In this post here, I mentioned my mother’s uncharacteristic behaviors last spring and summer.
At first I thought it might be due to side effects from her two COVID vaccines. Her doctor did too after an MRI of her brain and a carotid artery scan didn’t reveal any abnormalities. Then I thought it might be the beginnings of dementia. That provoked enough anxiety in me, as her only child, to make me wonder if I was going crazy.
As the summer wore on, new problems appeared. Her leg strength weakened, and she needed my help in going to and from the bathroom. Since my mother refused to see her PCP, but agreed to physical therapy, he sent her to physical therapy to build up leg strength. But the physical therapist noted that she seemed to be lacking energy and be run down.
In late August my mother was admitted to the hospital for bleeding. Following an endoscopy and colonoscopy she was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer. With that diagnosis, the doctors prescribed medication to cut down on stomach acid, and an iron supplement to raise her hemoglobin to proper levels.
Since a leaking ulcer reduces blood flow to the brain, cognitive and other processes are affected, and since blood flow is reduced to other parts of the body, physical strength becomes limited.
I am glad and relieved to be able to write that my mother is doing better than she has in a long time. I post this to give a heads-up to anyone who thinks an older relative or friend is developing dementia. Before jumping to conclusions, have a medical doctor check the person out. There are other, treatable reasons for strange behaviors.