I finished a book last night that has taken me a bit of time to get through. Only because I have 5 books going right now...
The book I just finished is called Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside by Katrina Firlik. The book is about her time as a resident. The very last chapter and very nearly the very last page she talks about surgeries that can be very satisfying for a brain surgeon, and one of those is the treatment of NPH. As I read those last few pages my heart was pounding and I could feel the blood rushing through my head. NPH stands for Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus which is a fancy term about the body not absorbing brain fluid as quickly as it's produced. It occurs mainly in older people and is often mistaken for dementia, parkinson's disease, alzheimer's or cretzfeldt-jakob disease. My mother has been said to have each of these at one time or another (except the last one which I never heard of before).
There are three simple things to look for that can indicate the person has NPH....
1. Memory problems
2. Walking or gait problems
ALL THREE OF THESE APPLY TO MY MOTHER!
What is the cure (or possible help)? Shunt surgery. A shunt is placed in the head to allow the excess brain fluid to flow to the abdomen and be absorbed by the body. The results of this can be amazing.
So now I am excited but confused. If this procedure did nothing more than allow my mother to actually enjoy reading a book again, I think it would be worth it. I hate that there is absolutely nothing that can entertain her anymore and yet she does know where she is and who I am and wants to very very badly to come home. I just wish we were still someplace that she had a regular doctor. At least then I would have a place to start. Not to be rude, but I just don't think the nursing home doctor is going to be much help.