Seeing 'changes' in friend...

sooeyJanuary 15, 2007

Hi Kids,

I have no idea where to start with this problem so as always, I have come to THS. Can anyone give me direction or advice with this?

I am seeing some changes in a very dear friend of mine. She is 59, has always been very active, tap dances twice a week, in the gym 4 mornings a week. In the past, her work outs have been VERY high energy, I have not been with her in the gym recently so I can not say if the intensity of her work outs have changed.

What I have seen and what worries me is, she is walking slower, not standing up straight, eating slowly, as in, it takes her a long time to get the fork from the plate to her mouth. I have even noticed that when she is eating, she is bending over to be closer to the plate. I watched her eat this past Friday night and her right hand, which she was eating with, was almost at rest on her plate, in her food, between bites.

This is in no way normal for this women. I first noticed that she was eating slowly back in September...I mentioned it to my husband but we both decided that it must have been my imagination.

Now, I'm sure it is not my imagination. It's almost like she has had a mild stroke that has effected her entire body equally...I don't think that's possible. Or, could it be Arthritis?...she does not complain about pain. Ostioperosis? Is there some type of neuropathy that could cause this? I have only the smallest knowledge of neuropathy...don't even think I have spelled it correctly, but it's the only thing I can come up with...I'm at a loss. Can anyone give me some direction on this? I know I need to talk with her about it and get her to a Dr...but what do I say? How do I discribe it? Where can I look for info? I have noticed no cognitive change in her, her speech is fine, her strenght seems to be good and the same on both sides.

So, that's it. I want to address this with her, I am worried about what I am seeing...but, what am I seeing? I know this is not much for you to go on...and I hope I'm wrong about all of it :(

Thanks, Kids.


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Have you tried asking her how she feels? I think if she had a small stroke or something,wouldnt that effect her speech and stuff too?

A simple answer is that when you eat slower,you take in less calories and dont get full as quick.But that doesnt seem like it would be the answer if she is bending over the plate like she having a hard time eating.

I would talk to her.Ask how she is doing.Does she feel fine?
Is she feeling tired? Tell her you think she seems a little tired lately and you just want to make sure she is ok.

After you talk to her,then you will know a little more about her situation.Like,maybe she has just been depressed.Maybe she is embarrssed and doesnt want to talk about it.

Is she on any new medications? All things to consider.Good luck,I hope it is nothing to worry about too.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 6:31PM
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If there is an issue, it would most probably be something global or systemic. Arthritis it typically targeted to specific joints and neuropathy tends to target specific nerves or groups of nerves. Both of these conditions also tend to be painful or interfere with function in characteristic ways. Likewise, strokes also have characteristic features, like affecting motor function on one side of the body or causing deficits with functional attributes like speech.

Depression or medication side effects, as coolmama pointed out, would fit the clinical presentation better because their effects are more global. So would things like grief, fatigue, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's Disease, hypothyroid disorders, and Lyme Disease. The bottom line is that you are are shooting in the dark here until you can get more data.

My advice would be to be very straightforward with your friend. Sit down with her and mention the symptoms you are seeing and clearly express your concern. An authentic expression of caring between dear friends is the quickest way to get to a resolution. You may not know what you are seeing... but you do know what you are feeling.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 11:34PM
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There is a certain part of the brain that manages coordination so if a small stroke occured there she could be having trouble with the action of getting fork from plate to mouth. Anyway, there is no way for you to make a diagnosis so I would just tell her how worried you are and can you help her in any way--perhaps she has already gotten medical attention, if not, you should encourage her to do so. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 9:21PM
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Hi Kids,

Thanks for all your input. I will talk with her as soon as I am able. If this is serious, it is best to get at it as soon as we can. She is an important part of our lives. She is a dear friend, loved by our entire family.

Thanks for your support. You have been a big help to me. It's good to have a place like THS.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 11:16AM
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