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Change after covid
Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2022 11:34 PM
Joined: 12/9/2016
Posts: 13

Mom is in hospice and close to end stage. She’s vaccinated so when she got Covid two weeks ago, she had few symptoms and is now dealing mostly with fatigue and dehydration. We are working on both and she is getting back to where she was before the virus. However, tonight she had some improved cognitive ability that surprised us. She lives in memory care, and told us she was angry about it. She says (not quite as clearly as I’m typing it, but pretty clear) that the staff doesn’t know her, and she wants to be with family. She wants to go out and visit family (which we will do if she physically can), and she doesn’t like it how we come and go. All pretty clear thoughts. She seems to remember being in quarantine and the staff leaving her alone in her room. We were surprised at both her ability to remember recent events, and have clear and painful thoughts and feelings about them. Has anyone experienced this type of surprising cognitive improvement? Any thoughts?
Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2022 6:08 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 3734

Two thoughts come to mind-

1) Sometime PWD do recall experiencing something that came with a profound emotional cost. For whatever reason, my dad couldn't recall in what state he was currently residing, whether my sister was dead or alive or what he'd had for breakfast-- but a neurologist telling him he could no longer drive? He could recall-- and be angered by-- that until about 48 hours before he died.

2) You might ask your hospice people if they think this sudden clarity is "terminal lucidity". Sometimes people who are very near passing will make sense just before they do. My dad was freakishly clear the last time I saw him about 6 hours before he passed; I'm told my sister was too although I didn't witness it. 

Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2022 7:17 AM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 3203

I'd be more inclined to believe this is that last "perking up" some of our LOs do when they are very close to death than any sustained cognitive improvement.

In this context, with her dissatisfied with others being able to leave, I would NOT take her out to visit anyone, have them go to her if there's someone she wants to see.

I wouldn't expect this phase to last long, whatever is causing it.
Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2022 8:01 AM
Joined: 10/24/2018
Posts: 1525

Tramey-- I don't have any real opinion here, but am reminded of a discussion many years ago on a homeschooling-your-autistic-kid listserv regarding a number of moms who had found that when their child had a fever (regular viral infections) that the kid seemed to have a temporary reprieve form their autism. It was just one of those things nobody had the energy to follow up on, but definitely interesting. My own kid did not display this. 

There is a whole lot we have yet to learn about post-covid patients!

Maybe your mom's MC has a hospitality room of some sort where family could come visit? We served a fun (home-cooked-ish!) Thanksgiving dinner in my mom's "family private dining" area, and for the event she treated it like it was a restaurant! She seemed surprised that we didn't have to drive to get her to her bed!