Weird brain episodes

Tabby Mog

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5
Devon
Anyone any ideas about this? Last year, 5 years into the dementia journey, my husband David had a strange episode while we were out dining with friends. He went v quiet, needed support to walk to the car and once home started talking gibberish, not understanding much of what I was saying to him and unable to get up. Suspecting a TIA, I did the FAST test, which he did eventually manage without problem. His face wasn't lopsided, he could speak, poke his tongue out and lift his arms above his head. He then went to sleep in the chair. I wasn't happy and rang 111, spoke eventually to a doctor and an ambulance was sent. By the time it arrived, about 20 minutes later, he had woken up, gone upstairs to the loo and seemed completely normal again. I felt a right fraud, but the ambulance team checked him over, decided it wasn't a TIA, probably didn't require hospital treatment, but recommended I took him to the hospital stroke clinic the following day, which I did. The results were inconclusive.
Since then, there have been a couple of occasions where he just wouldn't get up in the morning, even for his trips to the day centre, which he loves. Neither would he speak on the phone to his sister, an unprecedented event. On both occasions he finally got up in the early evening and seemed completely normal.
Then last Easter, we went to visit that same sister, a lengthy and fairly horrible journey, and the same night he was taken ill with a single bout of diarrhoea and vomiting, followed by the lack of understanding, inability to stand and talking gibberish. My sister-in-law, who has been a carer, thought it was a stroke and we called the ambulance, but again the symptoms were inconclusive and he wasn't taken into hospital. Next day he was perfectly recovered.
A fortnight ago, another repetition, but this time after the previous day of being odd and finding walking problematical. Although he passed the FAST test, his speech was briefly slurred, so I rang 111 and again the ambulance was summoned. They weren't sure that it was TIA but erred on the side of caution and he was admitted to A&E where CAT scans, X-rays, blood tests, ECGs and every other sort of test showed nothing abnormal, but his mobility was awful so he was transferred to the local cottage hospital for a period of rehabilitation and to try and get his mobility improved, which it did. He's always liked hospitals and because he is so sociable, really enjoyed himself in there. He came out last Saturday, tired and a bit quiet but otherwise fine.
Yesterday he had yet another repetition of the same symptoms, only he was very distressed and tearful, which I'd never seen before. He was like it for about an hour, finally went to sleep and was OK when he woke up. Today he was fine and went happily off to the day centre that he loves. The manager wondered if it might be some sort of mild epileptic condition.
Sorry if this has been so lengthy, but I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced anything similar. He has mixed vascular dementia and Alzheimer's.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,321
South coast
Hello @Tabby Mog
My OH had a very similar thing on Monday last week. When he tried to get up in the morning he couldnt stand and was so dizzy he actually vomited. He couldnt even sit up without keeling over. Then he said his vision was blurred and his speech went all peculiar. I got him to smile, poke out his tongue and wiggle it and to lift his arms above his head. He had no problems with any of this, but I phoned 111 and they called an ambulance for a suspected stroke. We then spent the day in A&E and his symptoms started to resolve after about 3 or 4 hours, so that by the time he got to the afternoon he was back to where he is usually (I hesitate to say normal!). There was no stroke showing on the CT scan, but the doctor thinks it was a TIA and OH has been referred to the TIA clinic.

Its not always easy to tell what is causing things like this.
 

Manc70

Registered User
May 30, 2018
119
S. Yorkshire
Hi @Tabby Mog there are a lot of similarities with my husband’s symptoms. I don’t know about you but I could write a book listing all the different stages of this so called journey to the Alzheimer’s diagnosis which he had earlier this year, we still don’t know what kind it is. I was already worried about a change in his memory, thinking etc when he had a ‘strange do’ that made me call an ambulance - I had done the FAST test but only his speech was strange. The outcome after CT, stroke clinic etc was that it wasn’t a stroke although they treated it as one to be on the safe side with one month of medication. Then a long long story of appointments for EEG, sleep study, he had been having hallucinations for a few years and then these episodes every five or six weeks where he would suddenly feel strange, he would be unsteady on his feet, say his arms felt strange and had a pain in his head, seem a bit spaced out but could follow instructions to sit down etc (so difficult to describe but I managed to video him on my mobile for the neurologist). He was diagnosed and was treated for epilepsy and he still has medication for this but the neurologist still isn’t sure it is epilepsy. Then MRI, SPECT scan and neurophysiology tests before his dementia diagnosis and he has medication for both. He still occasionally has his strange episodes which under different circumstances I would be calling an ambulance which I only did a couple of times but the outcome is always the same, the episodes last a few minutes, leave him very tired and he sleeps for a few hours and then feels fine not even remembering that he hadn’t been well. The following day without fail he has always felt fine. Dementia aside during one of these episodes he goes from being a fairly fit looking man to being stooped and shuffling and just looking poorly in just a few minutes before coming out of it, almost like waking up. Each time I do the FAST test and worry I am going to miss when or if something serious really happens. Sorry it’s a bit garbled but it would be a very very long post to explain it all in detail.
Take care, best wishes to you
 

Tabby Mog

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5
Devon
Thanks for all feedback. Manc7 - it certainly sounds very similar to your husband's symptoms. How long is it since he was diagnosed, and are you noticing any increase in frequency of the episodes? David's are certainly getting closer together. TIA always seems to be the default suggestion on the occasions where I have rung for medical advice, but he's on Warfarin for Atrial Fibrillation anyway, and that's what he'd be given if it was a stroke. It's all very perplexing - but then the whole condition is anyway. Best wishes to you.

Hi @Tabby Mog there are a lot of similarities with my husband’s symptoms. I don’t know about you but I could write a book listing all the different stages of this so called journey to the Alzheimer’s diagnosis which he had earlier this year, we still don’t know what kind it is. I was already worried about a change in his memory, thinking etc when he had a ‘strange do’ that made me call an ambulance - I had done the FAST test but only his speech was strange. The outcome after CT, stroke clinic etc was that it wasn’t a stroke although they treated it as one to be on the safe side with one month of medication. Then a long long story of appointments for EEG, sleep study, he had been having hallucinations for a few years and then these episodes every five or six weeks where he would suddenly feel strange, he would be unsteady on his feet, say his arms felt strange and had a pain in his head, seem a bit spaced out but could follow instructions to sit down etc (so difficult to describe but I managed to video him on my mobile for the neurologist). He was diagnosed and was treated for epilepsy and he still has medication for this but the neurologist still isn’t sure it is epilepsy. Then MRI, SPECT scan and neurophysiology tests before his dementia diagnosis and he has medication for both. He still occasionally has his strange episodes which under different circumstances I would be calling an ambulance which I only did a couple of times but the outcome is always the same, the episodes last a few minutes, leave him very tired and he sleeps for a few hours and then feels fine not even remembering that he hadn’t been well. The following day without fail he has always felt fine. Dementia aside during one of these episodes he goes from being a fairly fit looking man to being stooped and shuffling and just looking poorly in just a few minutes before coming out of it, almost like waking up. Each time I do the FAST test and worry I am going to miss when or if something serious really happens. Sorry it’s a bit garbled but it would be a very very long post to explain it all in detail.
Take care, best wishes to you
 

scb

Registered User
Jun 27, 2019
16
Hi everyone, as posted before, my husband has been having seizures which sound a bit like the "funny turns" described by others, and he is now on Epilim. He also had a number of CT scans, x-rays, etc. Has anyone experience of actually seeing these scans themselves? I am wondering if it would be at all helpful to know exactly which parts of the brain have been damaged by dementia? Does knowing that tell us anything about what specific functions of the brain are damaged? All we have been told is that seizures are common in AD and can happen at any stage of the illness. I would really be interested in the value of scans and xrays in determining which behaviours or functions are likely to be affected. In other words, is it possible that Person A has damage in one particular area, say the part of the brain which regulates temperature, but may be quite good with speech and reading skills, while Person B has damage which produces exactly opposite symptoms, and if so, why are we not educated about these specific pieces of damage to the brain? Would this not be helpful to our understanding of "Our Person"? Perhaps I'm too new to this to understand if this is even possible? Thanks and I hope I haven't been too obtuse!!
 

Grahamstown

Registered User
Jan 12, 2018
1,602
East of England
I can’t contribute much to this discussion but my husband had episodes of feeling spaced out for a year or so and then passed out sitting at his computer. It was very frightening and he had full screening of heart, neurological investigations. Finally he was diagnosed with simple fainting, went home to normal life but continued to faint from time to time. We took first aid precautions and eventually as his Alzheimer’s took hold he was more sedentary and only feels dizzy on standing now. I am convinced that the episodes either foreshadowed the dementia or else caused brain incidents which worsened it. Whatever the problem, it’s one of those symptoms you just have to deal with when everything else has been excluded.