Is there a way to bring a "dreaming" patient back to reality?


My wife has had a series of AFIB hospital visits. She thought she had a bad experience after her last cardioversion. A few months after the last cardioversion she suddenly did not recognize me. These days she thinks that there are at least two of me. Her MRI was normal for her age (76). Her neurologist thinks that she just has an acute case of memory loss brought on suddenly instead of gradually as is usually the case. He recently started her on a low dose Donepezil to be gradually increased in months to come.

Her symptoms are strange so I’ll just talk about this specific scenario. She wakes up at about mid-morning to 4 AM startled by a dream. At first her questions are pertaining to her current dream which she thinks is her reality then she doesn’t recognize anything including me. She stays in this state for the rest of the night into the morning with me talking and reminding her about everything I can to reconnect her with her surroundings, who I am, where we live, where her daughters and parents are etc.

Depending on her level of stress the previous day, these episodes can get very intense. Most of the time she doesn’t remember anything once she comes out of this strange dream state. It’s like she’s having one long dream but she can still do things like use the bathroom, spell words correctly or know where light switches are etc. She’s very upset during these times also because she believes something is terribly wrong. If we’re lucky, she finally comes out of it after almost two hours but she sometimes stays in this state for the better part of the morning.

I’ve tried various things I’ve read about on lucid dreams sites but nothing snaps her out of it. It’s like I have to talk her back from a dark place. Later she’s completely happy and being her own cheerful self and not remembering anything except for vague references like one would try to recall parts of a dream where the memory of it is quickly fading. Any idea how I can get her to snap out of such a state? This is my first post and such a long one… sorry about that.

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Thanks for your comments. I know that she has a more dramatic dreaming experience when she takes ambien. We have since stopped taking it as per her doctor. I'm afraid the other meds are necessary. Her primary physician has removed all drugs that she thinks may contribute to the symptoms. But at this point I can only speculate that it is some combination of the meds she is taking however necessary.
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Reply to offworlder

Some medications can cause lucid, disturbing dreams. Ask MD.
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Reply to peace416

Is it possible that your wife is having seizures of some sort? I agree—speak to the neurologist.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

Ask the pharmacist about side effects to the medication shes taking, they may need to be changed or adjusted.
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Reply to tacy022