MCI and Relief?


MCI and Relief?

sky-49520_640I took Mom to see her internist today, a regular three-month appointment. I had a lot of trepidation. Would either of them bring up the memory problems, and if they didn't (as they didn't last time), would I? I couldn't sleep well last night for thinking and worrying about it.

The doctor brought it up and asked how her memory was doing. Mom said she felt like the accident had caused her memory to be worse, but that as she's recovering, she's getting back to normal. I confirmed that her memory was getting back to where it was before, but added that we had noticed some decline in recent years. So the doctor said she would do an assessment. It consisted of these things, to the best of my memory:

  • Questions about the day, date, and year (she got everything but the year - couldn't come up with 2014!), places (her address, name of the clinic, county name), and some common objects that the doctor picked up from the counter - a roll of tape, a cotton swab. She answered everything correctly but the year.

  • The three word test: squirrel, bag, and shell. (Mom remembered only "squirrel.")

  • A card with perforated circles in it - something to do with mammograms, but I didn't look at it carefully. She gave Mom a series of instructions: punch out the largest circle and the one by today's date and then give it to your daughter. She did that with no problem.

  • A piece of paper on which she had drawn two interlocking shapes. She asked mom to copy the drawing and write a sentence. (She wrote: "I like our dog." :-)) The drawing looked pretty good.

  • A math test: count backwards from 100 by 7. That went very badly! She got to 86, then got very confused, lost track of where she was, came up with "15" then "7" then "7 minus 7 is 14." Oof.

The doctor assured her that she had done fine, although her score was a little below normal and that memory problems were definitely something to watch considering Mom's family history (mother and twin brother had/have dementia). She encouraged Mom to think about "retiring" from driving sometime within the next year. (Mom is VERY eager to drive again once her leg heals.) But she agreed to consider it.

I noticed the doctor wrote down a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment on the test order form, which Mom didn't see. As Mom went to give a urine sample, I asked if she had any additional feedback on the cognitive test. She said, "I could tell her memory was worse than the last time I saw her, but she performed better on the test than I expected. We'll watch this."

I'm relieved that the topic came up without me having to introduce it, and I'm deeply relieved that nothing happened in the office visit to frighten or upset my mom. Thank you, thank you. I feel like the doctor is a good ally and support. We left the office and picked up my son from a friend's house, then had a fun and delicious meal at Fatz (because all doctor's appointments should be followed by a treat if possible!).

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