I have been married to my husband for 24 years. Sadly, I can say without hesitation that he is not the man I married. He began having issues a few years ago. Issues at work and at home. He began "forgetting" small things. He quit his engineering job with a company he had been with for 12 years. He showed signs of withdrawl and began having problem solving skills, such as managing his checkbook. He stated that people were "out to get him", ripping out smoke alarms and light fixtures in our home. He did things such as walking into neighbors homes in the middle of the night. He began having hallucinations, mostly audible. I finally had to have him Baker Acted, or the police stated they would arrest him. He has been on medication for a year and his mental state improved; however, he began to have other symptoms which concerned me deeply. He began to have serious loss of memory. To the point of forgetting what we were conversating about mid sentence. He no longer has any desire to perform daily hygiene and if I leave the home and he is sitting in a chair, he will remain in that chair for 10 hours until I return home. He has difficulty making any type of decision. His personality has changed dramitically along with his appetitie or like/dislike for certain foods. For instance, he must and I mean MUST have a bowl of ice cream every night. He never liked ice cream before. He even forgot we were married 24 years ago. At a loss, I explained this to his therapist. She was sure it was not his medications or even the mental illness. I found a new primary medical doctor. She talked to him and I at length during the initial visit. She agreed, from his answers and conversation, that there was something seriously wrong. She ordered a full work-up, including a brain scan. The results were that his brain is shrinking rapidly and he has dimentia. He is only 43. We have a referral for a Nuero doc, but I am so lost. I have had to quit working because he can not even drive without being a danger to himself or others. What would be the most important questions for the Nuero doc?
Ask the neurologist for the diagnosis. Or at least a list of possible diagnoses (we call this the differential). Ask for what tests are necessary (and in which order) to determine the diagnosis. Ask about treatments, both FDA approved and those in clinical trials. In fact, consider getting a 2nd opinion at an academic research center specializing in dementia. For instance, here in Las Vegas, NV, we have the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Brain Center.
Beware of over-the-counter supplements sold to families desperate for cures. There are no miracle treatments. And there is no conspiracy hiding some miracle from you and everyone else.
Finally, ask your neurologist or your primary care physician for a letter stating that your husband no longer has the capacity to make legal & financial decisions so that you can begin the process of having him declared incompetent before he accidentally gives away your home. And ask for a social worker to help you consider all the options available to you to care for your husband.
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