BUT (Isn't there always a but?)
There are memory problems and he thinks it might be microvascular disease, which is a problem with the blood flow in the brain, through the smaller pathways, which could be from hardening or a series of small strokes. He also spent time talking with her about some other issues. When my mom was 3 years old, way back in 1938, she was striken with what they call 'infantile paralysis'. It was attributed to polio at the time, but we'll never truly know. She was paralyzed for a year and finally relearned how to walk. Her parents were told that the paralysis kills off neural pathways, and that it might become an issue later in life as the normal degeneration of the brain happens. He checked her reflexes in her legs, and found she had none. Yep, bang on the knee with the nice little hammer and NO reaction. It came out that she's been falling a lot. He had her walk to the other side of the room and back and said that he noticed significant weakening in her legs. This could be a result of her diabetes, a holdover from her infantile paralysis, or even a symptom from the microvascular disease. Nothing can be done about that except putting her in occupational therapy, getting some assistance devices in her home and getting her a cane to help support her. She's resisting that, but we'll work on it.
Anyway, we're going to have an MRI for her in a couple of days at the new hospital up the road. The doctor also started her on Aricept, and since she forgets to take her medicine now (and eat, and pay her bills, and just about everything else) I'm going to call her each night to remind her to take her pill. His hope is that after a few weeks on it, her memory will start to function a little better and she will start remembering to do those daily things. If that drug doesn't work, he has a couple of other options we can try.
I am very glad that we're getting to the bottom of these things. It also helps me tolerate my mother a bit better as I get an understanding of what is caused by medical issues and what is just my mother being a pain in the ass :) Mom and I have never really gotten along, but since it has been just me and her since I was 5, there is still a bond you can't deny. She moved in with us while battling breast cancer and I took care of her then, taking her to every doctor's appointment and doing whatever needed to be done. I'll do the same thing if I have to for her now. I love her, no matter how much she annoys me.