A friend called in for coffee this morning and we chatted – the Sage was out having coffee with another friend, as it happened, although he came in and joined us later. After a while, I asked about his wife, because she has had some health problems recently and has had a blood test. No news, but it’s not going to be anything major. But it did give him an opening to tell me what’s really concerning him, and that is, he’s concerned that she is showing signs of Alzheimers and he can’t get the doctor to take him seriously.
We had a long talk about it. He wasn’t wanting reassuring platitudes, and I don’t feel that I’d be able to give them anyway. I’ve picked up that she’s becoming slightly vague recently, although I didn’t mention that. Apparently, he spoke to the doctor, she wouldn’t let him go with her and reported back that he had a series of questions that she was able to answer. She refuses to consider that there might be anything wrong, but her mother and sister suffered the same problem and he thinks he can see similar early symptoms. However, the questions were (she said) her name and address and things like that – we agreed that these would be forgotten almost last of all and are not suitable questions at this stage, when it’s short-term memory that is becoming a problem. For example, he said, she might answer the phone, have quite a long conversation, put it down and then ask who she’d been talking to. And she runs a small business from home and she has recently been forgetting to write down appointments, which she used to do as soon as she put the phone down.
I know nothing about the diagnosis or best modern treatment, but I suggested that he list specific incidents as they happen, and after a few weeks, insist on going with her to the doctor with that list. And if he doesn’t get any further, write asking for a second opinion. I suggested a couple of small things he could ask her to do, such as draw a clock face with a specific time on it (there must be suggestions on the internet, I’ll have a look). It can’t have been easy, raising the subject, but when he left, he hugged me for a long time and said I was warm. I suspect this is going to be harder for him than for her.
The Sage is out now, having lunch with another friend. He’s having a lovely time, recently. Not with me, specifically, but I don’t begrudge him that. Gives us stuff to talk about in the evenings.