My grandfather forgot how to write his alphabet

Last week, my grandfather took a mighty tumble on his front walkway. He banged up his knees and back pretty well, but claimed he didn’t hit his head. Luckily, my mother was in town for the holidays and was able to keep an eye on him. He refused to go to his doctor, because he’s a stubborn, stubborn man.

He spent the next few days getting increasingly sore and stiff, until he couldn’t get out of bed by himself. There was no way he could fold himself into the family car, so my mom called in a distant relative with a big van to take him to the ER.

While filling out his forms, he paused over the signature blank on one page long enough for my mom to ask him if something was wrong. “I can’t remember how to make the letter L,” he said.

The doctors gave him a CAT scan and then claimed the only thing wrong with him was that he was 88 years old. Funny, he was 88 two weeks ago and still had full mastery of the alphabet.

Back at home, my mom suggested he wind down by watching Jeopardy on television. He picked up the book beside his bed and then complained that Jeopardy wasn’t in it. Apparently there have been many more bizarre behaviors and lapses that I will be filled in on later.

Luckily, my aunt has agreed to come stay with my grandparents after my mother leaves. My grandfather won’t be alone and will presumably be made to go back to the doctor.

I’m scared and concerned and guilty that I wasn’t loving enough during my visit this Christmas. I’m aghast that this level of brain impairment can descend so quickly. I’m worried this is the beginning of the end for him.

Scary indeed.

If you are nearby, you should try to get a visit in. He’s probably scared about this situation himself, and would probably like some familiar company, even if you just sit with him.

Your grandfather may have had a micro stroke, also refered to as a TIA, transient ischemic attack. It may have even caused his fall.

My mother-in-law began to have them and fell several times before we had to get her 24 hour care. A TIA is not as noticable as a major stroke and the confusion can be just passed off as getting old.

Ask you grandfather’s doctor.

I was going to suggest this too. My great aunt suffered something similar aged 87, but recovered all her faculties within a week or so.

**Euphonious Polemic **, unfortunately we live several thousand miles apart. I was there for a week over Christmas and the fall happened a few days after I left. I’ve called and sent emails and I realize it’s all I can do right now, but it still doesn’t feel like quite enough.

**ghardester **and jjimm, my mom, aunt and I all thought it might be a stroke too. My aunt will take him to his regular doctor, who will hopefully give a more thorough examination than he received in the ER.

So sorry to hear this. They definitely need to be persistent with the doctors. As I’m sure you know, ER care varies widely from hospital to hospital.

Hope you can at least talk to him often; there are few things I’ve regretted more than being bad at calling my grandparents. All of them were far away and I should have called them much more often than I did.

Good wishes for a quick recovery for your grandfather.

Just anecdotal: A elderly relative of mine is a minister. One Sunday morning, before he left for church, he was going over his sermon notes. He then told his wife that “he couldn’t read his notes.” She knew something was wrong, so she took him immediately to the ER. Turned out that he had some bleeding in the brain.

They got it taken care of, and he hasn’t suffered anything physically debilitating from it, but his rehab is going back to starting with Dr. Seuss books. Don’t know how well that’s working out, though.

I would not covet neighbor’s wife.
Not even if I were in strife.

I could not, would not kill a man.
With a gun or frying pan.

I promise not to lie or cheat
Even if it would be neat.

My grandmother (94) has been going through the same things since Christmas Eve and was diagnosed with TIAs. Unfortunately, though she has had periods of lucidity, she has gotten worse and has become dehydrated and unwilling to eat. I think she has given up, she just wants to stay in bed and die.

I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather, TherMerchandise. It is hard to see the ones we love start to fail. My mom has Alzheimer’s, and recently went through a series of mini-seizures. One thing that came out of her trip to the hospital is that she had a massive urinary tract infection, which apparently can cause or exacerbate confusion in the elderly.

You might want to check to see if this is something your grandfather’s doctors have checked.

Forgetting the alphabet for more then a sec, (even I have to sing-song for a second to get it right :)) isn’t normal.

Forgetting where you put your keys is normal, forgetting a lunch date is normal, forgetting where you parked your car is normal. Forgetting how to use a key is not normal, forgetting how to drive isn’t normal.

You see the difference.