Here is an email I just sent to Constance Wade at Halifax (and copied my sister):

Dear Connie,

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me this morning. I very much appreciated your interpretation of the MRI she received on Friday, January 20, 2012.

I am still somewhat in shock at your news that — as far as you can tell — my mother did NOT, in fact, ever experience a stroke. I understand that you’re seeing significant atrophy in areas of her brain, but that at this point nobody cannot determine what is causing (or did cause) the atrophy.

On December 20, 2011 at approximately 3:45pm (Eastern), Sophia Mas at Stewart-Marchman-Act explained to me in detail that Dr. Caliendo’s interpretation of the CT scan she received on December 01, 2011 revealed an “old lacunar infarct of the left thalamus”. She also told me that there were “periventricular white matter hypodensities” that were “suggestive of chronic small vessel ischemia”. Sophia is the one that told us that my mother had definitely suffered a stroke at some point in the last year to eighteen months.

So for you to tell me that her recent MRI indicated that she had never had a stroke is really surprising.

Please also note that December 20, 2011 was the only time I have been able to speak with Dr. Caliendo directly, even though I repeatedly asked Sophia Mas to schedule a conference call with him. (Sophia Mas is the social worker who was assigned to my mother’s case at Stewart-Marchman-Act.) I would very much like to speak directly to Dr. Caliendo to hear his interpretation of the January 20, 2012 MRI and learn how it could be so wildly different from Sophia’s explanation of his interpretation of the CT scan performed a month earlier.

I spoke for quite some time this morning — Wednesday, January 25, 2012 — with Rhonda, a nurse at the Halifax Psychiatric Center. She told me that my mother is currently taking:

I explained to Rhonda that about four years ago I was prescribed Wellbutrin when attempting to quit using smokeless tobacco, but that I stopped taking it after about a month because I was experiencing unbearable headaches, nightmares, and terrible paranoia and suicidal ideations. The main reason I mentioned this is because I’m concerned that she may be experiencing the same thing — since as her first-born son we must share some chemical and biological traits — but she may not able to communicate that effectively to her caregivers at Halifax because of her current problems vocalizing her thoughts.

During the phone call I had with you this morning, you mentioned more than once that I am listed as her “GA” — guardian advocate — and that Halifax is required to acquire my consent regarding all of her prescriptions, yet I never consented to prescribing her Wellbutrin and did not even know she was taking that until Rhonda told me after my phone call with you.

I’m not upset or anything like that, because I’m sure that your team is very professional and doing the best job possible to care for my mother, but the fact that I was not aware that she was taking Wellbutrin does concern me.

(Rhonda also told me that Dr. Mandeep Garewal is the one who ordered the EEG and MRI, and that he is the one who prescribed the Namenda. This is the first I have heard of Dr. Garewal, who I assume is a co-worker of Dr. Caliendo’s.)

PS: My mother was administered a CT scan at Halifax Hospital on December 14, 2009. Because that was also performed at Halifax, I assume you have access to the results of that and perhaps comparing that to the more recent CT scan and MRI will be helpful.

Thank you so much for everything you are doing for my mother.


David Vincent Gagne