Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Surgery and Dementia. Bad?

Here's another great post from the blog www.alzheimersreadingroom.com. They have some really great information and his stories are thought-provoking. This one in particular is an issue I've been pondering lately - the effect of anesthesia, hospital stays, and surgery on dementia patients. Read away!


My Dad had surgery for an infected boil three years ago. I happened to be out of town for the surgery and the short hospital stay, but I was able to come see him about a week after the surgery. He looked pale and drained and flat, somehow and as if he was even more out of it than normal. I remember thinking to myself, "Boy, he looks like he's been through the ringer." I could tell that the surgery had really taken it out of him, and he doesn't have that much left to take - he can't spare anything!

A year and a half ago, his caregiver found a double hernia which was making him uncomfortable so we took him to the doctor, who scheduled a surgery, outpatient, to take care of it. As Dad was in the Recovery Room, he looked bad, of course, and I didn't think much of it, but, when I saw him a few days later, that same feeling struck me. I could see that he had lost even more ground, that he wasn't the same person that he was even a few days ago, and that once again, the surgery had taken something out of him.

I made the connection at the time, that it was the surgeries and illnesses, of course, but it wasn't until my research lately into the effects of surgery and anesthesia on LewyBody sufferers that I really realized what had happened to him. It has been shown how badly certain anti-psychotic drugs, anesthesia drugs, and the surgical process can affect LBD - in some cases drastically. Sufferers can come out of surgery paralyzed, rigid muscularly, and with even more mental compromising. It's not a good thing and if I'd known that, I may have made different choices about Dad's surgeries, although in both cases it was kind of necessary. Have you seen something like this? Before having any procedures, look at the information and then make your choices!

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