Progress at last!!! Well its a start....

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Gromit, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Hi everyone, sorry it's been a while. Thought I would give you an update....

    Quick re-cap for those who don't know me. My Dad has been suffering with his short term memory and for 12months now we have been trying to get him to a doctor without success ("nothing wrong with me", denial etc). We tried lots of different things - I even tried phoning his Doctor, but to no avail. If you want the full story its starts at this link:
    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=3111

    Anyhoo, today is a good day and also a bit of a sad day too. My Mum visited her own doctor last week (she has trouble with her blood pressure) and she had lost alot of weight (again - I think its due to stress and worry about my Dad). Mum explained how both of us have been trying so hard to get Dad to be examined. Her Doctor suggested making a home visit to see Mum and then also try and examine my Dad too. Well we have been worrying about today, wondering what Dad might do if a doctor turned up on the doorstep (seeing as I couldn't even get his own Doctor to do it!!!). Mum has been beside herself keeping today a secret.
    Well it all went perfectly - the Doctor showed up (Mum acted suprised - her acting skills are certainly improving these days!). Dad was fine about it - can you believe it - he happily let her take his blood pressure, then she did the memory test on him (he got quite a few things wrong - like day, date, his age etc). The doctor got him to promise to go to a specialist clinic which she will arrange - and in the meantime he will have some blood tests done. I could hug the Doctor - Mum said she handled it perfectly and both the Doctor and my Dad built up a good raport - Mum said they were laughing and joking together - wow!!! Dad said if he was a horse they would shoot him , the Doctor apologised that she didn't have her gun with her today! Brilliant - someone with the same daft sense of humour as my Dad - exactly what we need! I hope the clinic are just as good!

    Well, the Doctor spoke to my Mum and unfortunately said it does look like Alzheimers but cannot confirm until he has all of the tests done. So it's good news that we have now had him looked at by the Doctor - but sad too as I suppose I'm still holding out in the hope it will be something else (Mum too). Better to know though I suppose.

    Anyway - I just wanted to let you all know how things have gone (I first mentioned this on TP back in April I believe) so its taken a bit of time to get where we are - but I couldn't have supported my Mum and kept my sanity without all the kindness and words of wisdom on this site.

    Many thanks - and I will keep you posted as events unfold.....
    Love and hugs
    XXXX
     
  2. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    715
    If only all Doctors would do that

    My Mothers Doctor has not seen her in 5 months and that was only when she went with DVLA questionaire to complete and he apparently told her " you know yourself better than I doo " in which time she has rapidly declined yet when i phoned him trying to get him to do a home visit i just got told that next time he or his colleagues saw her they would see what they thought otherwise we simply have to wait for a crisis

    At 90 yrs old and living alone , along with 95% of the time not answering the phone or the door and stubborn as hell i wish someone would tell me what equals a crisis
     
  3. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    First off, congratulations on finding a Doctor who's prepared to go the extra mile! At least you must feel that there is some progress. From what you say, your father's problem is as likely to be vascular dementia as Alzheimers. I'm not sure if that would be good or bad news - the only meds really available for vascular are blood thinners and possibly blood pressure drugs, depending on the causes of the TIAs (mini-strokes) that cause the dementia. On the other hand, vascular dementia is not, necessarily, a terminal condition.

    Jennifer
     
  4. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Getting attention

    Helena - I can understand your frustrations only a little - sounds like you have it really tough - I think it is a disgrace that the situation isn't a "crisis" what the heck are they waiting for???

    My Dad's doctor was rubbish - I spoke to him on the phone and we agreed he would write to Dad to get him to go in for an appointment - he never did. We found out from my Mum's doctor (same practice) that Dad was overdue for a blood pressure check - so his own Doctor could have quite easily got him in and we didn't need an excuse either!!!

    The reason I think this Doctor has come to visit is that my Mum sees her regularly and I think the Doctor noticed how stressed she was and also how ill it is making her with worrying. Mum has enough ailments of her own to deal with and this wasn't helping.

    I feel relieved a bit now - I have visited my parents so much over the last few months (I live in Scotland they are in Yorkshire) just to try and pursuade Dad to go to the doctors - now I can go and visit without that pressure and we can all enjoy our time together!

    Jennifer - I apologise for my ignorance - how can you tell the difference between AD and VD
     
  5. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello Gromit

    I am so pleased that at last things are looking up for you all, whatever the diagnosis is, at least you will know what your options are for the future.

    I think the scariest part for us was not knowing what was wrong with Mum, for her too. Once we all knew it seemed a little easier somehow.

    It has been a rough road for the last 6 years, but at least we can arm ourselves with information and do all we can to make it easier for her.

    Your Mum will be feeling better about things too now the doctor has taken your Dad's problems seriously.

    Let us know how you are all doing.

    Kathleen
     
  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    Ultimately, the only certain diagnostic tool is post-mortem, which isn't much use to us now! I believe there are some blood tests which can indicate a likelihood, but I think much of the diagnostic process is more art than science. Does your father have blood pressure problems, or any heart disease? Both of those can lead to vascular dementia, and if that is the case, and if there is any indication that he may be having mini-stokes and the dementia is progrssing by "steps" I think that tends to lead to a diagnosis of vascular rather than alzheimers. Many people end up with a diagnosis of "mixed" which personally I think sometimes means "we have no idea".

    These 2 info sheets should gibve you more info if you haven't already seen them
    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Facts_about_dementia/What_is_dementia/info_alz.htm
    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Facts_about_dementia/What_is_dementia/info_vascular.htm

    Jennifer
     
  7. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Thanks Jennifer

    Thanks for the info - v helpful.
    His blood pressure is fine, cholestral low (how that's the case when he still eats fat on the meat and swears by dripping sarnies!!!), etc.
    He did have an episode last year where he felt washed out and slept nearly all day (plus was a bit shaky) - ended up at casualty - they ran some tests but reckon he was fine (maybe he had a mini stroke and we didn't know?). Every so many months or so he feels this way - but reckons he has the flu. He was recommended that he should take half an asprin per day (not sure he still does this - probably forgotten!). He also got it into his head (probably from some tabloid) that Asprin can cause stomach ulcers and stopped taking them - I think you shouldn't take asprin if you already have a stomach problem but I don't think they are the cause.

    I'll keep you posted as to whatever it is we find out he has. Who knows. I agree with your comment on the mix of AD and VD - sounds a bit bogus doesn't it!!!

    Oh well - at least we are now "doing something" - which feels alot better than "getting nowhere"!!!!

    I'm phoning the doc at 5.30 today - to say a big thankyou for visiting my parents. Plus I need to ask a few questions that my Mum didn't ask (it was a bit stressful for her and its difficult to remember all the points you want to raise at times like these). I also want to get some ideas for timing of the next tests - want to make sure I am there for Mum and Dad when he goes to the specialist clinic.

    All the best
    X
     

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