Is there any such thing as episodic dementia?
I wonder if someone has some information that may help me with my mother. She has episodes of what seem to be moderate dementia. It usually starts out with her being concerned about something, dwelling on it until her anxiety level is very high, then doing something that is pretty crazy. For example, the last incident she was concerned about the foundation of the house. It does need some work. While she was thinking about the foundation, she noticed the relief line of the water heater was very hot. She woke me up to check it and I figured we would call the plumber. I know now I should have turned off the gas to the water heater. It may have stopped what happened next.
She stayed up all night, worrying that the water heater was going to burn the house down. She called a 24-hour plumber. Early in the morning she woke me up because the plumber was going to be there in a few minutes. Not conscious yet, I didn't even know why he was coming. I thought maybe to fix the leaky sink. It turned out to be the water heater. The plumber painted a horror story, even lying to my mother that there was water and mold under the house. He gave her a card to call a water cleanup crew, and set to work replacing the water heater.
I had flags going up and told my mother to put down the phone until we could get a second opinion. I had been under the house myself and had not seen what he said. I knew the guy was a con. But I could not stop my mother. The end result was the water heater cost us $2400 and the cleanup cost us and the insurance company $6245. This was after even the cleanup crew had told us there was very little moisture and no mold. The companies had taken my parents for a ride, and I was totally ineffective in stopping it.
After all was over, I was traumatized. And my mother said, "I have done something very stupid." She got depressed for several days, but now seems normal again. I consoled myself by writing truthful reviews on Angie's List and telling my mother to never again try to conduct business for the house again.
And I asked an important question: why she trusted the words of strangers more than her own daughter.
Similar things have happened a few times since I've been home. Usually it is a health matter that sends us scurrying for unnecessary tests and procedures for a few days. I just wondered what it is that might be leading to this periodic craziness, since most of the time she is forgetful but otherwise rather normal. She is an insulin-dependent diabetic who controls her blood sugar fairly well. She takes lorazepam -- sometimes I fear she takes it too much, which may play a part in impairing her memory and judgment. I am hoping someone else has been through this and knows what is going on with her when she gets these episodes of what looks like moderate dementia.