Z listens to a friend

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.

13 comments on “Z listens to a friend

  1. Z

    Thank you so much, Savannah. I will pass the link on to him, I think he would like to get as much information as possible at this stage.

    I did say, the doctor might have asked more questions and she had blanked those she couldn’t answer. Apparently, a blood test was taken, but she thinks that related to the other matter. I feel that he needs to go with her.

  2. Scarlet Blue

    I hope your friend gets all the help he needs, his wife might have been worried about succumbing to this illness for many years due to it seeming to be in her family.
    My own short term memory is appalling, but I put it down to having a lot on my mind.

  3. Z

    I’ve been anxiously counting back in 7s from 100, Scarlet. I have been working on my memory for years – I used to remember facts from books, now I’m much better about remembering facts about people. And I try to focus.

  4. Z

    Start by counting back in fives or twos and build up. I use mental arithmetic, such as 17 times table, as distraction in the dentist’s chair, so I should be able to do it easily. It’s common sense that eludes me.

  5. Roses

    Counting back in 1s is a challenge for me.

    So sorry to hear of your friend’s wife’s problem. How frustrating not to have it taken seriously, especially as it runs in the family.

    And yes, you are warm.

    When we will hug again?

  6. Macy

    He could try phoning the surgery and talking to the doctor on his own.
    The doctor wouldn’t be able to actually discuss his wife’s case, but he should take your friend’s concerns on board.
    I was surprised how open my mother’s GP was.

  7. Z

    He has done, but doesn’t feel that he was taken seriously. Although, since his wife didn’t let him go with her to the appointment, he doesn’t really know what happened, only what she says did.

  8. mig

    It’s a scary subject. I think you gave good advice but heavens I can’t help thinking that she must be feeling pretty scared herself. I know I would if there was a family history (in fact my memory has always been bad and is getting worse and I’m very grateful that all my family seem to have kept their wits right to the bitter end!)

  9. Z

    The more I think about it, the more I suspect that the doctor did take it more seriously than the impression that has been given. I know him, though he’s not in our practice, he’s a good man.

  10. 63mago

    Such a thing scares me – unpreventable, with announcement, no way out. Let’s hope that the actual research will come up with a medicament: I read some weeks ago that it is possible to stop the development of the illness in mice and to “flush out” the albumins responsible for the malfunctions. As I understand they work on an inoculation. It could at least slow the development.


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