Potato. Table. Green.
Remember those words (there’s a quiz later!).
The countdown is over! Robert saw his fabulous neurologist with the awesome Canadian accent today and the results are in (although so are a lot more questions).
The MRI showed no stroke (yay!!) and actually indicated no change whatsoever since his MRI of two years ago (there goes my medical career). The “large area of encephalomalacia” that sounded so concerning was due to his brain surgeries of several years ago so wasn’t anything new.
So am I nuts for thinking Robert has declined? (For those who do think I am nuts, sorry to disappoint you but this isn’t your proof). Lady Neuro notices the change, too, when Robert can’t walk across the room to get to the examination table without a great deal of assistance. She puts Robert through a battery of physical and mental tests with me hovering, ready to jump out of my skin to help (but somehow restraining myself).
I’ve moved from Helicopter Parent to Helicopter Sister.
Lady Neuro instructs Robert to pretend to hammer a nail, saw some wood, brush his teeth and salute. From the results, I think he can build me a bookcase with clean teeth but won’t be able to salute a young soldier who happens by.
Next come the memory questions making me wish I had thought to make Robert study beforehand! He answers the best he can, thinking a very long time before answering and asking if he got the question right or wrong. He knows the day of the week but is off by a few days on the date. He thinks it is 2010 (which must have been a good year for him), thinks Bush is president (yikes! nightmare relived! Oops, this isn’t a political post, is it?), and says he lives in Tahoe. (Maybe he thought she asked where he wished he lived since it’s 103 outside right now).
He can’t remember what country he lives in. I wince at this but catch myself, hoping he didn’t see me. These are questions he probably could have answered correctly a year ago and definitely could have two years ago.
I’m tapping the floor by this time wanting to know what exactly Lady Neuro thinks is going on and what we can do about it. She’s asking him to remember the three words she gave him at the beginning of the memory test while I silently recall them after a brief panic that surely I forgot them.
Quiz time: what are the three words I gave at the top of the post (and don’t look back at them!)?
Robert can only say two words which are actually sort of related to the words he was supposed to remember. I think this should count for something.
Lady Neuro cannot give me a definitive answer just yet. She orders an EEG which will tell us if there’s any difference from his last EEG and will also tell us if he is having mini-seizures in his brain which are not outwardly manifesting themselves. She is also sending us to a memory specialist who will conduct more extensive memory testing. Fortunately, Robert had a memory test several years ago so we will have a baseline to compare it to.
Lady Neuro is reluctant to speculate but I can be very persistent (but in such a nice way, right Hubby?). She allows the decline could be a cumulative result of years of uncontrolled seizures, medications, surgeries, infections and falls or the change could be a result of something new such as early onset dementia (or something related to that). Management of these symptoms will depend upon the tests (which should be within the next few months).
At lunch after the appointment, Robert enjoys his cheeseburger, counting how many bites it takes him to finish. I ask him if he has any questions about the appointment and, after thinking about it for a minute, simply says “no” and starts working on his fries.
(Robert is a great example of enjoying the moment especially if food is involved!).
Although I’ve been doing so these last few posts, I’ll take a lesson from Robert and refuse to continue to fret about the future. We will handle whatever is thrown our way and if that means dealing with more seizures than we thought or managing early onset dementia, then that’s what we’ll do. Bring it on!
Now, excuse me while I do some brain exercises . . .
Potato. Table. Green. Potato. Table. Green. Potato. Table. Green.Related