Friday, September 5, 2014

A Visit with the Neurologist

At the end of July, we had our regular visit with our neurologist. She is fabulous, very interested in my husband's case, and is on staff at UC Davis Medical School. Her specialty is Alzheimer's, I may have mentioned already. I appreciate her and trust her.

This appointment was weird, though. The questions she was asking me are, I'm sure, routine, but I wasn't comfortable answering them right in front of my husband. I did the best I could, but it just wasn't possible to be really direct or entirely honest or even to think of specific examples of incidents or behavior with him sitting right there!

He was his usual joking and funny self and seemed to be trying to make the best of the situation, but he was visibly upset and defensive about the line of questioning. Who could blame him? What must it be like to be confused, to know you don't remember things, to be asked questions about things other people think you should remember, but you don't? It must be so frustrating. It must feel as though a trap is being set for you, and you must be careful to step around it.

Doctor:  "Have you done anything out of the ordinary lately?"
Me:  "We went to a couple of concerts. Do you remember those?"
Him:  "What concerts?"
Me:  "There were two. One was on your birthday, and one was with your brother. The James Taylor one and the Led Zeppelin one?"

Oh, yes! And his face lit up as he talked about how good the concerts were and how much fun we had. Either he was remembering them very well, or else he was pulling in other memories, or else he was doing a very good job of covering up. And you know what? It's hard to tell.

Doctor:  "I haven't seen you for a while. Didn't you take a cruise last year?"
Him:  "A cruise?"
Me:  "Remember our cruise last year to the Caribbean?"
Him:  "Who did we go with?"
Me:  "It was my class reunion."
Him:  "Oh, ya. I was stationed in Puerto Rico when I was in the Navy, you know."

And, he had fallen through the cracks. An appointment should have been scheduled several months before, but the information had apparently not been entered into the computer properly. The reminder postcard was not sent out; the appointment was not made. It's the first time that's happened, so I plan to start a spreadsheet for appointments. While I'm at it, I'll start a spreadsheet for medications. Might as well, right?

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