A curious case of referral to Neurologist


When the opportunity arose of getting a brain scan done, I jumped to this with wild abandonment. Who would not like to experience to be pushed into a giant space-age looking bit of equipment resembling a meat slicer. I had the scan done on the same day I received the doctor’s referral. It was awesome. They strapped my head in and a giant wheel was whirring around my head. I felt like something out of  the TV series of Dr Who.

It was curious and somewhat odd that this doctor felt I should get a brain scan done. For years I had the occasional Cholesterol test done showing slightly elevated levels that kept creeping lower as the years passed. I think the benefits of Helvi insisting on nurturing better dietary habits started to pay off. She kept chucking the packets of Hungarian salami or pork ribs back onto the shelf at Aldi’s when I wasn’t looking. You can imagine my chagrin going past the cashier finding out she once again foiled my attempt at enjoying a nice salami sandwich after getting home, never mind the late afternoon barbequed pork ribs with the friendly Mr Shiraz.

My previous doctor thought that the taking of Cholesterol blockers in my case wasn’t warranted. ‘You aren’t obese, and don’t suffer diabetes nor suffer from heart disease, I would not take statins if I were you,’  Encouragingly enough, this doctor who was very jolly, also showed a rather rotund figure. He also collected military toy aeroplanes of which he had a cupboard full in his surgery. But, he moved away and I could not see him anymore.

The reason for visiting the new doctor was to get my prescription for hypothyroiditism renewed. (Sorry for this medical post, dear readers) I am normally not at all interested in exposing the tediousness of medical details. It’s really off-putting, but just stick to this a little longer. Your plight will soon be over.

The new doctor was far more serious but also very old, well into the early eighties. He kept poring over my medical record including the yearly Cholesterol charts. He questioned why I wasn’t on statins and suggested I take a brain scan. Little did I know what was in store. But, the lure of a brain scan overtook me and without questioning this curious referral, soon had me in this giant scanning machine.

I did not hear anything for weeks after the scan, but decided to visit this old doctor in case the brain scan had showed up anything exciting. After entering his surgery, he explained that there were a few problems shown in the brain scan. A mild ‘polypoidal mucoperiosteal thickening is noted within the visualised paranasal sinuses. This was followed by; no focal abnormality is seen in relation to the brain substance. There are  some effects of chronic microvascular ischaemia.

The doctor warmed up and advised me he would write a referral to a neurologist to get into the nitty gritty of the problems as shown in the scan. However, here it comes! In this referral he wrote, including the following; Mr Oosterman is 76 yrs 11 months and presents some memory loss and nominal aphasia.  On reviewing his biochemistry he showed hyperlipidaemia ( elevated Cholesterol) of long standing for which he seems to had no therapy .

Now the tricky bit of his referral is that memory loss and aphasia are measurable items and, according to my limited medical knowledge, can’t just be guessed at. On what basis did this doctor form this diagnosis? I did no tests of any kind.

Tell me dear readers; have you noticed any diminutive slackening of Mr Oosterman’s memory or any incoherence in my word-order? I am not going to this Neurologist now. Heaven knows what might come next, a lobotomy? It seems health at times can be a perilous area to be just left into the hands of the medical profession.

All this of course, a result of the exposure of the scandalous state in our aged care facilities, as shown in a special rapport on ABC news. ‘Profits before care’ was the summation at the end of the program.

We will be so lucky to escape old age.

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33 Responses to “A curious case of referral to Neurologist”

  1. DisandDat Says:

    How right you are Gerard. We and Medicare getting ripped off by many so called professionals. Same with Dentists, lawyers, optometrists and even chemists. The $ rules in many cases.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    I’m outraged by this doctor’s diagnosis. Perhaps a lobotomy would make a stay in an aged care facility bearable. If you suffer from aphasia, then there must be a new definition out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I could not figure it out either. I suppose the expectations of patients might well be the reason many get sent to specialists by the doctors.

      I have never been much of a doctor visitor and am like my dad who hardly ever saw a doctor in his life.

      Yes, the diagnoses of aphasia had me stumped. I had to look it up. I thought it was a beautiful woman, Peter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        “How Is Aphasia Treated?

        Treatment for someone with aphasia depends on factors such as:

        Cause of brain injury
        Type of aphasia
        Position and size of the brain lesion
        For instance, a person with aphasia may have a brain tumor that’s affecting the language center of the brain. Surgery to treat the brain tumor may also improve the aphasia.

        A person with aphasia who has had a stroke may benefit from sessions with a speech-language pathologist. The therapist will meet regularly with the person to increase his or her ability to speak and communicate. The therapist will also teach the person ways to communicate that don’t involve speech. This will help the person compensate for language difficulties.

        Here are some tips from the National Stroke Association for someone with aphasia:

        Use props to help get the message across.
        Draw words or pictures on paper when trying to communicate.
        Speak slowly and stay calm when talking.
        Carry a card to let strangers know you have aphasia and what aphasia means.

        WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on September 11, 2016”

        I find I have sometimes and with some people difficulty in communicating. This is why I looked up how this condition is being treated. I found the above!

        Liked by 1 person

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        Sorry about all this but I think your doctor is in need of a good doctor.


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I thought about that too, Peter. I think the old doctor should give it up and join indoor-bowling.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, Uta. There is some help for aphasia sufferers. Boxers and rugby players who suffer frequent head injuries sometimes end up with that impairment.
        I don’t think you can get it from scrabble or chess nor indoor bowling.
        The best way to avoid almost all physical impairments is to keep busy and walk, enjoy the day.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. elizabeth2560 Says:

    I cannot believe he would conclude that you had aphasia and memory loss without doing any tests.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I had a memory test a couple of years ago whereby I had to remember three words and after an interval had to repeat them. I passed gloriously.

      Before that I was asked by nurse to pick up a sheet of paper from the table, fold it in half, and place it on the floor between my feet.

      Again, a good pass in following an order.


  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    You are right, Gerard! It is scary sometimes how quickly doctors reach conclusions without doing tests. 😦
    And often, sadly, the end game is about $$$. 😦
    Someone asked me once, “Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice”?” 😮
    I wish you well in all areas of your health! 🙂
    On my last doc visit/yearly blood work everything came back great except my Thyroid. So they are trying me on a medication. It seems to be working so far.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The thyroid is the only thing I take medication for too. The referral to the neurologist stays valid for one year. I doubt I will take it up though.

      The medical practise I go too has many doctors working there. It is a busy coming and going of many people.

      Looking up medical symptoms on the computer brings many proposals to contact doctor practices, mainly from Australia and the US, even giving on-line advice for illnesses but many will only do that after you log on and give your name and address.

      It is now common practice to actively look for business by medical organisations.

      I suppose a hug is better than a pill 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  5. leggypeggy Says:

    With all this memory loss of yours, I guess I can’t expect you to recognise me when we meet for the first time. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lifecameos Says:

    How extraordinary ! i don’t think I want to know if there is anything strange going on in my brain unless something useful can realistically be done about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s my position too. There has been so much media attention on brain functioning (or the lack of) which works the same as all that terrorism being bandied about. It just frightens people.

      One consolation is that we all face the inevitability of going away into the void. But one doesn’t need the anxiety of referrals.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Big M Says:

    Poor Gerard, the subject of scans, blood tests and aphasia. If you look hard enough you will find something. Of course, if it won’t change the outcome, or isn’t treatable, why look?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. GP Cox Says:

    Your memory has always been better than mine, so maybe I’m the one that needs the scan, eh?!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jennypellett Says:

    Well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Seems like you can go to the doc’s for a routine visit and come out worrying about something much more sinister. Much better to keep b*****ing on until something ails or falls off, I reckon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, so far nothing has dropped off and I also haven’t yet put my pyjamas in the fridge. It’s best to keep going and hope the end will be without too much drama.
      Aphasia is often diagnosed amongst rugby players having had too many head concussions. I have never played rugby, so…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. stuartbramhall Says:

    You’re correct that memory loss can’t be guessed at – unless the family or patient report it. Objectively loss of cognitive function can only be documented through a lengthy (6 hour) neuropsychological administered by a psychologist specially trained to administer it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    It’s a pity to think you don’t remember who I am after all these years Gerard. I’m the short blind lady with the cute old JRT.
    Seriously though, they do love to shove us into machines and send us to the kind of doctors we never heard of. A lucid younger friend had trouble sleeping and they sent her up to the “third floor”. When I asked what was here she said “The psychiatrist.”. Oh dear. Have another glass of Shiraz.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Good advice, Kayti.
      I have often praised the benefits of a glass of wine above that of a pill.
      I am somewhat miffed though, that the promise of changing water into wine has remained unfulfilled, and that has been disappointing.


  12. shoreacres Says:

    Oh, fiddlesticks. Between referrals to specialists and suggestions that surely this drug will help us out, it’s an amazement we still keep going.

    Here’s a true story for you, about my mother and a neurologist. I’ll try to keep it short, because it’s relevant.

    For a reason I can’t remember, my mother had an MRI. I think we were trying to figure out if she’d had a stroke. When the MRI came back, it showed a dark area at the base of her brain. There was great concern. Could she have a brain tumor? etc. etc.

    We were given a referral to a top-notch neurologist in the Texas Medical Center. So, off to Houston we went, with our MRI films firmly in hand and a great deal of anxiety.

    When we finally made it into the great man’s office, he was quite down to earth, and interested. He asked many questions: had mom been dizzy? Was she falling? How was her memory? and so on.

    Then, he looked at the films, this way and that. After about five minutes of looking, he slid them into the envelope and said, “Well. You’re 83 years old. You don’t have any symptoms that would indicate neurological disease — you just have a shadow on this MRI.”

    Then, he gave us his prescription. He said, “Go home, put these films under your bed, and get busy living. If you develop any of the symptoms I mentioned, give me a call — especially if you start falling, or develop palsy, or whatever. Otherwise? Who knows what it is? If it’s bad, we’ll know it soon enough. For now, forget about it.”

    And that was it. We came home, put the films under the bed, and forgot about them. When Mom died, ten years later, I pulled them out and threw them away.

    The end.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Linda.
      I am sure that we would all feel better if we could resist the lure of the magic drug so often promoted by the same methods and people that caused our addiction to junk food.
      Both are supposed to make us feel better.

      I like the example of the story of your mother and her going on till 93. What a wonderful example of a good neurologist.

      ‘Well being’ and the feeling of ‘age’ is a state of mind. I think KaytisweetlandRasmussen pointed that out as well

      The visit to the doctor to renew my thyroid prescription ended up with a referral to get a MRI.
      When I read the referral to the neurologist I just about freaked out reading about Aphasia and memory loss. It almost came close to calling an ambulance and ordering a funeral director. 😉

      Whenever I feel an urge coming up to see a doctor, I will take a walk along the creek and seek counsel from the ducks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres Says:

        Your walk along the creek and duck-counsel seems eminently reasonable to me. Good humor, good food, and fresh air can cure a lot of ills, I think. (Well, and a nice wine.)

        Liked by 1 person

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      Great story.

      Liked by 2 people

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