Friday, October 3, 2008

Trying To Keep The Faith...

Today, I went with my Mom to her neurologist for a follow-up appointment. This is one of the doctors that basically monitors her Alzheimer's, and the progression of the disease. I missed the appointment she went to in May, but of course, I was at the appointment in January of this year. Anyway, every time we go, they do the same test and it helps them determine how she is doing and if she is doing better, getting worse, or staying the same. I remember all to clearly how she did in January, and every other time I've been to these appointments with her. These are the things that kind of stay with you. Anyway, the nurse starts asking just basic questions. Like what day is it - it was a Friday and my Mom had no idea the day of the week, but she said she thought maybe it was a Monday. The nurse asked what month it was - My Mom guessed August. My Mom just turned 53 on September 29th, so you would think logically she would have been like well I just had a birthday so maybe at least guess September. When in fact the month we are in is October. They asked her the season next and realistically you would think okay you just answered August for the month so August is a Summer month or even just kind of think about the weather outside...my Mom's answer was Spring. They don't ever correct her when she is wrong they just continue onto the next question. There is a part of the test where you have to remember 3 words and then a few minutes later they go back and ask you what those three words are. Those 3 words are "Hope, Shoe, & Acorn". My Mom very rarely remembers any of those words when asked to recall them. Every once in awhile she will get one of the words, but that is very rare. Well this time she was able to recall 2 out of the 3 words. I was really excited about that. Then they came to a part where she had to draw the face of a watch. She was able to do that, but then the nurse asked her to draw the hands of the clock to show 20 after 11. My Mom in the past has never had an issue doing this, today she only knew where the 11 on the clock was. She was not able to figure out that the 4 on the clock represented 20 minutes. Then she had to look at this diagram and re-draw it. It is basically just two shapes overlapping. In the past my Mom has always been able to draw this fairly accurately. Today she couldn't draw this without getting completely confused and finally it just became to overwhelming for her. When the doctor came in to evaluate her, he said she had remained the same from her last appointment in May. So in a way that was good news that she has declined, but from her appointment in January to now showed a pretty big decline. We requested her medicine for the Alzheimer's be changed this summer from Aricept to the Excelon patch and even though we have not seen huge improvements, we are not seeing a decline in her like we were with the Aricept. So, to have the doctor tell us she has declined since we made the change in her medicine was very welcomed news for us. I truly feel if we had kept her on Aricept and not found out about the Excelon patch she would be far worse off. So here we are just taking it a day at a time and hoping against all odds that there is a cure found one day really soon.

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