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A concerned spouse
Jenny2015
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 1:58 PM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Hello everyone,

 

I'm new to the group and grateful to have found this resource to communicate with others.  A little about me... I'm a newly wed to a wonderful man (6 months), but have grown increasingly concerned over his short term memory loss.  Before I write anything more, let me say I'm a well trained Speech-Language Pathologist with over 10 years experience working with Dementia patients.  Therefore, I have a pretty good idea about the signs and symptoms and what a typical Dementia patient looks like in the later stages.  My experience is limited, however, when it comes to the early stages because by the time a patient comes to me, he/she is in the later stages and needs long term care.  I've read through many discussions trying to find information from caregivers on clues/suspicions during the early stages, before a loved one is officially diagnosed. 

A little about my situation...My husband will be 52 in February and we've been married for almost 6 months.  I started noticing things were off with his memory about 3 months ago when he couldn't remember attending a big military event last December.  It was as if we had never attended it and he was "excited we would be going to this event together for the first time this year."  It seemed odd to me that he couldn't remember, but I chalked it up to stress and a crazy schedule getting married.  But then I noticed he couldn't remember restaurants we visited and recently could not recall a gift I had given him one week ago. He also forgot where he proposed to me last year (something I know was so important to him since he spent months planning it).   I've noticed he tells the same stories over and over again, and in detail as if I'd never heard them before.  His sister confessed he does the same thing with her.  His behavior is odd as well with extreme mood swings.  The slightest thing can set him off and he's always complaining of being "stressed out to the max."  He has significant difficulty managing more than one task at a time and I find I have to constantly remind him of things or they don't get done. 

 

I've mentioned my concern over his memory loss and the importance of seeing a doctor.  I believe he is aware life is getting difficult to manage, but because he's afraid, he's in denial. Sometimes I think I'm just overly sensitive because of my years experience working with Dementia patients.  But then I believe I'm in denial because his behavior does not seem normal, especially for someone so young.

Thank you and I look forward to any guidance provided on how to get a loved one to seek help. 


Eden Desjardins
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 2:09 PM
Joined: 5/25/2015
Posts: 48


Hi Jenny,

I would recommend getting him diagnosed by a certified psychiatrist promptly. To be blunt, his symptoms are typical of that of someone with Alzheimer's and it's often better to plan for the worse, rather than not plan at all.

However, please be gentle with him and realize that this isn't his fault - no one would ever want to have Alzheimer's disease if they had a choice. It's a horrible death sentence.


Jenny2015
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 2:17 PM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you Eden for your reply.  I know he's terrified.  He is well educated and recently promoted to a Full Bird Colonel in the Army.  I guess I'm just looking for support and encouragment that I'm not the one imagining things and that I'm justified to encourage him to seek help.  The difficult thing is he still works as an engineer for UPS and awaiting assignment for a Colonel position.  You can imagine what he's afraid of.  If he gets a diagnosis, his military career is over, and that is going to crush him since that's how he's identified himself for over 25 years.  He's only 3 years away from full retirement in UPS and in the Army.  If I'm correct with what I believe is happening, I know it's critical to get him into a doctor.  But I'm also terrified because of what a Dementia diagnosis will do to his career and his future.  I just want to be wrong and pray the symptoms go away...even though I've worked with those suffering from Dementia for many years.  It's a different experience being on this side of the fence and one I'm not prepared for...then again no one is.
jfkoc
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 3:09 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 17566


Care giver here.....Please go to alz.org and read about the diagnosis process. Mayo also has a good site for this. There is a bundle of things that cause memory problems and AD is usually the result of ruling our everything else.

I hope you will join the spouse forum too...


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 4:46 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2680


While it sounds like it could be AD, that does not mean it is. He needs to get a full work up to insure there is nothing else contributing to the same symptoms. Start keeping track of all issues so you know how frequently they may be occurring and what the issue are.

 


Mimi S.
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 6:46 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035


Thank you Michael.

If he's Army, he probably will only to to Arm docs. Not sure what their experience is in diagnosing  dementia. But the army can do preliminary tests. There are some very common things and a few uncommon that can cause these symptoms. So he needs a complete blood panel. Ask him how he'd feel if all that was wrong was he needed a B12 shot or a throid pill?  If these are all negative, then get a brain scan. If that shows normal aging, it's time for a neuro-psych.

 

Yes the psych part of that word scared me a bit. However, I knew something was wrong. And so I went. By the time the testing was over, I absolutlely knew something was wrong. When I got the diagnosis, I was relieved.

 

As as a newly wed, ask him to go for you.
Iris L.
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015 7:25 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16200


His current medications need to be evaluated for memory side effects.  Along with the other blood tests, his testosterone level should be checked.  Andropause  (male menopause) can cause memory loss and mood swings.  Some patients do go on medical leave of absence (short term disability) pending the completion of the medical evaluation.

Iris L.

alz+
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 6:15 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3549


Jenny - I am concerned for your husband and YOU too.

As a person with ALZ it seems the early part of the disease - when things are not working as usual - heightens sensitivity to life situations. I wonder if it is a fixable or treatable problem since you are familiar with dementia and his drastic change in memory out of the blue seems unusual.

That he would not have shown any symptoms during your pre- marriage relationship feels like something might have suddenly gone wrong.

Also the fear of having just married and then possibly  becoming his caregiver must have shaken you up.

We had a president with ALZ in office for years. People can function in their jobs with some accommodations...but no symptoms before marriage and now missing memories seems sort of urgent to me.

 You both want him to reach retirement age and to receive benefits. You both want him to recover so you can live the life you intended. My approach would be to use that approach. Better to fix some thing if it's off early and always be on his side of any diagnosis discussion. as in "we both know you are in good health and we have our plans, let's get this checked out so if it is anything we catch it soon and get back to other things." that sort. YOUR worry he senses and is reacting to so please tend to your own concerns.

I don't think his current memory lapses would appear so fully formed out of the blue. There are other causes and to relieve your own anxiety (which becomes his "moodiness") try thinking of this as probably NOT ALZ so you can get him help asap.

Hope to hear from you again. Smile at him often.

With some people who do have early ALZ the meds help them so much they can keep working. Find out what the consequences are if he goes through military medical and does get a diagnosis (which as you can see on our boards can takes YEARS). Since he works for UPS maybe he could go for an exam under that medical insurance at a non military doctor.

 

 

 


Jenny2015
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 8:46 AM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you for the helpful information and advice.  It is much appreciated and I will put it to good use.   God bless you!
Jenny2015
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 8:47 AM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you Michael and will do.  You comment and advice is greately appreciated!
Jenny2015
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 8:54 AM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you Mimi for the excellent advice!  He went to see my Hormone specialist before we got married (over 6 months ago) and had the saliva test done to test for hormone imbalance because he was "extremely stressed" and having problems sleeping.  Needless to say, he never went in for his follow up because "he forgot."  To be honest, I have to follow through with him on all appointments or they don't get done.  I'm seeing the specialist this evening for my 6 month follow up and going to schedule his appointment for a complete blood work up and to finally go over the test results from his spit test.  It's a starting place.  I keep thinking the symptoms could just be related to extreme stress and hormone imbalance, although my gut tells me it's something more serious.  Right now he's fighting it because he's afraid of what the doctors will find.  I admit, I can't blame him so I'm desperately trying to remain calm and patient.  As a Speech Pathologist, I've given advice to families for years and have a good "sixth sense" in identifying Dementia.  It's so different, however, to be on this side of the fence.
Jenny2015
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 8:57 AM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you Iris.  My husband is adamantly opposed to taking any medication.  The only meds he takes are OTC allergy meds and an OTC sleep aid on occasion.  He does have Psoriasis and uses a topical cream.  His doctor expressed concern several months ago about having Psoriatic Arthritis.  I don't know if there's a concection to memory loss with Psoriasis, but I'm not ruling out anything at this point.
Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 8:58 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035


Yo can ceretainly try asking: And what if all you need are a few B 12 shots?
Jenny2015
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 9:13 AM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you so much for the caring and informative message.  As far as not detecting the signs before our marriage, there's a reason for that.  We had a short engagement phase and lived in two different states.  It's a complicated story, but the jist of it is we met right before I had to move to relocate to another state.  We broke up and then got back together and decided to marry.  So, with the exception of 1 month, we lived apart our entire courting and engagement period (which was less than one year).  We spoke over the phone for hours and I did notice some unusual behaviors at times, but chalked it up to stress of getting newly married.  He relocated to my location a few months after we married and that's when I noticed things were off.  He did forget one event prior to moving here, but again, I chalked it up to stress.  My alarms went off when he forgot that he had introduced his nieces to my children who were all in our wedding party less than 6 months ago.  He reintroduced them as if they had never met.  That's when his sister became concerned.  I've consulted her and she's told me she's noticed an increase in his telling the same stories over and over again and how he forgot his niece's birthday and repeatedly asked her when it is.  But like me, she's chalked it up to stress and possibly midlife crisis.  He doesn't think there's anything to be concerned about, which is the hardest part of all of this.  I don't know if he's in denial, or just doesn't understand there's a problem.  My husband has a beautiful heart and loves his family.  He is a former special ops soldier and recently promoted to Colonel.  He does take pride in being able to care for his family so I know this is terrifying.  I have decided to get him in to see my Hormone specialist (he was supposed to have his follow up appoinment months ago but "forgets" to make his appointment) and get a full blood workup done.  Also, he's been here almost 3 months and can't find any of his documents to get his license and car registered.  Every time I ask him about it he says, "I'm working on it."  I'm desperately trying to give him space and allow him independence with taking care of his personal matters so he feels confident and independent, but I'm finding if I don't help, it doesn't get done.  I love my husband very much and only want him to get help for whatever is going on.  But that's the hard part, convincing him to see someone.
Jenny2015
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 9:21 AM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you and I agree.  My concern is more than memory, like his inability to manage more than one task at a time, word loss during conversation with him covering it up by interjecting "you know" constatnly and taking hours to make a simple grocery run.  That said, I'm staying positive and planning to wait until he's had a full workup and consultation with trained physicians before I jump to any conclusions on a specific diagnosis.  I believe I'm overly sensitive because of my training and experience with Dementia patients, so I'm trying to stay calm before jumping to conclusions.
alz+
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 1:35 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3549


Jenny - you are not overly sensitive. You are aware and kind.

Having dementia makes everything so difficult, and yet once I knew what I had I started to learn how to work around it.

Now I am at another point where it is better I just don't try to do all I want, like sending a Christmas card to family. I finally wrote one, put a stamp on it and lost it. Took me 7 hours to put an ashtray of my father's in a box to ship to my son. I could not figure out how to give my grandkids Christmas gifts.  whatever the reason may be for your husband's problems you are a Godsend to him. That part is obvious.

love and courage


TheSteven
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 6:17 PM
Joined: 10/11/2014
Posts: 167


Welcome Jenny2015,

I was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimers at 56. I attribute the root cause of my ALZ to be the mercury dental fillings in my mouth.

I improved after they were removed. Have you looked into your husband's mouth to see if he has those dark fillings in his mouth? I have a blog about that at http://thestevenalztreatment.blogspot.com if your husband has those mercury dental fillings. Read the links and watch the videos in the July 4, 2015 blog entry.


Jenny2015
Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 2:40 PM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you Alz+ for the encouraging words...they are so much appreciated.  My husband has completed extensive bloodwork and a hormone test and we are awaiting results.  As much as I want to believe there is some underlying physical explanation for this, my heart tells me no.  Since my last post, he's forgotten movies we've seen together and even forgotten about a good friend who attended our wedding, only 6 months ago...and not just his name...he acted as if he never met him.  And his children have reached out to me that he hasn't paid certain bills which he told them were paid.  No matter what anyone tells me, I know this is not normal.  I've reached out to his family who admit his behavior has changed over the past several years, but they chalked his "forgetfullness" up to being overly stressed.  I'm desperately trying to be patient and calm, while anxiously awaiting results and answers.  It's so hard because we've only been married for 6 months and dated only one year prior...which was a long distant relationship.  I've reached out to his family to get information in order to "put the puzzle pieces" together and they are being as helpful as possible.  Thank you again...you are the godsend to this community.
Jenny2015
Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 2:45 PM
Joined: 12/14/2015
Posts: 10


Thank you thesteven for the tip...I'm pretty sure he does not have any fillings but I'll check.  If that's a cause for concern, I'm in big trouble because I have a couple!!! Yikes!
jfkoc
Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 3:52 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 17566


Please do let us know. If the "result" is dementia please do what it takes to pinpoint the dementia he has. It can make a big difference in treatment...medical-treatment non the non-medical treatment.
jfkoc
Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 7:50 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 17566


Forgot to add to have his hearing checked by a Dr.
Iris L.
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2019 11:50 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16200


ttt for Michael.

Iris


Mimi S.
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2019 12:01 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035


Hi Jenny,

What's going on?


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2019 12:11 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2680


That help me alot thanks Mimi.
LeoSc
Posted: Monday, March 4, 2019 3:49 PM
Joined: 6/17/2014
Posts: 7


Jenny

My wife was a LtCol in USAF working in a very stressful position as the Emergency Medical Planner for Northern Command.  Her immediate supervisor notice that she was missing some suspense and not following up on emails.  Since her immediate supervisor "a Medical Doctor/Surgeon General of Northern Command knew my wife's family history "Mother diagnose at the age of 56 with Alz" he requested a medical eveluation to include Psychology and Neurology evualtions.  Long story short, she was diagnose with Mild cognitive impairment.    The positive side of this intervention was that she was officially diagnose with MCI, she was also recommended to be tested in one year to determine the progress of her MCI.  A year later she was diagnose as having Alzhemier and the Military Nuroologist recomend she seek care from the VA Geriatric Evaluation and Management clinic.  

Being treated and evaluated by the VA she was given 70% for Alzhemier and listed 100% Disable and Unemployable.  Which help in applying for Social Security Disability.

The long and short of this txt, is get your husband evluated by a NuroPsychologist for his Memory.  Only a NuroPsychologist and Neurologist will be able to help you with treatment and furture VA disabliities.

The military Neurologist started my wife on Donepezil and Menantine.  

All of this happen from 2005 to 2013, in 2013 with the help of the VA I place my wife in a Memory Nursing Home which is paid for by the VA.  She is currently in stage 6, doesn't talk, doesn't know me, has to be feed, unable to sit up straight, and has to be taken care of for ALL of her personal needs.  

I know this is just info, but please have your husband seen by a NeuroPsychologist or Neurologist.  It will help him as well as you.

Steven


Jo C.
Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 7:33 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 10227


Just a bit of information:  This is an old Thread from 2015.

J.