Saturday, May 16, 2015

Is Gray Matter Loss Responsible For The Changes?

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A change has taken place lately with Thomas and his meds and I have been trying to figure out what's happening. I noticed about 4 weeks ago that he started forgetting his morning meds. Sometimes he would catch it and take it a couple hours later but as the weeks went by he began totally forgetting them. I can't figure out what the deal with that is. I thought it might be an issue of his routine being messed up sometimes but sometimes he forgets his meds on a normal day.

Interestingly, the day he came to me and told me he wanted to move out and we went over to look at the place was one of those days that he forgot. We came home from looking at the house and after we had our long talk, I went to work on filling his pill case. Inside it sat that morning's pills. It was like divine intervention telling us both that it wasn't the right time for him to be moving out. I brought his pill case to him and asked him if he could see anything different about the case and it took him a minute but he finally realized that very day he had forgotten his meds. Now, with moving out off the table for a while, we need to figure out why he's not taking his meds.

In therapy on Thursday, Dr. K. talked about setting an alarm for him to remember his pills and Thomas and I had talked about this earlier. Thomas had told me that he didn't want the alarm and that he really just wanted to try to remember them on his own. I get it. He wants to prove to himself that he can be responsible for taking them. We told Dr. K. as such and we all agreed we'd give it a few more weeks and see if he got better about it without the alarm.

I have a theory about the whole thing though. I have to wonder, are his cognitive limitations (a.k.a. memory--or lack thereof) getting worse? Is his schizophrenia working its "magic" on him and causing him to forget? I know that when someone is in psychosis that their gray matter is compromised and can even disappear slowly and I am wondering if that is what is happening. Is he losing gray matter resulting in more and more memory loss? I am not sure how schizophrenia works when it comes to cognitive difficulties. Does it work the same way on prolonged cognitive issues as it does on psychosis--meaning does being plagued with cognitive difficulties for too long cause gray matter loss like being in active psychosis does?

It's certainly something to be researched.

In the mean time, I am keeping an eye on Thomas and his meds. I'm torn between reminding him--though sometimes even I forget about them--and letting him go since this is one of those life skills he needs to learn to become independent.

For now, I'm letting it go, I've decided. It's not daily that he forgets his meds, it's just about once or twice a week. If it begins to worsen beyond that, though, I am going to help him implement an alarm system on his phone to remind him to take them. The changing landscape is concerning and I don't want him to go much longer doing this sort of thing.

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