TIA vs. stroke, Encroaching dementia, or meds?
OK. They seem to be classifying my mother's 2nd episode as a TIA because they can't find evidence of stroke damage on an MRI. I thought the difference was whether there are symptoms after 24 hours have passed.
It's true her language abilities came back amazingly. But I see definite memory problems that she didn't have before to any degree, and it's been about a week. I'm afraid they are assuming that her mind was like this before, just because she's 90.
It's lapses like, one day she's telling me about the CNN coverage of Clinton and Obama she was watching earlier in the day, they move her to another room and ask if she had tv in the first room, and she says no. She tells me in detail about a guy she wants to sell antiques to, down to how to spell his name and where the paper is with his phone number. Five minutes later she's searching for his name. I'm there when the speech therapist, or neurologist, or social worker comes in and she seems to understand everything they've said. She's had a normal conversation with them. Then the next day she doesn't remember having met them at all, even when I try to jog her memory by describing what the person looked like, or something they did while there, like showing her pictures or giving her applesauce.
She had an episode yesterday of being very cold, they had to put five blankets on her. She told me it was very strange and scary, her body was twitching and shaking and she couldn't control it. It's like she'd forgotten the concept of shivering.
I asked a nurse at her first hospital about it, and she kind of blew me off. Said it was common for older people to get disoriented in a hospital setting, especially at night, and used the term sundowning. But during her April hospitalization she didn't get disoriented at all.
She has been on numerous medications off and on this past week--norvasc, plavix, prilosec, colchicine for gout, ativan, tylenol and an antibiotic for an infection in her initial IV port. Maybe more--this is just what I've picked up through eavesdropping.
I think we need to find out if her memory lapses are a result of a true stroke or the medication combo. I need to be either getting her house ready for her to come home, or getting her placed in assistive living. If she a continuing downward mental spiral, I don't want her to live at home or try to drive. The shape she's in now, I'd worry about her safety. But if this memory stuff is a result of the meds, I don't want to sign her up for assisted living unnecessarily.
How do I get the medical people to try adjusting her meds or giving her some kind of therapy if they don't even admit there is a memory issue? How do I get the answers I need to figure out where she should live?
They are assuming assisted living because when feeling her most rotten she said she was nervous about living alone again. But by the time we had to help her fill out an entrance form for rehab, she listed her goal as getting back home. I sure didn't want to tell her, sorry, no matter how hard you exercise we're shipping you off to assisted living anyway.