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Why am I going to the neurologist?
Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 3:20 PM
Joined: 7/29/2016
Posts: 319

I am taking my mother to a neurologist this week for asessement. She has been sundowning a lot and has memory loss.

I told her that we're going because she is worried about her memory loss. She got very angry and told me that it was just once -- and that was the fault of the doctor for giving her the wrong med.

My question: how do I let the neurologist know her symptoms without making my mother even angrier? 

caregiving daughter
Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 3:27 PM
Joined: 11/27/2012
Posts: 2131

Bring a letter the day before to be handed to physician describing behaviors.  Sit in the corner of the exam room to encourage the doctor to talk to your mom so she doesn't get angry.  Call in advance to find out what the exam will look like and ask how to get your questions answered if it's difficult to ask in front of your mom.  The anger is really, really difficult.  You just have to try to take it and be as kind as possible.  Please remember you are just trying to help and your mom doesn't likely understand all the fuss because she doesn't see as much wrong.  Hang in there.
Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 3:43 PM
Joined: 4/13/2015
Posts: 35

I emailed my mom's doctor prior to the appointment with symptoms and any other information that I thought my mom would not be happy to hear.  And I would let the doctor know how she is feeling about this too so he/she can handle your mom appropriately.

Good luck!!

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 4:11 PM
Joined: 7/21/2013
Posts: 259

I actually walked into the neurologist's office the day before the appointment and asked if I could talk to someone about how these things generally go -- because I was absolutely not comfortable talking about my mother in front of her.  I was able to talk with a social worker and she took down loads of notes.  She also explained that while my mother was being assessed by different people, the neurologist would talk to me alone.

You could also call and have a note given to the doctor that you want to speak with him alone at some point because you cannot discuss your mother in front of her.

In subsequent appointments, I always go in to the neurologists exam room with my mother and then a nurse or the social worker comes to take my mother to just talk one-on-one, while the neurologist and I talk.  Then he goes to get my mother when we are done.

It's just good to find out how your particular doctor's office operates in advance so you can be prepared.

They also sent me all of the paperwork in advance so I filled it out on my own and just brought it in a sealed envelope that I passed off to the receptionist when we checked in.


Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 6:47 PM
Joined: 11/19/2015
Posts: 1004

Far Away,  this is great advice!  I simply wrote out a simple / short letter saying he has memory problems and listed examples.  Gave the nurse the letter and asked her to give it to the doctor to read before he came in -- hence the brevity of the letter. 

This worked perfectly for us but I sure like Far away's advice

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 7:51 PM
Joined: 6/7/2016
Posts: 111

I agree with the others.  I called ahead and made certain they wrote in the file that my MIL was coming in because of concerns of dementia.

Since my MIL generally sounds fine during the doctor visits I began keeping a day to day diary and printed that out turned it in at check-in.  Also, I typed a one page list of the things she can no longer do for herself reliably and listed things like delusions, hallucinations, incontenence, etc. for a quick reference for the doctor.

It helped that her primary doctor referred her because of symptoms of dementia.

My husband and I both were with MIL for the visit to the neurologist and she was able to see the CT report for the CT MIL's primary doctor ordered as well. The neurologist had her nurse take MIL out for a few minutes while we spoke with her about our observations and concerns.  It went well and she now has more appointments, this time with a Psychiatrist for more in-depth evaluations.

Early on I began accompanying MIL into her appointments and tried to voice my concerns, but it was uncomfortable to discuss things in front of her.  That's why I began writing everything down.

Best wishes that the visit goes well and the neurologist hears your concerns!!

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 9:54 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4111

Fax the MD office in advance which as much information as possible; the more you send the less has to be said directly in the office...we never said AD in front of y mom


Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 12:13 PM
Joined: 7/29/2016
Posts: 319

Perfect!  I have written a letter and will hand it to the nurse to give to the doctor before we go in. 

Thank you all!

2ndof Four
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 7:49 PM
Joined: 3/19/2015
Posts: 63

I got a referral from my mom's PCP at the geriatric clinic of  the med center in my home town to a geriatric neurologist in the same clinic.  We are in a university town.  I had already established that I had medical power of attorney at the clinic so I simply emailed him a synopsis of my mom's activities.  I continue to do this before each visit.
Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 7:58 PM
Joined: 8/3/2016
Posts: 1

My Mom called me with an outrageous story last night about another family member. I called her today and she expanded on the story. I checked with the two people she told me called her last night and neither person called her.  I  not sure if she watched something on TV that made her think someone called her with a related story or if she dreamt it. Either way, i  very concerned she feels like this really happened! Is this normal in Alzheimer's and how do we approach her about it to let her know we are concerned about this?
Anne's last daughter
Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 11:12 PM
Joined: 8/10/2016
Posts: 3

I went through that initially going to the neurologist. I was actually on the phone with a social worker and asking how to get my mother to see a neurologist and she casually said, "You have to make up an excuse. Tell her Medicare requires it or maybe it's part of her blood work." It was such a shock...such a shift to think of not including my mother in these decisions. We ended up leaving it up to her primary care physician but even that was difficult.

That said, they had great advise about talking to the office before the appointment. I wrote up a one-page description of what had been happening and gave it to the nurse before the appointment. The doctor used that to help with her diagnosis.

Once she was diagnosed, it helped. Not completely but it helped a little in gaining her trust.

You're not alone. All the best for you, your mother, and your family.

Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2016 6:48 AM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 1990

My mom hates doctors with a passion and has gotten very rigid, angry and withdrawn at all doctor's appointments in the past, so this time I told my mom we were going for ice cream.  On the way to ice cream we stopped at the doctor's for me for stress and I asked my mom to accompany me.  I asked the receptionist and nurse to pretend the appointment was for me.  They agreed, and so did the doctor. (They are geriatric specialists and are familiar with patients with various dementias and geriatric symptoms.) I asked my mom to show me how to stand on the scale, get blood pressure taken and to stay with me in the office.  Since in my mom's mind (stage 6 dementia: vascular type) I am still a small child and she is the good mom, my mom humoured my requests.  I had a sheet with my observations, concerns and demands typed out for the doctor to read and act upon. The doctor did so silently and without unnecessary comment. When verbal comment or questioning was necessary, we kept it in the third person and very light. The doctor was very kind and my mom was relaxed and was okay with the exam and all the questions, since the questions had more of a format of all of us sharing about ourselves, rather than "attack format questioning," wherein the professional is trying to "trip up" the patient.  I asked mom if we could have this nice lady be mom's doctor.  She said, "Yes, your doctor is really nice." Afterwards we went for ice cream.  When family members asked my mom what she had done that morning, she said, "I went for ice cream!"
Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2016 1:39 PM
Joined: 11/19/2015
Posts: 1004

MP -- what great ideas for your Mom!  My DH also hates going to the doctor but so far so good.  I may one day have to remember your advice.