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Moms and MOMs

A very happy birthday to teunc's MOM, the one and only Laurie Forbes!

Yesterday, I picked my mom up from the local airport shuttle stop (the Holiday Inn dome), as she returned from a 6-week trip to Taipei.

A few details about my mom's trip, for those who are interested:

I think I mentioned some of this to certain of you (MOM, sui_degeneris, Yoj, LV), but here's an update on my grandmother's condition:

  • As some of you in teunc know, my mom's mother had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) on 03 Jan 2004 that had her children taking her to the ER. The attack lasted less than 20 minutes and caused no permanent damage (the differentiating characteristic between a TIA and stroke).

  • After the ER visit and an annual checkup, my grandmother has been diagnosed with what appears to be a shortage of blood flow to her hippocampus. Symptoms include minor loss of long-term memory (LTM) from the onset of ischemia about 2 years ago and episodes of mild dementia (e.g., misremembering that she went out to lunch a week before when she hadn't). Her short-term memory (STM) seems to be mildly degraded, but in a way that is consistent with the tentative diagnosis, according to her neurologist.
  • My grandmother is already on anti-hypertensives and Lipitor for high cholesterol, but the blockage is severe enough. Previously, she was suspected of having early-stage Alzheimer's, so I was looking into cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept). Now she's been declared eligible for an experimental drug study for her condition. The requirements are that one cannot have had a stroke and must be exhibiting mild symptoms only to date.



Prayers and well-wishes for my grandmother are much appreciated.
Thanks to MOM for inquiring about her when we spoke!


To be brief, if I thought my mom was running a caravan going to Taiwan (with the tons of clothes she made me try on and review as gifts), she surprised me coming back. She had everything from ma3 ji2 (glutinous rice balls 1 filled with sweet bean paste1, peanut butter, sesame paste, and sometimes dried pork2) to sweater vests4 to essential oils5. The Silk Jetstream is now in operation, ppl.

1 This definition is provided for crypthanatopsis's benefit; I'll look up the words later if you wish, Nathan.
2 This is my favorite dessert in the whole wide world. If you want to know what will make me hug you as twinbee does when you give him Darjeeling tea, this is it. Though I must say that CHOKLIT chip academia nuts come rilly. rilly close.
3 I tried a tiny nibble of one of these. Not surprisingly, I didn't like it.
4 Where's my ornamental waistcoat, traskit? >:o/ :-P
5 Yes, my aunt Camille is on another of her alternative medicine adventures. It's a learning experience, even if Dr. Stephen Barrett at QuackWatch would prolly put her on a "known duck-feeders" list. (FYI, as a scientist, I have mixed opinions about both sides of the issue, but as a newphew, it's rilly fun to watch!)


--
Banazîr

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
oxbastetxo
Feb. 10th, 2004 04:24 pm (UTC)
Praying
Hang in there, hopefully they've caught this soon enough that it won't affect her quality of life. (((((Banazir))))

Smile!
banazir
Feb. 10th, 2004 05:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Praying
Hang in there, hopefully they've caught this soon enough that it won't affect her quality of life. (((((Banazir))))
Thanks muchly!
I hope so, too. It's too early to tell, but AFAIK this sort of problem is reversible or at least stoppable (without lesioning any LTM recall from before the onset of symptoms). Elderly people with this rather common problem can remember skills from before the ischemia just fine, which is what makes it hard to detect.

Smile!
:-)

--
Banazir
oxbastetxo
Feb. 10th, 2004 05:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Praying
It is hard to detect with TIAs. I've worked nursing care for over six years now and TIAs are very common with the elderly. My grandmother had hundreds. One or two don't cause much in the way of damage, but when you get them repeatedly, it's commutative damage that gets you. It's amazing the damage the human body can take and still go on.
banazir
Feb. 10th, 2004 05:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Praying
It is hard to detect with TIAs.
Yes. That's the tough thing - my grandmother was diagnosed with "memory loss and mild dementia" but my mom told me yesterday that the docs didn't actually misdiagnose her with Alzheimer's, just suspected her of having it until she finally got an MRI this past month and no plaques showed up.

I've worked nursing care for over six years now and TIAs are very common with the elderly.
Ah, OK. Please tell me more: how often can they happen per person?

My grandmother had hundreds. One or two don't cause much in the way of damage, but when you get them repeatedly, it's commutative damage that gets you.
Just so.

It's amazing the damage the human body can take and still go on.
True. Ever taken a cog psych or neurobiology course?
The "we only use 15% of our brains" isn't quite accurate, as you probable know; we use most of ours, but can lose up to 85% of certain organic structures and still function at the same level. Quite a different assertion.

Conversely, as a friend mentioned yesterday, it's also amazing how much our memory, thought proceesses, consciousness, personality, identity and physical health our can depend on one organ - and even a single substructure.

Thanks again for the info.

--
Banazir
oxbastetxo
Feb. 10th, 2004 06:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Praying
I've worked nursing care for over six years now and TIAs are very common with the elderly.

Ah, OK. Please tell me more: how often can they happen per person?

(Mind, this isn't exactly my field, but observations from dealing with the affects and reading on the subject)

That's something hard to gauge. Some can have catastrophic affect from a stroke or some can have hundreds of the mini ones (TIAs) and you can't really tell the difference except for the memory loss. The brain is something that so much is not known about and the treatments can vary so much. Blood thinners can help with circulation, but in the case of TIA, they can make them much, much worse causing bleeding in the brain. It's an issue of finding a happy medium.

I'm kind of in the same boat, per say. I have an autoimmune disease (Psoriatic Arthritis, of the same family as Rheumatoid Arthritis, only slightly more rare) and the treatment for it is still in it's infancy. Most of it is trial and error. Trying to find the right combination of drugs to slow it's affects, because there is no cure on the horizon yet. Amazing how much a "science" is still an art form.

Smile!
banazir
Feb. 10th, 2004 06:43 pm (UTC)
Medical science and medical art
Please tell me more: how often can they happen per person?
(Mind, this isn't exactly my field, but observations from dealing with the affects and reading on the subject)
Sure - it isn't my field, either, but for a flirtation with cogsci and computational neuroscience (CNS). I do like neurobiology an awful lot, though. If I'd had a better pre-med background (OChem/Mol Cell Bio, Molecular Genetics, Anatomy & Phys) I'd have probably gone M.D./Ph.D. in CNS.

I do love CS/AI, though, and wouldn't have missed it for the world.

That's something hard to gauge. Some can have catastrophic affect from a stroke or some can have hundreds of the mini ones (TIAs) and you can't really tell the difference except for the memory loss.
I see. My gran has had a blockage ("60-70% normal blood flow in the back").

The brain is something that so much is not known about and the treatments can vary so much. Blood thinners [pose a tradeoff]...
Yes, exactly.

I'm kind of in the same boat, per say. I have an autoimmune disease (Psoriatic Arthritis, of the same family as Rheumatoid Arthritis, only slightly more rare) and the treatment for it is still in it's infancy. Most of it is trial and error. Trying to find the right combination of drugs to slow it's affects, because there is no cure on the horizon yet.
I'm learning more about PA, RA, and the drugs and other treatments for them as time goes on. Has there been a lot of recent work in screening? I ask because I only recently even heard of them and started reading about corticosteroids and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

Amazing how much a "science" is still an art form.
Tell me about it.
Well, I know what you mean, though I wonder if our distinction of science from art is a value judgement in its own right.
But that's a discussion I should save for another day (when time permits), eh?

--
Banazir
scionofgrace
Feb. 10th, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear your grandmother is doing all right. Those kinds of illnesses can be scary, it's so hard to tell what exactly is going on. Here's hoping the experimental treatment works out!
banazir
Feb. 10th, 2004 05:59 pm (UTC)
Experimental treatment for TIAs
I'm glad to hear your grandmother is doing all right. Those kinds of illnesses can be scary, it's so hard to tell what exactly is going on. Here's hoping the experimental treatment works out!
Thanks very much, Dimond!
I'll post an update when I hear more.

--
Banazir
masteralida
Feb. 11th, 2004 03:34 am (UTC)
Many good thoughts and prayers for your grandmother, Banazir.
banazir
Feb. 11th, 2004 03:58 am (UTC)
Thank you
Many good thoughts and prayers for your grandmother, Banazir.
*bow*
Much appreciated.

--
Banazir
deire
Feb. 11th, 2004 03:52 am (UTC)
Thinking good thoughts for all of you.
banazir
Feb. 11th, 2004 03:55 am (UTC)
Thanks
Thinking good thoughts for all of you.
Thank you!
That means a lot to me.

--
Banazir
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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