Sunday, December 5, 2010


Thanks for all your prayers and positive thoughts. My family really appreciates it.

I am so thankful to report that my niece Becky is out of critical care and in a regular room. For those of you who aren't aware, Becky is a kidney transplant recipient who contracted a virulent strain of pneumonia. This has happened before and it's always a dangerous situation. Luckily a pulmonologist read her xrays and set up an aggressive treatment plan. She's feeling 1,000 percent better and is looking forward to being released from the hospital in a day or two.

My mother was in the same ER on the day Becky was admitted. My sister was going back and forth from room to room and I was driving the 1 hour trip to take over responsibility for our mom while she focused on her daughter.

Let's just say that my mom's recent medical journey was a very wild ride. A month ago she was dealing with mild dementia including some short term memory loss. Her neurologist prescribed the drug *Aricept*, which was developed to help memory issues.

My warning is this - if a doctor prescribes this for your loved one, be very, VERY cautious about agreeing to this treatment. There are cases where it works miracles for people but those who cannot tolerate, or have allergic reactions to this drug, go through hell, literally and figuratively.

In a two week period our mom went from having some low level memory issues to being so incapacitated that we were consulting with a social worker to have her moved to the assisted living floor in her building. On this drug she had nightmares so terrifying that she was forcing herself to not fall asleep. She quit eating and called me in a panic, begging for permission to stop taking the pills. After online research I discovered similar experiences of side effects not mentioned on the drug companies website, or mentioned by her doctor.

After she stopped taking the pills the real hell began. Let's just say "major drug detox". She was in the ER three times in 6 days, hallucinating, losing bodily functions and bizarre personality changes. Her primary care physician was so alarmed he ordered an MRI of her brain to be sure she didn't have a brain tumor or bleed that was causing these bizarre symptoms. But no, it was simply the effects of this drug.

I do not care whether a scientist would categorize this experience as "anecdotal". It was not an anecdote to us and certainly not to my mother, who at 82 had to endure this special hell.

I'm going to be busy the next week or so, going back and forth to ensure my mom is recovering well. I'll also be starting my new job! More about that later. I told the Farmer that I'm just going to keep getting jobs until one sticks!!

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone. And again, my entire family thanks you for your healing prayers. I'll be checking in with you to make sure you're behaving yourselves.


Adele from N. Minnesota said...

Dear Suzanne, So glad to hear the good news we have all been hoping for.
As you continue to deal with multiple stresses in your life, I would like to make a suggestion, Please, please, take GOOD care of yourself, eat carefully and rest well. We do not want you to become ill, and stress and overdoing can do lots of harm.
Sending you lots of comforting thoughts and hugs, from someone who has survived a similar situation.

PamKittyMorning said...

Thanks for the update, glad everyone is on the mend. Phew. That aricept sounds so scary. Glad to have that tidbit of knowledge just in case.

Laura said...

i'm so glad to hear they are both doing better. i hope they continue to improve. please take care of yourself as well and good luck with the new job.

MelissaD said...

Glad to hear that your mom and your niece are both on the road to recovery. It is always such a stressful time - be sure you get enough rest.
Hoping to hear some more good news about your new job!

Mary said...

thanks for the update...... Glad that the news is good. My mom took aricept for a short while. It did nothing for her memory, but gave her a huge list of bad side effects. Not sure it is a good drug

Vee said...

I'm so sorry about your mother. This proves that one person's medicine is another's poison. How awful for her and for you all.

Thrilled to read that your niece is doing so much better. How terribly scary. I'm so glad that she got the care she needed when she needed it. I love reading positive stories about the medical community.

You are keeping secrets! Okay...I'll wait...what else can I do?

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

So glad things are getting better for you and your family!
My mom's doctor did NOT think the side effects of Aricept would be worth the side effects. I felt a little guilty about that--I mean, shouldn't we try everything available?
Reading your post makes me feel better about that decision. Years ago I had several friends on Prozac and singing it's praise, so I asked my doctor to prescribe Prozac (the wonder drug--right?)--Well, it was a nightmare for me!!! Two days of nausea, night sweats and uncontrollable tremors and headache made me decide real quick that I didn't feel so bad after all! LOL
Oh, and congrats on the job! Can't wait to hear more about it!

Thirkellgirl said...

Oh, my, Suzanne, I'm so sorry about your mom. I had forgotten that my mom had similar drug-related nightmares five years ago. That's just terrible. I'm glad she's recovering, and so is Becky. Second the call for you to guard your own health and energy!

Pamela said...

Thank God your mother and niece are getting better. Drug reactions can be extremely serious - far beyond the rashes we expect. What a scary and helpless time for you. We're at the mercy of the medical profession. I believe they are doing the best they can but we are the most important advocates for our loved ones. Hang in there and take care of yourself too!!

Rebecca said...

So sorry things have been rather hectic to say the least for you. Glad to hear things are better
I hope your holiday season becomes a true blessing

At Home in English Valley said...

Hi Suzanne, We (25 powerfully prayerful women) prayed for your niece at our December meeting. So glad to hear she is better. SO sorry to hear about your Mom's bad reaction. Your words of warning may stop someone else the pain and suffering your Mom experienced. Here's to a peaceful and quiet and healthy Christmas for you and yours. Love, Penny

Anonymous said...

Dropped by to catch up. So sorry to hear about your Mom. Take of care yourself too. My mother was diagnosed at 62 that was 13 years ago. It is long journey.

Warm Wishes for you this Holiday