My daughter says she will never go to a doctor on Thursdays – Thursdays are now bad for doctors in her mind. Last Thursday I got my diagnosis. This Thursday I was supposed to get my MRI, but did not because I canceled it until next Thursday (oops – bad move). My mum has been increasingly complaining of not being able to think of a word when she wants it, easy normal words, too. And she does the NY Times crossword every single day and ALWAYS completes it come hell or high water. The last month she has had difficulty completing it. First we laughed it off as age-related bullshit. Then we blamed the puzzlemakers for obscure (yeah, as if they usually aren’t) clues. But her stopping to think of simple words scared her. I saw an ad on tv for Aricept for memory/beginning alzheimer’s (now being used for MS, too) and remembered a customer of mine extolling its virtues for his memory.
I went to my mum’s last night because had out-of-the-blue screamed at me over something stupid. He may yell and stomp, but he never screams. After my recent week I was so not in the fucking mood and went immediately to “quiet mad”. My quiet mad is …. well, best for everyone to just take cover. I was also pissed that I didn’t get the pleasure of saying something truly shitty to warrant the response. I mean really – if you’re going to scream shouldn’t I get to REALLY piss you off first? I’m thinking “Do you know where the 3-way light is?” doesn’t fall into that category. (Long story, short ending, we’re fine, he’s contrite, he may finally learn to control his entitlement bitch attitude.)
So quiet mad me calmly shut down my computer, put on my boots, grab my coat and purse and got in the car. I calmly drove to my mum’s, knocked on her door and when she answered and asked why I was there, I replied, “I’m mad at dh, he screamed at me for no reason and I’m not remaining in the house with that. So I’m hear for you to ply me with liquor and cigarettes.” She of course answered, “Okay, c’mon in.” Heh. Gotta love moms.
So I was there for hours, 4 glasses of wine, whine, dinner, and smokes. We talked straight through the hours and several times she had to stop to try to think of simple words and became increasing irate over it. I told her about the ad for Aricept. I asked her why she has not her doctor. (This started a month ago and has gotten worse.) She said “I don’t know.” I told that after seeing the ad I was thinking of calling her doctor myself. She said “Would you do that, please?” This is my mum’s way of yelling “Help me!” without raising her voice. She showed no signs of stroke in weakness, slurring of words (not counting the wine), odd gait, etc.
I called her doc this a.m., left a message – 1 month, memory and cognitive thinking skill problems. The office called back within 15 minutes and message from doc was take her to ER now. Now? Now. You understand it has been going on for a month. Can she go this afternoon? (This is 45 minutes from my MRI appointment and my daughter had called to see if I could watch grandson after MRI because he is home from school sick.) Nurse says “I can’t make that decision for you.” I ask, “But he wants to be seen today, right?” “Yes, he wants to be seen today. He to tell you that he thinks too highly of your mother to try to treat this over the phone. Go to hospital so they can run the necessary tests.” Okay. Call mother. Tell her we’re going in a few hours, after MRI and grandson pick up. She says she doesn’t want to go. I tell her that though I realize I stated it as if she has a choice she really does not as I am coming over and taking her.
I hang up and though I really want this MRI done today, I am uncomfortable waiting, so I call daughter, ask what other arrangements can be done for grandson. That is taken care of. I call MRI place and tell why I must reschedule. Call daughter back, tell her to tell my mum I’m on my way.
We get there and they are PACKED. Two hours to be taken back. Another hour to see the doctor. Yes, arrived at noon, doctor at 3. Why yes, I could have had my MRI – 4 times in fact. All neuro signs are fine, all status questions answered correctly. Just this memory/word/thinking thing. *pat pat* “It’s normal as you age to have memory problems.” “Yes, I realize that, but it was sudden a month ago, and now is worse. I cannot even finish and now barely start a crossword puzzle.” ~smile~ “I know, but age can cause memory problems and everything else is normal. We’ll do a CT and then we’ll send you home. You’ll need to follow up with a neurologist and get an MRI which can show details. A CT can only show “big” things and I don’t think we are going to find anything. Doctor exit stage right.
Two and half hours later. Doctor enter stage left – contrite and sheepish. “Remember how I told you memory problems can happen from aging? Well, that is true. However, in your case we found a 3 cm mass in your left front temporal lobe.” ~crash goes reality~ “I’m very sorry. Your symptoms were so specific and so focal and everything else was normal I am shocked.” Mum- “I’m very shocked, too.” “My doctor was right then to send me.” Doc- “Yes, I’m going to tell your doctor he was right and I was wrong. I’m sorry.” We forgave her because they stayed packed and there were too many witnesses to kill her.
Mum is admitted. MRI tomorrow. Could be something “old” and not growing. Could be “new” and cancer. There was swelling around the mass, too. After MRI results when they can determine old or new and what have you, if they are going to biopsy and maybe operate she will be transferred to a facility with the specialized equipment for it.
I got home about 10:15. I had no meds with me. I sat in a hard chair all day. I hurt. Lots. All immediate family members have been notified. I have phone calls and such tomorrow. I cannot call off work because someone is out of town.
It has been a long week. Quite. Anything you can spare for my mum, please do. If you’re already sending elsewhere maybe just a quick whisper to your Gods? Thanks in advance.
My daughter is right. Thursdays are bad days to go to the doctor.