Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘mum’

Alzheimers

My mum’s deterioration continues.

Whereas just a few months ago she would argue that there was nothing wrong with her memory and try to help with the cooking (she actually thought she WAS doing ALL the cooking), she now seems to accept that she is no longer capable of either remembering, or cooking.

19444505382_becce11e53_z

During the second visit to the memory clinic, the consultant prescribed a pill for mum. This is designed to slow down her memory deterioration. The doctor told us that there was a choice of two pills that would help mum. Because mum’s kidney function does not look great, but her pulse rate was ok, she had to prescribe Donepezil.

“All three cholinesterase inhibitors (of which Donepezil is one) work in a similar way, but one might suit a certain individual better than another, particularly in terms of side effects experienced.” **

I had to ask then, given that the pulse rate suggested mum’s heart function was ok, what the cardiology appointment was for at the end of July (which, by the way has now been cancelled and is causing no end of phone calls to be made to find out why and/or re-book).

Readers of the previous post will know that as the consultant was not aware of that appointment (which came following an ECG mum had had as part of this memory clinic process), we had to hold off on the prescription, and she said would get back to me as soon as possible.

Three weeks on an I am still waiting to present the prescription at the chemist.

Since our first visit to the memory clinic at the beginning of May, we have become aware of many previously unknown support organisations. These however, seem to be seriously undermanned and overworked.

  • An Admiral Nurse phoned me to ask what they could do to help – but as we were at this stage, I could not say. She did however, give me lots of information that I have yet to fully digest. Most of it seems to involve the council and lots of waiting.
  • The lady from Making Space said that she would send off for, and then help us fill in, Attendance Allowance forms – as these were reputed to be horrendous. This she did and the forms arrived two weeks ago. However, getting in touch with the same lady on a day that she is working has been impossible. I eventually presented myself at their office and sought the help of someone else – who will meet us tomorrow.  Even if the help isn’t as urgent as it may seem for my mum, the forms are official forms with a date stamped return date, which is fast approaching.
  • At the memory services clinic itself, I never seem to get the same person twice. When I first became worried about mum’s prescription, I phoned and was told that they (the consultant’s office) were waiting for a reply from mum’s G.P.  So – I visited the G.P. surgery and found that the reply had been sent by FAX the previous week. When I phoned the clinic again and told them that the G.P.’s answer should have been received, I was told that the consultant was on holiday, but that mum’s case would be one of the first dealt with on the Monday (this week).

I phoned again on Monday and left a message with whoever answered the phone.  I called in at the clinic on Tuesday and left a message with whoever answered the phone that was handed to me on reception. It is now Wednesday and I was told yet again that a note had been left for the consultant/doctor to call me to say “yes” or ‘no” to the prescription.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this so far, it is to begin early (i.e. when you are much younger and more capable of pushing hard for the services you deserve) and to try and avoid June – August, when everyone goes on holiday.

** From: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20162/drugs/105/drug_treatments_for_alzheimers_disease/3

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/118316968@N08/19444505382 – with thanks for using Creative Commons.

Future posts on this subject can be seen here: https://failingtoremember.wordpress.com/

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Following on from my previous post about my mum’s fading memory – https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/memory-test/ today was the day we visited the specialist doctor.

Sharon and I accompanied her to the same place as before.

Mum’s memory function has deteriorated quite a bit since the first visit almost two months ago; not so much that she has no awareness of things around her, but nevertheless, there has been a significant decline. E.g. she introduced me to the doctor as her brother.

So, we were not expecting any ‘good’ news.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 16.12.17

The CT scan she’d had showed nothing more than age-related deterioration, her pulse is perfect (72) and the only ‘bad’ (inasmuch as it’s not a worry for this memory process, but it’s not ‘good’) is that her eGFR1 (estimated glomerular filtration rate2) was only 35. This could be another issue to watch, given that it shows moderate to severe loss of kidney function, but for now I’ll stick to the issue of memory.

The doctor mentioned dementia, but then avoided it suggesting that she didn’t like the word (neither do I) and towards the end of our interview suggested that this was Alzheimer’s, without actually dwelling on that. I suspect that once the paperwork all comes through – that’s what will be the diagnosis.

As part of this process, mum had also had to have an ECG, the result of which is that she has to visit the hospital again on July 31st, to see a cardiologist. Today’s doctor knew nothing about that – but promised to follow it up, especially as the drug she was prescribing for my mum depended on heart rate to a certain extent. She phoned me about an hour later to say that the G.P. was out right now, but that she would be in touch again next week. The medication aims to slow down the memory loss process.

brain-544403_1280

We were then introduced to the local Making Space representative. Making Space provide specialist dementia care alongside support for sufferers that enables them to stay in their own home for as long as possible. At this early stage, we only required information, advice and guidance. Sharon, the lady we met, was superb and was able to put my mum’s mind at rest and to answer the questions we had brought. She is sending me leaflets to read and more information about the services available to my parents. My job will be convincing my dad to take some, if not all of these up.

Some of the support I will be aiming for over the next few weeks will be to find an Admiral Nurse5 to pick up on my mum; to get my dad to reconsider applying for a Power of Attorney over my mum’s health and finances and to apply for Attendance Allowance on behalf of my mum.

Sharon, at Making Space has promised help with all of those.

References

Photo Credits:

https://pixabay.com/p-544403/?no_redirect

Read Full Post »

I took my mum for a memory test yesterday.

She’s eighty-seven.

Sadly, my mum has been slowly losing her ability to remember certain things, over an extended period of time – probably for about three years. She copes with most things on a daily basis, with help! Without my dad, I suspect that she would have tremendous difficulty coping with day to day things like cooking and eating. This isn’t to say that she isn’t ‘all there’, she is: she takes part in discussions (when she can hear – her hearing aid is not always fully loaded and ‘on’) and retains a wicked sense of humour.

Memory_Process

However, despite not wanting outside help (“David, whilesoever as I can manage, I want no one else coming in here to help**) my dad has been asking the doctor if there’s anything they can do to help my mum. [I have to say right here that I have THE very lowest opinion of my parents’ doctor, both historically and presently]. The result, after a fair amount of nagging is this memory test.

Dad didn’t want to go with my mum as he felt that he would get too upset, which I suppose, after sixty-six years of marriage, is understandable. Also see ** above. So, the original appointment having been when we flew to Spain in March, I visited the centre, rearranged the date, and off we popped yesterday.

Word Art

Mum hated the idea of going (I hesitate to say that she was terrified); she accused my dad of going behind her back and of being sneaky (by asking me to go with her instead of him).  Also: “no one told me about this! I’m not losing my memory, I’m ok!” etc. Yet, once there, having been assured for the umptieth time that I would go ‘in’ with her, she was lovely.  She was calm and had no worries. Once the young (very pregnant) nurse had introduced herself and directed us up to her room, mum was the personification of ‘nice old lady’.

elephant-1090828_1280She answered all of the questions as honestly as she knew how and seemed to feel no pressure at all throughout the full hour of questioning. On the standard test, she got 59% (the standard being 85% ish) and for me it was easy to see exactly where she was losing ‘it’. Mental sums and short term memory tasks were very poor, but at longer term knowledge (that is a penguin, that is a kangaroo etc.) she was much better.

She still thinks that she has no problem remembering things (I haven’t had sugar in my tea for forty-five years – yet I’m asked every time we visit) and insists she’s ok with money; but she’s not.

However, she wasn’t fazed by having to go, soon, for a brain scan and then, afterwards, to see a specialist doctor. But those are hurdles to cross further down the line.

What do we hope to get from this?

I’m not sure.

References:

Pics:

Resources

Read Full Post »

Jim looking up.During 2012 I lost several friends and relatives. Each had featured fully, in large parts of my life.

I did think long and hard about whether I should write this blog post and then whether it needed to be published. In the end, I decided that as my various blogs (especially this one) are catalogues of my life, it would be disrespectful not to acknowledge the contribution these five have made to it.

Jim Scott first came to my attention at Deighton Junior School, when he burst into my classroom and cheekily spoke back to the teacher. That was back when the school intake was Jan 1st to December 31st – we were both born in the same year, Jim in January and me in December.  He would have been 62 tomorrow. Mischief could well have been Jim’s middle name and for many of the following 50 years, he was a constant in my life. An ardent trades unionist, Jim was always on hand to offer well informed, well meaning advice and guidance for all aspects of life and he always challenged, channelled and (often) changed my views and my laziness. When John Rousell and I cycled coast to coast in 1999 Jim couldn’t join us for one reason or another – but completed the journey alone at a later date!  Jim died from complications caused by a malignant melanoma he’d contracted whilst pumping a damp proof course into his house. 😦

I didn’t know Shane all that well I’m afraid, he was too young and lived too far away to see often.  Shane Pueschel was Sharon’s nephew; her sister Joanne’s son.  At 18, he was far too young to die.  Shane had collapsed on the dance-floor of a club in Lincoln where he was attending university and until the Coroner’s Inquest is completed later this year, it’s hard to be certain of the cause of death. However, there are questions surrounding the emergency first aid he received (or didn’t).


I wrote about Jim and about Shane previously: https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/red-bull/


Similarly, Sharon’s mum Pat was a more recent part of my life.  She’d visited us a few times over the years and we’d visited her in America, where she lived, Sharon more than me.  Pat had been in remission from cancer for almost five years when it came bounding back last year.  This time though, it was terminal.  The sisters, Joanne, Gail, Sharon and brother Steven had discussed end of life care for Pat and had agreed that Joanne, the nurse, would be better placed to fulfil that function. However, at the time such care was required, her own loss (Shane) made that impossible and Gail moved into the breech. Sharon did what she could too but in the end Pat passed away in May.

Towards the end of the year, I heard that Andrew Triggs had died.  Although Andrew and Ruth had lived next door to Sue and I all the time we lived in Linthwaite, I’d not seen them for many years.  Towards the end of my marriage to Sue (my first life!) we had a fish and chip shop next door to Andrew and Ruth.  We ran this for six years until it was uneconomical and we both took up new careers, eventually separating in 1996. we lived next door to the Triggs for fourteen years. Andrew was a real character, lots of fun to be with and a great supporter of my early attempts at computing.  We often sat outside the back of our house, or in their conservatory until the early hours of the morning: it was Andrew who taught me the correct mix for gin and tonic 😉 and for that, I am ever grateful.

Much closer to home and more recently, my Aunty Dot died.  Aunty Dot was my dad’s sister and would have been 80 next. My first memory of Dot was of her carrying me up the stairs to bed whilst singing ‘Rock Around The Clock’ – I can’t have been very old. I always liked Aunty Dot, she was lively and very pretty – as a child I hoped that my own daughter (should I ever have one) would be ‘as’ pretty, a wish that was delivered in spades – my daughter and both of her girls are exceptionally gorgeous. Aunty Dot always lived close to my grandma and although I  enjoyed visiting both, it was always fun to visit Dot (and Brian).  Their daughter Janet, my cousin, now lives in Jersey, where Dot passed away after falling ill whilst visiting.  Janet has lovingly overseen the last few weeks of Dot’s life and has kept everyone up to speed with developments.  She has been a tower of strength for Uncle Brian and my dad – both of whom will now miss a very important woman in their lives.

Rest in Peace.

Read Full Post »