Friday, April 06, 2007


We have had a number of very bizarre phone calls with my Mum over the last few (3?) days, but this one from last night takes the biscuit.

8.45pm (after numerous other calls from Mum)

Mum (M): Where is John, your son John, sleeping tonight?

John (J): Do you mean your husband John?

M: Yes, him. Where is he sleeping tonight?

J: He's in N Ward, at C Hospital.

M: No, he isn't. He's here with me in the flat. But he won't say anything.

J: But we both know he can't be, because he's in C. How could he have got to the Flat?

M: I don't know but he's here. I can see him here.

J: You have to remember that you're very tired and you've had a lot of stress recently. Could it be that your senses are playing tricks with you?

M: No, I'm perfectly aware of what's happening. Someone just closed a door in the flat above and I heard that.

J: But there's no way John could have got to the Flat.

M: (sounding irritated/peevish) I knew you wouldn't be any use. (emphatically) He's here now! I went to the bathroom and when I came back he was here. I suppose I'll just have to get to bed and try to get some sleep.

J: That sounds the best idea.


This morning I stuck "hallucination in blind" in Google, and lo, there is a possible answer. Mum has age related macular degeneration... I think she may be suffering from Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS).

Royal National Institute for the Blind - fairly dry and factual

Fantastic and interesting description with some visualisations of what the visions may look like.

We will be contacting her GPs on Tuesday, to let them know, as they may want to speak to her about it. I'm sure that Mum will believe her doctor more than John and me that it's a recognised condition in people with failing eyesight! ;-) Plus doc will be able to check for other possible causes too.

I particularly liked "I knew you wouldn't be any use. He's here now!"

John and I are going hysterical together. Every time my Mum phones at the mo she seems to say something that has us rolling around the bed laughing our socks off. Or tearing our hair out. ;-) Ah well, laughing is good for you, isn't it! And less painful than tearing yer hair out!

Disclaimer - I am not a Doctor. If your loved ones have similar symptoms, please contact you GP/Family Practitioner. Do not rely on my blog, or on the links I give. Links are for interest only, and are not intended as medical advice in any way. I am not a Doctor.


Mary Anne said...

hi Maggie,
wow, that was a fascinating insight into CBS, which I'd never heard of before. Thanks for the links to the sites. I do hope your mum will be ok. I can certainly understand the laughter (and yes, much better than tearing your hair out).

Cathy said...

Well bless her heart...I also know exactly what you mean, when she says to you"I knew you would be no use" I heard those words far to many times from my own mom. Your right, sometimes you do have to laugh to be able to keep your own sanity.

I had never heard of this disorder before and Im going to read up on it..Thanks for this info...:)

Mary said...

Interesting... I hope your mum copes with whatever it is okay though. It must be kind of scary.

Anonymous said...

I had read about this a few years ago, and with some trepidation I mentioned this the other day to a relative with MD. They listened while I told them about the "little people with hats" (a common sight apparently, and more common than real life people) and cartoon characters and the like, then burst out laughing and said they could not wait til that happened to them!! It sounded like such fun.

There is a theory that says that the brain is so starved for visual input that it makes stuff up in order to stave off boredom. It is especially prevalent in those who are imaginative, creative people who are well-educated and live alone. All of this makes an awful lot of sense if imagination and sight work together to form images in our brain.

The best news is that there is no psychological disease associated with this syndrome- it is present in the absence of mental illness. The worst news is, unless people are made aware of the possibility beforehand, they often do not tell people because they think they are losing it. It is also present in people with diabetes and glaucoma.

THanks for the reminder!!

Juggling Mother said...

It does sound quite fun in a way:-) And quite scary too!

Laughter is, without doubt, the best way of coping with mothers. Hair tearing just makes you feel worse:-)

I have finally got around to blogrolling you btw