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Seizures or something else (long sorry)

(14 Posts)
beetleaugust Tue 20-Aug-19 22:16:25

I have a godmother age 61. She is a bit of a loner and lived abroad for a long while until she came back after her long term partner has died. Myself, DH and the dc have sort of taken her under our wing as she would otherwise be very lonely.
I've been helping her since 2014 and she has quite a few health issues - including epilepsy which seemed until recently to be very under control.

We talk every day and she comes for an evening visit every few days or so. The past two visits she had what I would call a funny turn - she mumbles something about going to sleep, gets tearful and closes her eyes for about a minute but will be talking normally the whole time.

The first time she did it she spoke to her doctor and then told me it was a folic acid problem confused and the doctor thinks she's exhausted and is comfortable to do whatever it was in my home as she knows she is safe.

The second time we had literally just finished speaking about it and she had a funny turn.

Now this is where I sound a bit confused and awful but I'm not I'm seriously worried for her mental health - I'm concerned she's doing it out of loneliness/boredom. She has a long history of faking episodes of illness when she is particularly stressed or lonely.
She is also showing other concerning symptoms such as she will tell me something she wants to happen and the next time I see her will have forgotten she told me but tell me the same story but as though it actually happened not just something she had thought about.
She will also say something very rudely or aggressively then a minute later say sorry I didn't mean to say that. She is especially snappy with my two dc when she used to be lovely with them.
Yesterday she said "I'm so knackered this is why I'm on the verge of giving up" then corrected herself saying she didn't mean anything by it.
She is also very manic and loud if we go out and will either be overly friendly to people (waiters, shop assistants) or make rude comments at the top of her voice about people. Her doctors do know about this and don't think it's normal and she is seeing someone about her mood and random aggression.

My concerns are she's either got some kind of dementia or her epilepsy has altered her mood (don't know if that can ) or she's having a breakdown.

She has a brother who she talks to but he is at the other end of the country and would make all the right noises but not do anything practical.
I could ring her brother but that might really piss her off
I could ask her to let me come to the doctors with her but again she might be annoyed.
I'm finding it very difficult to work out what to do for the best. I'm not an actual blood relative - she was my uncles wife but I've grown up with her in my life and she did a lot for me when I was growing up and now I'm all she really has and I want to do the right thing.

I don't know if it matters but i do have POA and it's more do to with making decisions if she becomes too ill to do that herself.

Sorry it was so long.

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Imstickingwiththisone Tue 20-Aug-19 22:37:51

Sounds difficult. Could it be depression with the agitation and short fuse? Could you encourage her to tell the doctor about her feelings?

beetleaugust Wed 21-Aug-19 06:41:06

Thanks for the reply. It could be depression although she is constantly talking to her doctor and they are very good with her. I know she had an appointment with a psychotherapist about the mood swings but from what I can gather it didn't go too well. Then again I've got a suspicion she only tells me half a story.

It's just awkward and sad. I cringe sometimes at how inappropriate and loud she is but then she can be lovely. She has always been a bit loud but it's definitely getting worse.

I just can't get my head round what's going on.

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Imstickingwiththisone Wed 21-Aug-19 09:01:52

Does she receive private healthcare? If not then there's probably a lot that you're not aware of as I doubt they would get a psychotherapist referral for just mood swings.

Egghead68 Wed 21-Aug-19 09:22:50

I think she should see a neurologist. Could be mood but could also be start of dementia, epilepsy related, functional neurological symptoms etc.

beetleaugust Wed 21-Aug-19 12:01:28

No all through the NHS and I agree that's what started alarm bells ringing for me when she mentioned the psychotherapist.

She had her first appointment and is now on a waiting list for a regular appointment. Apparently she said to the person who saw her "oh in the meantime if I lose my temper I will just go to prison" which if true has shocked me a lot.

I'm not painting a very nice picture of her but I'm trying to show how she is right now, up to last year although she was a bit abrupt and loud she wasn't mean or aggressive.

Another example was a couple of weeks ago she was telling me about her cleaners and how lovely they were and if she was having bad day they would probably do extra for her and look after her. Then when I saw her on Monday we had the same conversation but she changed it all as though it had happened and the cleaners had put her to bed because she was so exhausted confused

I think I'm going to try and speak to her and see what happens.

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beetleaugust Wed 21-Aug-19 12:02:03

Thanks for everyone's answers it's really useful.

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PenguinsRabbits Wed 21-Aug-19 12:16:26

Really needs a medical opinion/specialist assessment but any chance she be bipolar? Presumably if she's seeing a psychotherapist she's had an assessment by a psychiatrist but not telling you what they said. I'm not sure if you can find out though might stand more chance if she will let you accompany her to GP. Or if you are very worried call her GP, they probably can't tell you anything but can act on info.

UpTheLaganInABubble Wed 21-Aug-19 12:52:33

It does actually sound like folic acid ie Folate (B9) and/or B12 deficiency. Both can cause memory problems, seizures, psychiatric issues. Her Folate level must have been very low to be flagged by a GP, and although her B12 might have been 'in range', that can also be far too low. Plus a Folate deficiency can mask a B12 deficiency, as B12 can build up if there's not enough Folate (and Iron) for the body to use it properly.

Her GP has hopefully prescribed her a high dose of folic acid to take daily, but should now be testing her B12 and making sure it is much higher than 'in range'. She needs to have taken no B12 supplementation for the past 3 months for the result to be accurate

beetleaugust Wed 21-Aug-19 12:59:53

Thanks that is interesting @UpTheLaganInABubble I will google it now.

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UpTheLaganInABubble Wed 21-Aug-19 13:41:30

Have a look at It will explain how B12 deficiency is missed so often and what to do about it

stillawakeat4amagain Wed 21-Aug-19 14:23:14

It could also be TIA (mini stroke) my father used to get them and it would change his personality alot at the time, he could go from sounding like a child (he answered the phone and was asked to put his parents on the phone) to sounding foreign. He would also thrash his as around like he wanted a fight, say really nasty hurtful things. It would start with him closing his eyes and mumbling saying he was tired and 5 minutes later he was a different person.

beetleaugust Wed 21-Aug-19 18:56:59

Thanks again @UpTheLaganInABubble .

@stillawakeat4amagain that might be the problem. She has had a couple of TIAs before. I've never seen them happen but I know she went to A&E once and was told this is what it was.

She is also on a lot of medication and has been told she shouldn't drink but still drinks quite heavily IMO.

I've had a text from her today saying her blood results show magnesium is low and her kidney function is odd, so doctor wants to see her in a fortnight.

I've made a plan that I'm going to keep an eye on the situation for a couple of weeks and then if still the same or worse I will contact her GP or see if she would be willing to let me speak to her doctors. If all else fails will contact her brother and ask him to help.

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beetleaugust Wed 21-Aug-19 19:03:58

@PenguinsRabbits I don't know about bipolar. I don't know enough about it but she does have very extreme mood swings.

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