on these TIA's being very common, and I think this one is either mum's 4th or 5th but definitely the worst in respect of her downward trend. We have now ascertained that she has a UTI as well and has been prescribed anti-biotics. There is not really any change in the down trend abilities so I am beginning to think these may be here to stay. Have been looking at care homes for the last couple of days to see if I could 'give in' to a couple of weeks respite........trouble is one half of me says I really really need the break, the other side is consumed with guilt. I am sure this is a dilemma that lots of you have faced or are facing. Will keep posting and thanks again, any further mails would be welcome.
  10. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #10 Margarita, Dec 14, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007

    Have you taken respite in the past ?
    would this be your first respite ?

    Try not to perceive it as giving in to respite , just getting some extra support to help you carry on caring for for your mother in the future .

    I've been taking respite since 06, first time yes , did make me feel guilt. guilty for what ? I ask myself now , can't remember . But I do remember how much better I felt about myself when I take those respite , 24/7 caring is draining , so taking respite make me feel rejuvenated , what make me feel good must project on to my mother to help me carry on caring for her as long as I can .
  11. Jennywren

    Jennywren Registered User

    Feb 2, 2004
    North London

    Hi Margarita and thanks for your reply. This is the problem really, I tried my first respite this time last year. Unfortunately after 3 days mum 'escaped' at approx 4.30.p.m. in the afternoon. Pitch black, in an area completely unknown to her. The police finally picked her up after a kindly person rang them after finding mum walking aimlessly around. I finally got her home at approx 10.p.m. and you can imagine what I state I was in by then.
    I was told that she had been restless the whole 3 days. Now I am so concerned, not so much that she will escape as she has lost some more of her capabilities during the last 12 months, but that she will be very unhappy. Not the same home I hasten to add but I am sure you understand my worry.
    Your comments regarding your mum's respite and how it has helped you makes me feel more reassured that I will be doing the right thing for both of us. Did you lose your feelings of guilt after the first respite, which I assume went well????? Jenny

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