Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys, and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer at www.SeniorLifeGCM.com.
I am fed up with the prejudice against people once they have wrinkles and white hair. Once we are eighty or so, we are treated at times like we have suddenly lost our wits and our value. And we can be treated rudely and dismissed. My husband used to have memory trouble and his doctor called it dementia. I told the doctor all the ways Frank had changed. I had a nagging feeling there was something else going on. The doctor just looked at me and said, “What do you expect? He’s no spring chicken anymore.” So I went for a second opinion. It turned out my husband had something called NPH. They put a shunt in his head and he is back to normal – completely.
The moral of my story is that the old lady with no more than a high school education knew more about my Frank than that doctor with the big degree. I thought about suing that first doctor, but it turns out you can’t sue someone just for thinking and acting stupid.
Will you explain NPH to your readers so more people are on the lookout for it?
I love your pluck. Your husband picked well when he found you… or did you find him? Congratulations on being smart, observant and assertive and getting your husband the right care. We all need someone to advocate for us if we aren’t on our game. It makes me wonder how people manage who are not able to communicate easily or who don’t understand what to ask. Let’ all try to turn off our own thoughts and listen more deeply, respectfully and helpfully. Thank you for writing Gracie.
WHEN DEMENTIA IS REALLY NPH
NPH stands for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus which is when too much fluid has built up in spaces (ventricles) throughout the brain. The pressure from the excess fluid pushes against the brain and can cause irreversible damage if left undetected. A shunt can be placed surgically to drain the fluid back into the cerebrospinal space to relieve the pressure and reverse all or some of the symptoms.
This disorder makes up only 5% or less of those exhibiting dementia symptoms throughout our country. There is a trio of symptoms which occur in all cases of NPH. One doctor in training referred to the trio as: “Wobbly, Wacky and Wet.” He said “wobbly” meant that the person had a very unsteady way of walking. “Wacky” meant the person had dementia symptoms along with some bizarre ideations. And “wet” meant that the person has urinary incontinence.
If your loved one started right out with these three symptoms (rather than building into them over time which is expected in dementia) talk to your doctor right away. A brain scan will determine if NPH is present.
On the "The Andy Griffith Show" set in the fictional town of Mayberry (starring Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Ron Howard), what was the name of Andy's aunt?
A. Aunt Mabel
B. Aunt Betsy
C. Aunt Alma
D. Aunt Bee
The correct answer is D. Aunt Bee was played by actress Frances Bavier. In 1967 she won a Primetime Emmy for her acting in this series, which ran for eight years. During World War II she traveled with the USO to entertain U.S. troops in the Pacific.