|Tom and his granddaughter Sophia|
Until I was commissioned to write this patient story for the neurology department of a health care organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I had never heard of Lewy Body Dementia. I always learn something new when I write a new story. In this case, that LBD is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's, yet is often misdiagnosed.
Here's Tom's story:
Jessica Mix described what she witnessed in August 2011, when her family brought her father-in-law, Tom, a 72-year-old resident of Ada, Michigan, to the emergency department: "It was like his personality on steroids."
Same personality, yet more of it, and more intense, she said. It was scary for the family. The man they knew didn't seem to know them. He was suspicious of people and didn't recognize the closest person in his life—his wife. That is, he recognized her, but thought that she was an imposter, posturing as the real person he knew and loved. It made him anxious, depressed, frustrated and angry.
The first approach to treatment was to give Tom medication to calm him for an MRI, thinking he may have had a stroke. "But that only made it worse," Jessica said.
These behavioral issues had Jessica researching on the Internet for solutions. "I looked for neuropsychologists online," said Jessica, "and I immediately landed on ..."