After Bill’s medical history was noted, several other tests were conducted. Bill’s heart, chest and blood were all checked and found to be fine. Doctors studied the X-ray of the brain that had been taken in 2006 and a nurse administered the fifteen-question Glasgow Coma Test that they use to measure awareness. This is how it went:

Nurse:     Can you tell me your name?

Bill:         Bill.

Nurse:     Can you tell me your last name?

Bill:         William.

Nurse:     William who?

Bill:         William (was able to say surname)

Nurse:     Can you tell me the name of the Prime Minister?

Bill:         Johnny ….. Umm …… Johnny

Nurse:     Johnny who?

Bill:         I don’t know …..   (looking at me questioningly)

Nurse:     What about your birthday. Do you know when your birthday is?

Bill:          Ten ……Ten ……Ten ……zero eight……thirty-nine?” (looking at me for help).                                                                                                                   

Nurse:       Now, Bill.  Do you know where you are now? Don’t look at your wife …… Look at me …..Do you know where you are just now?

Bill:           I …..  I ….. I   (pause)

Nurse:       You’re in hospital, Bill. Can you name this hospital for me? Don’t look at your wife, Bill ….. No? Do you know why you’re here?

Bill:           I ….. I ….. Um …..

Nurse:       Can you remember how you came to the hospital this morning?

Bill:           I ….. I …. I don’t remember.

By the time we left the hospital at 4pm, doctors had declared that Bill had probably had a stroke.  They prescribed Asasantin (Aspirin based, to keep the arteries open), Lipitor (to control cholesterol), and Ramipril (to keep blood pressure in check).  As it turned out, because it gave him severe migraine-type headaches, Bill’s morning Asasantin was replaced by Aspirin and, for a couple of years, he took Aspirin, Lipitor and Ramipril in the mornings and Asasantin at night.

With Bill at last on some form of treatment, I was hopeful that we had overcome his problems …. that the medication would keep Bill’s arteries open and there would be no further loss of brainpower.  As well, Bill was now in the hospital system.  That meant that hospital doctors would check his health regularly.  Also, since he had failed the awareness test so dismally, he was now booked in to see a geriatrician in August.  Bill had scored 2/15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which, Wikipedia tells me, indicates severe brain damage. I was confident, though, that the information had been gathered and that we were on the right path to stopping Bill’s decline.

We enjoyed our trans-Australian holiday in July.  It is true that Bill was often tired and that he found the travelling hard work, but the trip passed by pleasantly enough, without too many adverse incidents.  I felt we were on track again.

  1. Fay

    I can still see him now, looking at me, his eyes pleading, begging me to help him remember where he was.

    December 18th, 2012 // Reply
  2. Suzi Carson

    early signs…
    I watched Louis Theroux late last night- a very good little visit to the world related to alzheimers in a little pocket of the USA. Your writing is reminding me.

    January 15th, 2013 // Reply
    • Fay

      I meant to watch that program, Suzi, but didn’t. Did you see the movie about MargaretThatcher? Was the Theroux program like that? Fay

      January 21st, 2013 // Reply
  3. Sonia Hendy

    The memories of this trip are great to keep in your heart and mind.

    January 28th, 2013 // Reply
    • Fay

      And aren’t we lucky these days, Sonia? We have the photos ….. both on the computer and in the albums. so, if the memories ever start to leave the mind, we can take a refresher course. Bill often took himself through those albums. He was always so pleased when he was able to remember.

      February 13th, 2013 // Reply
  4. Harold and Nola

    Yes, hang onto those memories, Fay, and selfishly, we have to admit that, not being in on all this, we still see the sometimes funny, sometimes stern man, that Harold grew up with and Nola has known for all these years, in all his strength. These blogs are doing both of us the world of good.

    March 16th, 2013 // Reply
  5. Fay

    Hopefully, they help us all understand a little more fully what the dementia patient goes through.

    March 31st, 2013 // Reply

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