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Should I be worried about DH?

(61 Posts)
MamaCaz Sun 11-Feb-18 16:53:54

This morning, DH (early 70s) was writing a letter, but suddenly stopped and had to ask me how to spell the word 'many'. On the face of it, nothing much, as we all have our momentary lapses of memory but it really got me thinking. I am finding it increasingly difficult to have a conversation with him these days, as he frequently seems to miss the point that I am trying to make, and i've noticed him really struggling to find the words he needs in conversations. A few months ago, when we were in the car, he suddenly pointed to a road sign and asked me what it meant - it was simply a derestricted speed limit sign, though admittedly there was something very slightly unusual about it which even I couldn't quite put my finger on.
Thinking about it, I would say that he has changed a lot over the last 10 years. He was always quick tempered, but it would be a flash in the pan, and soon forgotten. I have seen him start to hold grudges more and more. He is now quite moody. I have suspected that he might be depressed (though he would be furious if I suggested it, and not agree to seek help), but I also have this nagging fear that it might be something more.

Do you think that i should be worried?

paddyann Sun 11-Feb-18 17:10:55

I would march him to the doctor asap ,but then since my OH had a heart attack I'm very over protective of him and have sent him with things I'm worried about but the doctor found hilarious...for example a "lump " that the GP confirmed was ..His Breastbone he had lost weight !This week I sent him with a query about aortic aneurysms as his dad had two ,the last one killed him.Doctor was very understanding and said that he will be called for a check but not to worry meantime and that he /I WASN'T WASTING HIS TIME BY BEING CAREFUL.

janeainsworth Sun 11-Feb-18 17:15:40

I’m sorry to say it, but I would be worried mamacaz.
I think it depends on the frequency of these events. As you say, everyone has lapses of memory & struggles to find the right word occasionally, but if it’s happening a lot, or increasingly so, I’d be worried.
Are you able to talk to him about his moodiness, or talk him out of his moods?
Has there been anything going on, like loss of friends or family, that might mak him depressed?

Luckygirl Sun 11-Feb-18 17:22:59

That is hard for you - it could be something or nothing. Has he expressed any concern about these incidents? You are clearly worrying about either depression or dementia.

If you believe that he would not be willing to discuss these with the GP, then you are probably at this stage confined to "watchful waiting" - not a great help, but I am not sure what else you can do at the moment.

Have any other family members commented to you at all that they have noticed changes?

If he shows concern then you might have a way in to encourage him to see the doc.

My OH (who has PD) is a master in the art of the non-sequitur, as yesterday:

OH: When I was at school (in the midlands) we used to travel to the annual Oxford/Cambridge rugby match.
Me: Oh - why did you go to that match?
OH: Oh well; the PE teacher was Welsh.
Me: I see.

We have lots of conversations like that.

Sorry you have this worry hanging over your head, and that you are having to endure the grumpiness.

MamaCaz Sun 11-Feb-18 17:30:43

I am fairly certain that raising the subject with him would lead to a major meltdown, and wouldn't help. I keep hoping that he will say or do something that will make it possible to raise the issue in a natural way, but so far that opportunity hasn't arisen.

Jane, just the fact that he is getting older gets him down. I am convinced that something isn't right, but really don't know if it's depression, the start of dementia, both, or something else.

merlotgran Sun 11-Feb-18 17:38:11

I would just keep an eye on him unless things escalate, MamaCaz. You know him better than anyone else so go with your instincts.

My DH had a stroke seven years ago and although he recovered well I've noticed one or two after effects returning, like muddling up left and right and forgetting dates.

He has regular check ups for other health issues though so if I feel overly concerned I will have a chance to mention them rather than confront him first.

They don't 'arf keep us on our toes, these men!

Luckygirl Sun 11-Feb-18 17:43:35

MamaCaz - I think you are bound to worry. You know him best and know what is normal for him. But it also seems that challenging him - or bringing up the subject tactfully - is not going to help at this stage; and will just feed into his fear of getting older. You do not ant to be in the receiving end of his anger.

I hope that something will give you the opportunity to talk with him about this - perhaps an observation from someone else. Although I do understand about people presenting well for outsiders or wider family, whilst being difficult when the two of you are together.

kittylester Sun 11-Feb-18 17:43:49

When we were concerned about mum I rang the gp about our concerns before a scheduled medication check. The gp them suggested that she did a 'routine' memory check on mum who she then referred to the memory clinic.

If dh has Alzheimer's it is a good idea to get an early diagnosis so any possibly treatment can start.

MamaCaz Sun 11-Feb-18 17:43:55

Luckygirl Your expression ' "watchful waiting" describes perfectly where I feel i am at right now.
I have, in passing, mentioned this to our sons. They are aware of what their dad is like, but probably haven't noticed this happening like I have. Some of the changes have been so gradual that I don't think they really remember that he wasn't always like this.
I feel as if I am waiting for an accident/incident to happen that will make it impossible to ignore this - whatever 'this'is -any longer.

gillybob Sun 11-Feb-18 17:45:24

I best get an app with GP ASAP then. I “lose” simple words all of the time . shock

janeainsworth Sun 11-Feb-18 17:51:53

I feel for you mamacaz.
I think most people, myself included, feel worried at the prospect of old age creeping up and the possibility of serious illness at some point. I think the antidote is to try to enjoy something every day, and have something to look forward to.
I wouldn’t risk a confrontation by suggesting a visit to the doctor.
But are there things that your DH is interested in, or enjoys, that you could encourage him to do or organise for him? Does he have friends that you could invite round or organise a trip to the pub for lunch? Anything really that he could look forward to and would provide some stimulation.

BlueBelle Sun 11-Feb-18 18:01:16

Dementia can creep up very slowly we first noticed Mum when she was about 73 she was deaf and had applied and been accepted for a dog for the deaf She adored any dog and was thrilled to bits She had to go for a few days to learn the commands and interact with the dog Dad asked me if Id go too She was so excited the first day she met the dog which was gorgeous The second day she came back in such a bad mood and said she didn’t want the dog it was horrible and didn’t do anything she told it It was only afterwards we realised she really couldnt understand or remember the commands She told everyone it was a horrible disobedient dog After that it was very very grandual over ten years sometimes you would hardly notice anything but by 83 it was horrendous and the last seven years of her life were dredfully tragic
If you do feel it might be that the earlier he can get on medication the better My friend managed her husband who she suspected was going down that route by saying the surgery had booked them both in for an MOT strangely enough they also found she had a not serious lung problem she knew nothing of and that at some point she’d had a heart attack which again she never knew shed had They also found it was sleep apnia that was causing the husbands problem

M0nica Sun 11-Feb-18 21:18:54

mamacaz, a very simple thing. Is he drinking enough? No not alcohol, but dehydration can cause similar problems to those you describe. So keep plying him with cups of tea/coffee and have water on the table at meal times and make sure it is consumed.

If that isn't the problem, I would encourage a visit to the Wellman clinic that most surgeries run.

MawBroon Sun 11-Feb-18 21:47:39

Dehydration and UTI’s can mimic the symptoms of dementia.
Have you told us how old he is?
I would still see a Dr though, make up an excuse if need be.

MissAdventure Sun 11-Feb-18 21:57:22

Mini strokes can cause these kind of symptoms, but its impossible to know without it being checked out properly.
Could an M.O.T type appointment be 'due' at the doctors, perhaps? Then they could do a few routine tests.

MamaCaz Sun 11-Feb-18 23:01:13

He drinks plenty, so i don't think that's a problem.

He already has plenty of visits to the doctor, as he is very quick to get any physical problems checked out, but he would associated symptoms I've described -if he is aware of them at all - with mental health, and would rather ignore them. I don't think he would mention them to the doctor even if the doctor asked.

Synonymous Sun 11-Feb-18 23:17:52

I am in the same position MamaCaz and I am doing the 'watchful waiting' myself and also hoping it is just my imagination. My DH is constantly monitored due to ongoing health problems and the things which I notice are pretty nebulous although our DC have noticed odd things now and then which reassures me that I am not going crackers! He would be incandescent if I even hinted at such a thing to him never mind a health professional. hmm

Synonymous Sun 11-Feb-18 23:20:06

My DH is currently on such strong meds that I am hoping that is all it is!

NanaPlenty Mon 12-Feb-18 09:52:07

It is easy to worry about little things. You'd be right to keep a watch on him and of course try and get him to speak to someone if it gets any worse. My hubby is 65 and I have recently noticed a few changes - I often think he is forgetting stuff when actually half the time he is just doing the men thing and not listening! He too is often grumpy - the state of the world and politics and all sorts really annoys him to the point where sometimes he forgets any good stuff! Good luck hope all is ok, hope it's just grumpy old man syndrome!

Misha14 Mon 12-Feb-18 09:53:09

I was similarly worried about my DH. Then he took himself off the beta-blockers the doctor had prescribed and the man I knew was back. DH apparently was one of the few people that has the side effects, but then he gets those with most of the medication he is on. So always check the medication first.

LJP1 Mon 12-Feb-18 09:55:35

I'm sorry that you have these worries and I suspect your OH is also aware but he may be too worried to investigate in case he has developed dementia, which would be very frightening. This often express itself as angry outbursts.

If you could talk to him calmly it would help to get him assessed as soon as possible.

peaches50 Mon 12-Feb-18 09:58:44

I forget ordinary words and struggle at times to remember where I put things etc. Good to be cautious but try not to worry too much.. flowers. Old age is a horrible thing but then the alternative isn't much better.

Pollaidh Mon 12-Feb-18 09:58:59
If you are worried, MamaCaz, then you should seek some support. The link is to the helpline for the Alzheimer's Association in the UK and I am sure they will be happy to listen to your concerns about you OH and offer encouragement and support. I also think that the advice above - that you speak to his doctor privately - is excellent. Your doctor should respect your confidentiality, but you will have prompted them to widen the scope of OH's next routine visit. If it is difficult to get the GP on the phone, you can write to them. I have done this for my Dad and it has helped enormously. Best of luck.

monkeebeat Mon 12-Feb-18 10:00:45

As we get older we DO have to accept dementia as a possibility.
It may be worth YOU having a conversation with your GP and see what your GP would suggest regarding what would be the best way to approach this.

Tiggersuki Mon 12-Feb-18 10:01:05

If he has any friends you could talk to that might help. Ask if they have noticed anything. Sometimes a suggestion to get checked out may be taken more seriously from a male friend. Annoying I know but sadly true unless you have a very enlightened husband. Good luck