My husband's symptoms

JJCsotherhalf

Registered User
Dec 14, 2006
1
Southwestern Ohio
I am getting worried about my husband. I understand the normal forgetfullness, but over the last couple of years his ability to name normal, everyday objects seems to be deteriorating. Everything he refers to is a "thing", or many times he just points at what he wants. For example: If he wants the TV remote control he may just point at it, or ask for the thing and if I press him to say what he wants, he might come up with "the TV thing".

Also, in some cases he cannot recall a conversation we had on a particular subject, even though it may have been quite a lengthy discussion at the time. On some of these occasions he becomes very angry and says I am imagining things or that I am trying to make him think he is crazy.

He frequently asks me the same question repeatedly or I have to explain something to him a number of times, only to have to go through it all again the next day, or week.

I mentioned this to our family doctor and they have him some kind of simple memory test and said he was fine, so now he just brushes me off when I show concern. I am sure something is wrong, but don't know where to go from here.

I'm really fishing here and would appreciate any advice offered. Thanks.

JJCsotherhalf
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
Hello, and welcome to TP

As you're probably aware, a lot of things can affect the memory: stress, tiredness and medication to name a few. So it doesn't have to be a disease, per se. I imagine that the doctor gave him the MMSE (mini-mental states exam). Although it can show specific deficits, it may doesn't necessarily pick up all problems. I say this becasue my mother was experiencing very similar symptoms to what you describe (particularly the long conversations which were subsequently forgotten) and the MMSE showed no problems. Unfortunately, it wasn't until she had 2 strokes that the scan showed she had had a prior one, which I believe was what caused her intial problems. I don't know how old your husband is, (my mother was around 85 when she had her first stroke) or if he has any other health issues (she had high BP, plus a heart condition). That could cause a pre-disposition to something like this. Having said all that, he may simply be, as I said at the start, stressed or run-down. Realistically, if he's seen the doctor, there's not a lot you can do in the short-term. Keeping a watchful eye, and perhaps keeping a diary of symptoms is about all you can do at this stage.

Sorry you have to be here

Jennifer
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,081
Kent
Hello JJCsother half. Can I echo what Jennifer advised about keeping a diary. I did this when I was concerned about my husband, so by the time I went to see our GP about him, I had concrete dates, times and incidents which could be presented.

My husband also was in denial, and he got very angry with me. He responded well to the simple memory test too. I was interested in the form of the simple memory test because the questions were numerical, political and geographical, all my husband`s strengths, and he answered them with ease.

The diary showed where there was difficulty, short term memory loss, confusion, deterioration of spatial awareness, constantly questioning, constantly consulting the calendar, depression, aggression, and loss of interest in newspapers. These were the main areas of concern and, written down and dated, shown the frequency of these difficulties was increasing.

Once you have some concrete evidence, then you can go back to the GP, without your husband, if necessary, and take it from there.

All the best, Sylvia
 

Helena

Registered User
May 24, 2006
715
JJC

You seem to be writing exactly what we would have written about my Mother

She had had high blood pressure and around age 85 had her first mini stroke

The first result was a loss of ability to understand figures

2nd was the loss of all plant names ( she knew them all inc the latin )

3rd was an apathy and loss of interest in pretty much everything but especially other people

4th was aggression , spatial problems ,and total denial there was anything wrong plus refusal to go near the doctors

yet she could in between times argue the hind leg off a donkey and could no doubt have done the MMSE

I would suggest that so long as Hypothyroid, Diabetes etc have been ruled out you may be facing he has Vascular Dementia
 

carolyn

Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
9
kent
your husbands symptoms

hello!
four years ago my partner eexperinced the very same symptoms of not being able to name objects. He then was referred for 'every physical test under the sun..bllod tests, heart lungs,daibetes etc etc . the test went on for a whole year.

Like your other half mine was very bright and he could present himself very well. The gps kept telling me he was depressed because all the tests were negative.

In the end i saw the Gp and made the point that he may be dpressed but there waws something else going on with him. By then he had lost two stone sin weight and spent the whole day lying flat.

Finally he had a CT scan which showed upthe problems. We then paid privately for him to see a neurologist and after an mri scan the diagnosis of vascular dementia was finally reached.

This took two years. By the time he ws diagnosed it was too late for aricept or the drugs that might have helped.

David has been through various stages and is now nursed by myself at home 24 hours a day. I hve help twice a day as well.

It may of course be something else and all doctors willw ant to exclude all other physical illnesses. But my regaret was that Dave daidnt have the mri scan much sooner. I would press for that with your doctors help (I mean he may accept it if the doctor talks to him).

Like Dave he is bound to be very frightened about what is happening to him and he may also become very angry as well. He wont be able to recognise how hard this is for you and thats why this website is so great.

It will mean a lot of advocacy on your part and you will need a lot of strength to deal with your own feelings as well but at least once you know the facts you can then get the help and support you need.

take care of yourself


carolyn
 

Jimcy

Registered User
Feb 21, 2008
2
wiltshire
early diagnosis

Hello carolyn, the problems seem to start when the GP doesn't have sufficient experience or knowledge to pick up the clues. We too took too long = four years for diagnosis. We were living in France the GP did not understand my anxiety about why a fluent French speaker my husband (like yours bright) was floundering with cheque payments/paying bills even shopping,depressed unnaturally angry and panic attacks and difficulty describing his problems...I believe the French GP thought he just didn't have the language! We saw a neurologist who picked up Parkinson symptoms but had no clear picture. We returned to UK because I felt he would be understood better..the first diagnosis was Alzheimers and thankfully he was put straight onto Aricept (2005) but when we finally settled in Wiltshire it was reviewd and dementia with Lewy Bodies was decided on because as I had said all along the symptoms did not fit Alzheimers. The Aricept worked well but he is now increasingly deteriorating and has lost mobility and beginning to lose interest in daily things although comprehension and some,not much expressive language are still reasonable given time to react. My belief is that whatever country GPs should be given clear guidelines on dementia symptoms and on suspicion be able to refer immediately to a consultant..perhaps the new strategy for dementia/older people may come up with something to help new sufferers to access correct support sooner. Eight years have now gone by since the early problems.. I now have help three mornings a week and am trying to get some sort of social life back..but noone except those in this position knows how not one but two people lose their lives. We must just..if energey left keep on pushing/informing Good luck we we are all in this dilemma together. Jimcy