1. Rosalind

    Rosalind Registered User

    Jul 2, 2005
    My husband has a medical test this afternoon, for which we have to fill in a form with other medical details. I put in the fact that he has vascular dementia, and therefore may have some problems remembering the instructions that are given during the procedure (he gets much worse when nervous). He has now come into the room and asked me 'What's this about vascular dementia?'. I told him that was what was causing his memory problems, and was why we had regular visits by the CPN, get Alz. Support visitors and went to see a psychiatrist every few months. He seemed surprised. He definitely remembers the diagnosis when he was told, after a brain scan, that he did not have Alzheimers, but not the part that showed the bits of his brain that had disappeared due to vascular problems. It appeared to come to him as brand new news, despite him having the condition for several years.

    Now, he comes from a family that revels in medical detail, and if he had anything else, like diabetes or dengue fever, he would tell the entire world in much more detail than the world probably wanted to know. In the past I have tried gently suggesting that it might be an idea to mention that his memory was giving him problems in some social situations, without this appearing to have registered at all.

    Do I now try to make dementia part of everyday conversation, or carry on with him saying he is suffering from 'old age', or what?
  2. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Rosalind,

    My father always feels reassured when we talked about his dementia in medical terms as it gives him a label for his condition, rather than him feeling that he is 'going crazy'.

    Oddly enough, he recently seems to have fastened on to the fact that my mother has 'AD' [they both have] and can discuss it quite knowledgeably with other people in terms of Mum, rather than himself. He seems to have absorbed the information somewhere.

    I found that it was handy to discuss AD in medical terms when he was being serious and then make light of 'old age' when he was being flippant about his loss of memory.

    I think perhaps you might have to play it by ear for a while and see which approach is less upsetting for your husband at the moment of the discussion. Both options may work at different times.

  3. rummy

    rummy Registered User

    Jul 15, 2005
    I have also wondered what to do about telling my Mom what she has. My Dad wants to keep it a big secret from her but I think it would make things easier if I could just say, "You know Mom you don't recall that because of the dimentia you have" She will forget it in a few minutes anyway but I figure it would aleviate the duck and dodge we do around her lack of understanding.
    I think Jude is on track there.

  4. Rosalind

    Rosalind Registered User

    Jul 2, 2005
    It gets worse. Now he has had his colonoscopy, which he said was interesting and he could see it on a screen, but when the technician saw us afterwards she said they had found some polyps, and further up 'a growth'. He seemed remarkably unfased by this, despite being fully compus mentis as he had not had sedation. They have taken a biopsy, and the results will be through in a week.
    when we got home I asked if he was worried about the findings, and he said 'Well, they took it out, didn;t they?' I said no, just a biopsy, but wonder now if I should just shut up. He will probably forget it was only a biopsy, and I suppose it is possible that the growth is benign,but he has already had prostate cancer. I would have thought it highly likely that some surgery or whatever will be required.

    I think I am going to say nothing, and be very vague about any further appointments to see doctors, but as and when further diagnosis is available what the hell do I say?
  5. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Rosalind,

    In some way it sounds as though you are in a fortunate position, whatever news your husband gets, he is not going to be upset or scared by it, as he doesn't seem to be understanding the significance of what he is being told. It does put more responsibility on you though to make the decisions on his behalf, and you understand the possible implications of the biopsy, and have to carry that worry on your own.

    Take one day at a time Rosalind. Do not worry yet about the diagnosis, cross that bridge if you come to it.

  6. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    I did time back try to tell my wife that she had AD.
    She completely blocked that ,out often asking what is AD?
    I now only refer to memory problems and she has accepted that.
    She will tell people that she has a very bad memory and cannot remember thing and that she has never had a very good memory.
    We do joke about and say that we have one good memory between us and she shares mine.

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