11.29.17 Dora and the Explorers – STILAD, Getting a dementia diagnosis and getting medical records from Dr. Shamsnia published 4.24.15

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 – If you suspect that you or a loved one has dementia this post is important for you to read.  So many people have asked me how I found out that what I was experiencing was dementia so here it is.

The first step is to make an appointment with a neuropsychologist to have a day or two of neuropsych testing done. My primary care physician referred me to the two doctors below but I don’t think you have to have a referral to see them.

I’ve seen both Dr. Susan Andrews and Dr. Melissa Aubert and would recommend either of them.  They are both in the same office in Metairie. Dr. Andrews had a second office in Covington when I saw her but I could not confirm that she still has that office now.

Office Location: 3925 N. I-10 Service Rd. West, Suite 201-A, Metairie, Louisiana 70002 Phone: 504-455-0109

Dr. Aubert’s E-mail: maubertphd@nolaneuropsych.com

Dr. Andrews E-mail:  srandrews.office@gmail.comm – This was the email she communicated with me years ago but I don’t know for sure it is still active.

I’m not getting any kickback from these doctors for referring people, I just know my experience was great with both of them and want to help ya’ll know where to get started.

The neuropsych tests that they do will show where your brain deficiencies are, if any.  If they find deficiencies they will recommend a neurologist for you to see and will send their testing results to that doctor.  The neurologist does the medical testing and diagnosis.  The neurologist, having the neuropsych testing information, can help them narrow down what medical tests to do.  I’ve had at least seven different medical tests.

Lots of people think they have dementia but if you haven’t taken neuropsych tests and/or the medical tests you really don’t have a true diagnosis.  If you have good insurance it will not cost you anything, so why not know for sure and get what little help is available for specifically what you have.

I don’t know for sure that Dr. Patricia Morgan will be my new neurologist but when I saw her she had her assistant do a few of the neuropsych tests before meeting her.  Questions that I found easy on the original and second neuropsych testing years ago were difficult now. I didn’t know what the date was (I got the month wrong). She told me three words and told me to remember them.  I tried to keep saying them over and over in my mind because I knew  she was going to ask me them again but I could only remember the first of the three words.  She asked me to walk one foot in front of the other which I’ve always done fine.  This time I looked like a drunk taking a test on the side of the road.  That’s from my balance being bad now.  Another test had me close my eyes and put my arm out to the side then trying to touch the end of my nose with it.  I didn’t make it to the tip of my nose but somewhere around my nose.  I think there was something else I didn’t do well but don’t remember now.

I realize that some of what I just wrote is also written below in the original blog from 2015 but I’ve gotten very frustrated trying to know how to make it flow right so I hope you can at least get something out of this.

Finally, currently I’m on day two of a three day at home EEG test to see if I’m having seizures.  I’m sure it’s necessary but it’s a pain to do.  And my head is completely wrapped up in gauze making me look like I had brain surgery.

We are heading to Hammond in a bit for the eye doctor’s appointment we mistakenly went to on Monday.  Hopefully we’ll get Roy’s cataract surgery scheduled for the first eye.

Original Blog – April 24, 2015 –

8756_415836921865239_221735958_nSince I have very little Alzheimer’s info to share and am creeping along in my own dementia journey, I’ve changed the name of the blog to Some Things I Learned About Dementia.

If you, or a loved one, is experiencing mental decline, today’s post may help you find where to start to get help.  I can’t say this is THE ONLY path but it is the one I know so I hope you can learn from this.  I don’t mind opening my life up if it will help someone else struggling and searching for help.

Also, I pulled up my big girl panties and went to Dr. Shamsnia’s office to make a stab (not not at him!) at getting my medical records and my MRIs.  More on that further down!

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10703805_824649437580941_2651549357672239530_nOn Tuesday I traveled to Metairie, Louisiana to see Dr. Melissa Aubert.  She is a Neuropsychologist in practice with Dr. Susan Andrews, who I saw 3-4 years ago.  Dr. Andrews no longer takes my insurance, but Dr. Aubert does.

She was wonderful.  We spent an hour together covering everything I could think of from the last time I saw Dr. Andrews until now.  She asked many questions about my current mental capabilities which allowed me to open up and really talk about what’s going on in that little space up there called my brain!   What a relief that was to have the words coming out of my mouth to someone who understands.

Due to the lack of information I was getting from Dr. Shamsnia I decided to pursue having a new neuropsych test done before leaving town for this years journey to the Northeast.  The10801589_855311604510077_5207705261697921312_n previous neuropsych test results showed specific areas of deficits, specifically learning new things and short term memory.  Having the retesting done will provide a comparison between where I was then to my current capabilities.  I handle things better the more knowledge I have about it.  The unknown worries me more than knowing.

The testing is a day (sometimes more than a day) long series of paper tests designed to show strengths and weaknesses.  Most of the tests involve answering questions or performing tasks. You may be taking some of the tests on a computer, using pencil and paper, or using other objects.

Doctors use a wide variety of tests for neuropsychological testing. In most cases you will take a series of tests, rather than a single test. The tests you take will depend on the particular brain functions that your doctor wants to check. The tests are meant to test your limits, so don’t be discouraged if they seem hard.

The tests I took in 2011 were:

The testing was very interesting the last time I did it in 2011, and I am happy to say they were able to schedule the next one for next Wednesday, April 29th!!!  The testing in 2015 included the following:

I can’t recommend strongly enough how beneficial this testing can be if you have any question about your memory or your mental capabilities declining.  It’s worth a day of your time to have these answers.

Once the testing is done, the Neuropsychologist reviews all the information and her notes from our visit to come up with her final report.

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When I left Dr. Aubert’s office I drove a few streets over to Dr. Shamsnia’s office.  I prayed before I got out of my car and said to myself “Girl you’ve got this!” I walked into the elevator and up to his office.

923515_10151922468590806_2082669326_n Seeing that there were no patients in the waiting room I breathed a sign of relief and walked up to the window.  The nice young lady and the nurse recognized me and I explained to them that I would like to have my medical records including the MRIs which I had been told were sitting on his desk.  They explained that normally they needed a form signed and it took 7 to 10 working days to have the files copied but they would go see what they could do.

I sat down, prepared to wait a while and who gets off the elevator but Dr. Shamsnia.  He looked at me briefly and said hello and went down the hall.  Whew, no face to face encounter!!  The ladies came back only five minutes later with a manilla envelope and my two most recent MRIs on disk.

I asked about the old MRIs and they said they didn’t see them.  I now firmly believe the office has lost my MRIs since several efforts to find them have been made by several different people.  How they could lose big old MRIs I have no idea, but they have.

I thanked them for always being nice and walked out.  The relief that washed over me from knowing I didn’t have to 9808_1100980976594842_8340971622499789430_ngo back there again was overwhelming.  When I got in my car I prayed prayers of Thanksgiving to God for seeing me through this dark time and bringing me out safely on the other side.  Not having to deal with the stress and frustration of working with that doctor eliminates so much of a burden from my life.  Only God will walk through all dark times with us and use it to strengthen our lives.  Only God.

I’ll bring my records to Dr. Vales, my primary care doctor, for safekeeping, until I can find a new neurologist when we return to town next year!  North Oaks Hospital Radiology told me they have duplicate copies of the MRIs that Dr. Shamsnia can’t find so I’ll be having those sent to the neurologist at the appropriate time.

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I just got word from North Oaks Sleep Lab that they have an opening for me to have my sleep apnea test redone TOMORROW NIGHT!!!!  Whoop whoop!  When I originally called to make an appointment they didn’t have anything open for weeks until after we left.  This is again another blessing from God!  I love how He cares for me!

Okay, now on to living life!

Isaiah-41-10

 

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Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays  published randomly

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