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Some years back my friend's husband had a heat stroke. A neurologist some ordered test as a precaution, said everything was normal, except for an "abnormal signal in his brain". (He's always been pretty reserved, "flat" personality, helps with nothing, does nothing unless asked.) Lately, he's started accidentally breaking her things. Not his things, just her things, which concerns me, usually things that have high sentimental value to her. IE Grandmother's dishes, vase, glassware, etc. Oh, and her car that she keeps real nice. Dents and scratches it up all the time in the garage, accidentally leaves nails and screws in garage and driveway when tinkering on projects. Her last car, (also very nice car), had 3 different brands of tires on it from this. (?) She phoned me over the weekend kind of upset, found the second flatted tire on this new car. Also had to take down and put away a curio cabinet, he was accidentally banging into it all the time while walking past. I know he's been told and told don't string nails around the garage, don't bang into that cabinet, it just doesn't register. Said she finally gave up and put it away to keep it/contents from further damage. (?) I'm left wondering about the "abnormal signal", wonder if it's getting worse with age? I know nothing about Alzheimer's/dementia, but am betting lots of you guys do. Wondering if this could be what's going on? I mean, that does seem pretty weird, needed to dismantle house, fix yet another tire. Ideas? (He's early 60's)

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Good thoughts Blannie! Vision and Caffeine. Very good thought, think that he's just in readers, bet at that age maybe they aren't enough, or even cataracts starting. Thanks!
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My husband began striking me in bed. We'd both be sleeping and then, wham, I'd get his fist in my chest. Coy was a mild-mannered man who never raised his voice to me in the daytime. What was going on? We went to marriage counselling, which did zip to help us. Fortunately Coy heard a radio program about a newly-discovered sleep disorder, got himself to a sleep clinic, started taking a little pill, and no more beating up on me!

My point is that sometimes things that seem to be aggression aimed at a spouse are really a problem in the brain.

What you describe is either passive-aggressive marital problems or a problem in the brain that may or may not be related to the the earlier heat stroke.

My bet is on a problem in the brain. If you have enough influence with your friend, I'd encourage her to get medical attention for her husband, and the sooner the better.
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Well, I'm not a psychiatrist, so I was just throwing something out there, but on second thought - there is a case against that much artificial sweetener if he's drinking the diet drinks. Or even the high fructose corn syrup if he drinks the regular drinks. It's a shame she has to pack up her breakables, but maybe it would just be best. As far as the tires and scratches go, I'd park down the street for a while.
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Sounds like your friend's hubby isn't getting enough exercise, that would help with all the fidgeting around if he can still get out and about. Give him the vacuum cleaner and let him clean all the rugs and floors.

Regarding the soda, sounds like your friend's husband could be dehydrated as soda isn't water. Dehydration can have a variety of different symptoms. And drinking that much soda, even though hubby had cut back, still has a terrible effect on one's mind and body. Soda is THE worse thing to drink when it is hot outside.
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It could also be something as simple as his vision has deteriorated, so he's not seeing well and bumping into things and not realizing he's leaving nails lying around. Sounds like he needs a good thorough physical and probably to get his eyes checked.

After getting two flats, I'd be looking for nails myself - she's crazy to keep doing the same thing with him being so careless or unable to see what he's leaving around.

He could also have a drug-induced tremor from the caffeine. This is from Medline Plus: Drug-induced tremor is a simple nervous system and muscle response to certain medications. Drugs that can cause tremor include the following:

Stimulants such as caffeine and amphetamines
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txcamper, I did kind of wonder about passive aggressive kind of stuff, (hurt someone by hurting their treasures, act like it was accident?), and about if that much pop could mess up a person's brain, the additives, colorings, etc. Have noticed when we eat out and most just get water or coffee he asks for the pop as fast as he can, drinks it really fast, gets several refills. She said that really starts his head bobbing again afterwards. (?)
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Pam, I was wondering too about time for another scan, I'm thinking test that picked up the "abnormal signal" was an MRI? Reason for visit was Heat stroke, passed out on 100 day after mowing, we were all in our favorite restaurant for the last night it was to be open, lots of bodies packed in there AC wasn't working well. All tests said he was fine, only thing was Neuro said there was an abnormal brain signal, but nothing further needed done. They concluded he overheated which was a relief, but to hear they found an abnormal brain signal kind of scared me then, I was wondering if that meant the start of Alzheimer's, or what?

Yeah, I'm sure she's right about the breaking things, had been there when she'd say things like, oh, down to 2 of my glasses from GMA, or I noticed big dent in her car and she said he'd done it, and yeah, he agrees. He didn't used to be clumbsy? Have heard in emails lots about the walking into the cabinet, OK, kind of a high traffic area, but, plenty of room there. She worked really hard for what few treasures she has, would think he could get it into his head to not bang it as he goes by, (several times a day), just out of respect for her feelings, ...unless, he's having some sort of trouble medically. Just got me thinking when it's put all together, maybe something's really wrong. And too, last time I was there and we all sat at the kitchen table I noticed he was really "fidgeting around" in his seat and moving the table all around with his arms on top of it, (was worried my super full cup of coffee was going to spill from it). She had to tell him to stop doing that, like you would a little kid, ...he just didn't used to be like that at all.

I just stayed in the sympathetic ear mode during our call, had lots of happy subjects flying back and forth too, but thought I'd think, information collect, write her something later this week.
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It is time for another picture of the brain, and I will bet it shows further stroke activity. Good grief he should NOT be driving at all. As for breaking her things, verify that is actually true and not a delusion on her part. Same with the car. Couples often decline together, and the more functional of the two can easily blame the other for broken things.
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That sounds passive-aggressive. No telling what he did to his brain with all that coke - a 12 pack you say? That's a lot of caffeine!
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Oh that's funny frequent, we crossed at the same time with the same thought!
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Funny you'd mention Parkinsons's, a couple of years ago, he started to have his head, kind of nod or bob up and down, usually when he's thinking hard about something, (I've seen this in person). She thought it was too much caffeine/ soda pop, (he did drink tons of it, more than a 12 pack a day), so she cut him back as much as she could. I don't know if that's better or not, I moved a couple years ago so don't see them on a regular basis like I used too. We email lots, but mostly phone when something's really up. But I do remember when she cut back the pop he was also getting into one thing, leaving it undone, starting a new thing, winding up with 5 kegs of worms opened, like all over the house, all week end long and driving her nuts. :-) She thought he was "all hopped up" on caffeine.

Really, I can't imagine the breaking things is on purpose. Kind of odd that he never does it to his things, but then, women's things are maybe more fragile usually?
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New2think, sounds like friend's hubby is losing his balance when walking thus bumping into things.

When you think about it, the glass wear and china are breakable no matter what, and a house is normally decorated by the woman so it will be her things that are presented. Her husband is probably also bumping into things in his workshop, too, but tools don't shatter when dropped.

If I were your friend, stop parking in the garage. I rather have to scrap ice off the windows than having to deal with yet another flat tire.
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Additionally she is wise to put her things away. Replace dishes with unbreakable ones. Protecting the car may take some serious brainstorming. Small changes in what he has to tinker with may help.
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A visit to the physician may be in order with the goal of seeing a neurologist. Mini stroke or Parkinsons are two possibilities as well as dementia. The very early stages of dementia can be very difficult for family because behavior can seem deliberate and designed to provoke. She is lucky to have you as a concerned friend and advocate.
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