Friday, September 5, 2014

"Significant Decline"

My husband had an appointment with a neuropsychologist this morning to do the new round of cognitive testing requested by the neurologist at our last appointment. After a brief consultation, I left him in the doctor's care while the tests were administered, a two-hour process.

I had a relaxed cup of coffee in the cafeteria and returned to the waiting area. I read a murder mystery. I enjoyed chatting with other folks about travel, adding a couple of spots to my mental bucket list. And I waited for my husband to be returned to me.

Instead, I was surprised to see the doctor. By himself. He asked if I could step into the conference room for a moment before we rejoined my husband. Ominous? You bet.

"Well," he began, "I think it's fairly obvious that there's been a significant decline." He waited a moment for that to sink in. He continued, "I'd like to ask you about a few things..." And he asked some leading questions that I can't really remember right now, because I'm in a daze. The file is lost in my mental filing cabinet. Something about appropriate behavior and reactions and confusion and so on.

Significant decline. "Significant" and "decline" are not words you are prepared to hear together. "Mild" and "decline," okay. "Significant" and "improvement," okay. But not "significant decline." Granted, though he's been tested by UC Davis for the anonymous studies in which he's participating (read about that here), it's been five years since he's been tested officially for his doctor's file. Five years of slow, gradual decline that apparently adds up significantly.

Next Tuesday, we'll be meeting with the neuropsychologist again to get our test results. I think I already know they won't be what I'd hoped for. Sometimes, it's easy to say, "God is good all the time." But sometimes, I have to remind myself.

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