Chris DeWald: Stroke-cerebral arteriosclerosis-part two
I am wearing down from this diagnosis. I would like to describe what is happening to me through my thoughts. I wrote an article about this disease that is also called hardening of the arteries. It is a diseas that is progressive, and it is keeping pace where I read the symptoms in a book.
I am so lucky to have severe cerebral arteriosclerosis (yeah, right). My MRI does not see a blood flow due to all the accumulating plaque whisping through my brain. I have been told I have no flow but clouds going through this brain. I also have been told I am being kept “in the batter’s box.”
I do believe the count is 3-and-2 right now. Let me give you the official book “thought” views of this progressive disease. I want to go over this section of a web page: http://chestofbooks.com/health/psychiatry/Manual/3-Psychoses-With-Cerebral-Arteriosclerosis.html.
Psychoses with cerebral arteriosclerosis
The clinical symptoms, both mental and physical, are varied, depending in the first place on the distribution and severity of the vascular cerebral disease and probably to some extent on the mental make-up of the person.
I am writing this for you caregivers to see the symptoms of your loved ones. My comments are the way many of your close friends and relatives might fear, feel or act. Is the book true? There are so many questions to answer. But I’ll tell you how it is affecting me. Here we go.
Cerebral physical symptoms, headaches, dizziness, fainting attacks, etc., are nearly always present and usually signs of focal brain disease appear sooner or later (aphasia, paralysis, etc.).
The most important mental symptoms (particularly if the arteriosclerotic disease is diffuse) are impairment of mental tension, i.e., interference with the capacity to think quickly and accurately, to concentrate and to fix the attention; fatigability and lack of emotional control (alternate weeping and laughing). Often a tendency to irritability is marked; the retention is impaired and with it there is more or less general defect of memory, especially in the advanced stages of the disease, or after some large destructive lesion occurs.
Pronounced psychotic symptoms may appear in the form of depression (often of the anxious type), suspicions or paranoid ideas, or episodes marked by confusion. To be included in this group are the psychoses following cerebral softening or hemorrhage if due to arterial disease. (Autopsies in state hospitals show that in arteriosclerotic cases softening is relatively much more frequent than hemorrhage.)
Differentiation from senile psychosis is sometimes difficult, particularly if the arteriosclerotic disease manifests itself in the senile period. The two conditions may be associated; when this happens preference should be given in the statistical report to the arteriosclerotic disorder.
High blood pressure, although usually present, is not essential for the diagnosis of cerebral arteriosclerosis.
Here we go, as I am concerned:
Cerebral physical symptoms. Headaches indeed are mentioned. Mine are different than a forehead ache. Mine seem to be likened to an oil drill on the top area of my head drilling downwards. They seem to be short-lived, but cause me to become dizzy and then lethargic. They come on faster if I am doing heavy thinking or trying to do more than the doctors tell me. I have fainting spells but I do feel when they are coming and have enough time to lie down. Coming to terms to do this and know you can have this helps the anxiety. I have had enough time to think over the “batter’s box” scenario. I stink at baseball too. The aphasia is coming back stronger.
What is aphasia? Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. For most people, these are areas on the left side (hemisphere) of the brain. Aphasia usually occurs suddenly, often as the result of a stroke or head injury, but it may also develop slowly, as in the case of a brain tumor, an infection, or dementia. The disorder impairs the expression and understanding of language as well as reading and writing. Aphasia may co-occur with speech disorders such as dysarthria or apraxia of speech, which also result from brain damage.
The most important mental symptoms: I was just shy of a master’s degree in public administration when I was struck with my stroke. I am witnessing a slowdown of doing puzzles, games of thought, simple quizzes, first names or last names of friends. Concentration is all over the thought process. I cannot keep thought processes on one subject for a length of time. I get confused over the points I try to make. Then forget what I was doing in the first place. My lack of emotional control is most recent. Crying to my son while I exhibit the need to tell him I love him and then cry. I am also having a sudden bout with sudden laughter for no reason. I feel like the Joker in “Batman.” Due to this happening, I am anxious about nothing and everything. It is so bad I have to take an extra klonapin (calming medication) to keep from getting up and just getting on a bus to nowhere. This is happening way too much. Although I know that my condition will not allow me to survive on the streets, I want to do this in my mind.
The one good thing is it has nothing to do with high blood pressure. I have to keep and elevated pressure to push what blood I can muster through the smaller arteries that feed this brain.
I felt the need to tell mostly you caregivers to watch this condition, try to understand it. It does happen. Tell his physician that you suspect he might be a little off. Most of all, love him as much as you can. Do not take the physical abuse that I have read in this.
Tell on him. Call his doctor or even case worker if you are lucky to have one. Thank you.
Column by Chris DeWald