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Your Mother seems fine to me.

September 9, 2011

We had been concerned about Mom for a couple of years.  At first we thought she was just absorbed with her grandchildren.  It was understandable that she was not able to keep up with the conversations because whenever we were together, she would be on the floor playing with the kids.

But there were the burnt meals and that time she got lost driving.  She had started writing herself notes and no one was getting birthday cards anymore.  Her vocabulary seemed to be shrinking. She was easily confused.

I scheduled an evaluation for her at a renowned hospital in their Alzheimer’s Clinic.  Dad, Mom, and I drove into the city together for the appointment.  Dad and I sat, not so patiently, in the waiting room for the few hours that Mom was being evaluated.   We were then invited in for a meeting including Mom and the physicians who had assessed her.

After explaining the various assessments they had done the doctors advised us that Mom seemed to be fine.  She may be experiencing a little slowing down in processing but there was nothing to be concerned about.

I was shocked and frustrated.  I was counting on these people for some answers and they were blowing me off!

I proceeded to explain that my mother was a college graduate with a major in literature who was sought after to organize events and sit on numerous boards for a variety of organizations.  She never missed sending birthday and anniversary cards to her large extended family.   Then I listed the changes I had seen and the length of time we had seen a decline.

They listened carefully and asked a lot of questions.  By the end of our meeting my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  They explained that highly intelligent people, with large vocabularies, are able to use that vocabulary to cover up for their decline.

Both Mom and Dad were able to cover their losses by using a different word when they couldn’t find the one they wanted and being very social and playfully appropriate.  If you weren’t paying attention you wouldn’t notice that there was never any depth in their conversation.

I was glad to have been there and that I had the nerve to speak up on my mother’s behalf.  Hopefully the medical team recognized the value of family in reaching a valid diagnosis.

Reaching a diagnosis for Dad was much easier.  I knew what I was seeing and was able to clearly present the situation to his physician

er  This time around we diagnosed Dad earlier by ourselves.  But in all honesty, I am glad I was there to advocate for my mother and get her diagnosis before she declined more significantly.)

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