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Lots of doctors this week



In the last month, we have had a flurry of medical activity, topped off by the two overnight tests in hospital last month. This week every single day Ray has a doctor office appointment. I have to be more careful in the future about my scheduling!


But we're getting some new feedback, after stagnating for the last year or so. First off, his psychiatrist wants to start him on a drug called Aricept, it's a memory booster I'm told, mostly used for Alzheimers but they think it may be useful for our purposes too. Every doctor we see insists that Ray has no short term memory but they must be reading that in a textbook somewhere. He remembers better than me to lock the door before we go out, remembers that Tuesday is garbage day and reminds me to take the cans out; or when he wakes up on Thursday, he knows it's therapy day. I told her all this, so to prove she was right, she asks him some questions. Like, what day is today? Ray did what he always does, starts holding up fingers which indicate he knows; unfortuately it's in a secret numerical language that only he can translate. Then she asks him who's president, naming some, and he gets it right. But then she said who was president 10 years ago, and of course he doesn't know. He's never voted and has zero interest in politics. I asked can't you ask him a musical or mechanical question, but her case was closed.


So not this time, because OF COURSE there will be more side effects and Ray is only just adjusting to the Depakote. Then, on the way home, we're checking out at the library and Ray suddenly perks up and says something to someone passing by. Expecting a neighbor, I look up to see a total stranger, a nice looking young woman. I'm like, uh oh, maybe his brain is a little off after all. She looks at me and says, "You don't remember me, do you? I was Ray's therapist at St Charles" (before we started at the brain injury place, so at least a year and a half ago). Of course then I did remember, but Ray picked her out of the crowd like nothing. He was always good at that, plus remembering names of people he went to high school with when he runs into them. Why couldn't the doctor have been there then? If only they could see him in action!


Ray's PT has been making Ray walk across the building to get to ST, and always comments on how stable he is. This week he recommended that I get a quad cane, it will be easier to get down the narrow hallway than his hemi walker. I instantly realized it would be a good thing to take on our train trip too, if he can get a week or two of pratice in first. Nancy tried to show Ray Dan's cane while they were here but he would have none of it. This time I'm not letting him off so easy. Just have to find one and see if I can get insurance to pay. Went to Walmart but they don't have. Went to CVS to pick up his meds and they don't have. Strange the PT said they have them for sale EVERYWHERE. I have a feeling Walgreens next door has them, but Ray got cranky so we went home. Maybe I'll just call the medical supply this morning and see what they can do for us. I'm hoping insurance will cover anyway.


Also for the first time, got some cardiology testing done, since Ray had been having a weird shortness of breath a few weeks ago. Consult is late Thursday after therapy but the technician already told us the results are good. I was pretty sure his symptoms were anxiety so not surprised. Sleep apnea consult today but the pyschiatrist already told us they are going to recommend a CPAP (which will be another overnight stay). Luckily Friday the "ladies" on the block are having one of their get togethers to play a card game and blab on Friday, so I'll have a little fun this week; it's two houses away so I will leave Ray by himself, since he can use the phone and I will call to check on him halfway through. He is not happy, although he's done it before in the days before our aides with no issues; I told him you think you don't need day care,so let's give it a test drive. He didn't have his usual quick answer to that one. All he ever does that time of day (if we're home) is watch TV so I'm sure he barely notices I'm gone.


We went into Queens for Easter, to visit some dear friends whom both husbands were just recently diagnosed with throat cancer. It was mostly family (a very extended Irish family) but I think they also needed some moral support from people who had been through the mill, the one that they are just starting to go through. My biggest concern was that the party was upstairs in an old fashioned house. Outside there are about six brick steps to get in, no railing. Then a narrow hallway filled with couches and things, then about 15 stairs up with railing on one side only. I was nervous but determined. I made sure he had his AFO on (he hates it and usually only puts it on for therapy). I also brought our lightest wheelchair. He made it up like a champ! Then going down, no problem, I couldn't believe how well he did. Then I realized why...most of the sons are firemen, so two of them just automatically were guiding him from behind. Then we get to the hallway, with the bricks outside. They did what firemen would do in a burning building, got him on the wheelchair, hoisted him up and carried him all the way to our car across the street. New Yorks Finest and Bravest! Talk about royal treatment, Ray loves being King Tut for a few minutes.


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Hi Sting - re Short term memory - just what I deal with - my damage is in right brain - I understand long -term & short term memories are in two different spots in the brain. & that short term must be able to move from it's location to long term if it's going to stick around - not positive about that. my long term memory for things before stroke is about 90-100% recall of this info can be slow at times. all my learned things B4 stroke . computers, accounting birthdays etc specific data is still there. the short term memory is used to do things - like going to fridge to get something & not remembering what etc being asked to let dog in - getting side tracked & quickly forgetting, thinking of groceries needed not writing it down right then & unable to think of it 5 min later. but knowing I need to start the new grocery list.


I absolutely hate trying to learn something new & am afraid of it eg new satelite tv provider remotes completely different. I look up a channel & can't remember by the time I put book down & grab remote.



locking door & safety stuff was part of me before stroke - so it is in my long term.


I find it soo frustrating as being the housewife - I still look after paying bills- planning meals - keeping prescrprescriptions refilled & up-to-date.


I spend a lot of time in the office looking for papers & bills I'm pretty sure I've seen - but realize I didn't quite finish with.


hopethis gives you an idea of how your Ray might affected by short-term as compared to long-term. to me short term represents my doing & thinking of something in the here & now . that's where I struggle.



my career was secretarial for 40 years plus I'm a anal organizer - being able to schedule is a big part of me it helps that skill is in my long term - it's not easy -now waste a lot of paper.


take care you two


Susan from Alberta Canada

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Thanks Nancy! And thanks Susan, you finally made me realize what they're talking about. Yes he has trouble with new remote controls and phones, or learning anything new, despite being an electronic genius previously. I didn't think of it as THAT short term,but now it makes sense. Sometimes I ask him what he had just asked and he blanks out. Oh well, we'll probably try the new pill at some point and see if it helps in any way.

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Sting, I ordered Larry's quad cane through Walgreens website online. It was a Lumex brand and only about $25.



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Thanks Julie! The PT said the price would be about that in a department store and $75 at the medical supply. I wonder if theirs are three times better or not? Watch, they'll probably give me Lumex brand.


I called the medical supply here and they said get a doctors note and they will take care of the money part, so I might go that way. They said you are allowed a new one from Medicare every two years. Today is therapy so I won't have the cane for this week anyway. I have bought a lot of gadgets for Ray that he just won't touch (like one of those long grabber devices, flash cards, even a laptop) so I'd rather not spend a penny because very likely he won't use it.


We had an appt at the hospital to get the results of Ray's apnea test yesterday and the doctor was running late as usual, so to keep Ray calm I wheeled him down the hall and found the room where he received his first PT at in-patient rehab. There was no one in the room, so I wheeled Ray in because he seemed to remember it well, I'm happy to say. Plus it has a gorgeous birds eye view of the harbor, so a nice place to wait. There were about 100 different canes hanging on the wall, so I took a quad one down and made Ray stand up to try it. I could tell he wasn't thrilled so this isn't going to be easy! I will definitely get one before next Thursday, I know Bill his PT will be able to talk him into it. He'll have two more sessions before we leave.

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