My LO was actually thinking about her upcoming appt with the “lady Dr.” (she can’t remember her name), and she must have remembered something about the last visit when she was told that she had early/young onset Alzheimer’s. Specifically, the “NOT normal” MRI. She told me that, that damaged part of her brain is where she stores the stuff she doesn’t want to remember! We laughed for quite a while. That quick wittiness is what I will miss the most.
The neurologist always does the neurological testing with me out of the room and then she comes and gets me. This time she asked my LO if she wanted me in the room when they discussed her results and the next steps. The Dr. took this as a very positive response and quickly came and got me.
She started gently with saying that she did fairly well with the MMSE (mini mental status exam), saying that out of 30 possible points she would expect someone her age and level of education to score at least a 28, and she scored a 23, ( I was surprised it was even that high!), and that to her indicated a “Mild” case of Alzheimer’s. I braced myself for some fireworks; didn’t happen; (not yet anyways). Then she proceeded to discuss the MRI and the deficits she saw, more indications of Alzheimer’s. Now my LO seemed to be getting rather uncomfortable and her body was getting tense; and then she abruptly said that this conversation was annoying her and didn’t she remember that it’s her “pain” level that is the culprit. Again the Dr. did not give in; she agreed with her that she was positive the “pain” contributed but not in the areas she did poorly in, i.e. short term memory and orientation. She then continued to re-enforce the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and began the discussion of what she would recommend for treatment. Once again my LO interrupted her and started saying she had neck surgery as a result of a severe car accident when she was 15 and that’s why her brain is damaged. The Dr. listened intently and said she could get definitive proof with a Pet scan that would show the plaques and tangles, (Alzheimer’s disease). She could get it for free (since insurance doesn’t pay for it and they run at least 3k!) if she participated in a clinical trial. “Why would I be in a clinical trial if I don’t have anything that is permanently wrong with me? The days I don’t have pain I’m perfectly normal.” The Dr. said if she didn’t want to participate in a clinical trial, she could also have a lumbar puncture where they could measure the amyloid and tau proteins in her cerebral spinal fluid. If they were present that again would be proof of what really is the culprit. No response, just increased fuming!!
She then started to talk about medication that she could take that might help. Now, my LO interrupted again and flat out told her she did not agree! So now, the Dr. had nowhere to go if didn’t want to alienate her completely, so she said that next step could also be to just “monitor” her for 6 months.
Guess which option she chose…….?