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Suddenly unable to speak
Old 08-16-2014, 08:02 AM   #1
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Suddenly unable to speak

I've tried to google this but I'm only coming up with something related to strokes. I thought perhaps someone here had heard of this?

I'm back home visiting family, and my aunt and I decided to go shopping at the mall. She drove. 3 different times over a 4 hour period my aunt suddenly was unable to speak. It would last for less than a minute and afterwards for just a minute or so she seem to be slightly confused. I asked her what was going on and she said she had been to the doctors about it and it was nothing to be worried about. I asked her if she was able to drive still and she says yes of course she could think clearly she just couldn't get the words out.

I asked another family member about it and they told me that it has been going on for over a year but it had increased the last month or so. Is anyone ever heard of something like this or know anything about it?
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:08 AM   #2
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She needs to get to a doctor, ASAP:

Quote:
Common stroke symptoms seen in both men and women:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg -- especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
National Stroke Association
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:13 AM   #3
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She needs to get to a doctor, ASAP:

National Stroke Association
+1. I would go to a different doctor than the one who told me it was nothing to worry about.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:13 AM   #4
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She has RA and goes to the doctor regularly. Everytime I tried to google it all I am coming up with is stroke also but this has been going on over a year.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:15 AM   #5
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+1. I would go to a different doctor than the one who told me it was nothing to worry about.
+1
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:17 AM   #6
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I've tried to google this but I'm only coming up with something related to strokes.
Probably a reason for that. Could also be a really really rare condition that will stump everybody trying to find it. Get thee to a doctory
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:22 AM   #7
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It does not have to be a big full blown stroke.... there are things called mini strokes... my mom suffers from them...

She is getting a lot worse with her dementia.... as far as we know she never had this symptom...

I would try a different doctor.. no problem in getting a second opinion...


BTW, many decades ago my mom had a pinched nerve... she went to MANY different doctors who told her she had to live with it... it was arthritis.... she finally found a doc who knew exactly what it was in the first few minutes... she got a couple of shots of steroids and it went away forever... no, she did NOT have to live with it...
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:24 AM   #8
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I'm actually leaving today to go back home. I'll try to talk my sister into encouraging her to go back to the doctor regarding this but my aunt is not somebody that you can TELL to do something. She's seventy years old and was out in the yard, up a ladder using a chainsaw other day. My sister's husband told her he would cut it down after he got home from work that day but she said that she was able to do it herself. Telling her that she has to go to the doctor for this is not going to be an easy thing!
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:25 AM   #9
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+1. I would go to a different doctor than the one who told me it was nothing to worry about.
+2

She's (probably) seeing a rheumatologist for the RA. She needs to be examined and tested for mini-strokes Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) -- Symptoms, Risks and Treatment for Mini-Stroke
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:37 AM   #10
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+1. I would go to a different doctor than the one who told me it was nothing to worry about.
+3

A rheumatologist is not the ideal doctor to consult for emergency stroke treatment, AFAIK. Take her to the emergency room.

Also, I would not want to be riding in a car that she is driving. She probably should not drive until this is sorted out.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:47 AM   #11
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I could no more take her to the emergency room that I could load up a bull and take him. I know she has a full physical scheduled in the next couple of weeks I'm going to make sure that my sister goes with her in case my aunt doesn't mention it my sister will.

I definitely worried about her driving but once again I can't control her. I suppose I could report her to DMV but I'm really not sure how I would go about doing that or what they would do.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:56 AM   #12
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I don't think any competent doctor would hear a patient say "For a few minutes I was unable to speak. When I come out of it, I am confused" and tell her, without a very thorough workup or a referral to a specialst, that there's nothing to worry about. Your aunt either heard it wrong or is in denial (maybe thinks she can "walk off" a stroke).
If these are mini-strokes, there are good and effective treatment. She's at big potential risk for a life-altering or life-ending stroke. Pour on the guilt: "Who's gonna tale care of ______ if you can't because you are bedridden for 10 years because you wouldn't go see about this? It's serious!"
If she goes to an ER she'll probably get a good workup right away, and they'll give her instructions on what to do when it happens again. She'll probably also get a referral to a doctor who is trained to treat this.
Edited to add: This was crossposted, I didn't see Post 11 before writing it.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:56 AM   #13
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Sounds like it could be a minor seizure type of thing also. Possibly a small brain tumor or other neurological involvement.
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:06 AM   #14
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I, too, advise a second opinion -- this is way too serious to ignore.

Now, having said that, this could be a side effect of some medicine she is taking. Several years ago (5?), about a week after starting on a medication, I got in my car backed out of the driveway, went to the end of the street and stopped at the stop sign. Suddenly, I had complete amnesia -- I didn't know who I was, where I was, where I was going, how to get back, etc. Obviously, there was pure panic... a feeling of overwhelming terror. As suddenly as it started, it ended (and took about as long as it took to tell of it.) Well, a week later I had an appointment with my doctor and mentioned it. Although, he was very interested, he didn't feel there was anything to worry about. Well, a week after that, it happened again but this time for a much shorter time -- perhaps a few seconds. I, then, read the sheet of paper that the pharmacy gave me with the medicine and found that (among a long list of side effects) rarely it would cause hallucinations. It has not happened since and I still take the medication in the same dosage. Yeah, I know, there is no proof but...
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:17 AM   #15
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She is on at least a dozen medicines, some really strong ones like methotrexate, for her RA.. so could be the side effect if one of them I suppose.
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:32 AM   #16
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I, then, read the sheet of paper that the pharmacy gave me with the medicine and found that (among a long list of side effects) rarely it would cause hallucinations.
You do realize that you could be hallucinating about having those hallucinations...
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:46 AM   #17
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While it could be seizures, I think the most likely cause is TIA (transient ischemic attacks). Your aunt may not be fully aware while they are happening so she is not an objective observer, and either way she is a danger on the road. It's essential that she get proper medical attention as soon as possible. She is at risk of a major stroke at any time.

I had a similar experience some years ago when visiting my elderly mother (who did not drive). She would repeatedly stop suddenly in the middle of a conversation and be unable to speak for a minute or so. Then she would pick up where she had left off. She was completely unaware this was happening. I took her to her family doctor that day where she was prescribed low dose aspirin. The symptoms never recurred and she lived several more years without ever having had a stroke.

Disclaimer: I am a retired doctor, but not a stroke specialist.
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:17 AM   #18
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Thanks so much for the advice everyone. I just got off the phone with my sister and she is going to sit down and talk with my aunt about this tomorrow. She hopefully will get thru to her and try to get her to go to the doctor ASAP but if not, then she will definitely accompany her to her physical which she said was on the 29th. Hopefully we can get it sorted out.

If this is TIA's is this normal that it could go on this long, more than a year, and the if they are getting more frequent, is this a sign that a major stroke is becoming more likely?

Perhaps she is in denial, but if so, how do you convince someone that they need to seek help NOW?
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:21 AM   #19
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I learned about this from Scott Adam's (Dilbert author) recent book:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spasmodic_dysphonia

might be something like this? It only affected Adams under specific conditions.

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Old 08-16-2014, 10:25 AM   #20
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You do realize that you could be hallucinating about having those hallucinations...
<belly laugh>
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