Posted this four years ago today. How have these symptoms changed ?
The notes below were compiled as part of trigger for doctor appointment. I had cognitive decline when we first met 12 years earlier, and since that time he had also noted further cognitive decline, so ordered MRI along with appropriate blood tests. After preliminary test he gave me tentative diagnosis of dementia summer 2012. This week FaceBook brought status update to my attention:
2012-02/19 February 19, 2012 at 11:44am
What did I do yesterday? Let me look at my calendar and find out. What did I do this morning? Until I look at my calendar I have no idea. Did I eat breakfast, or feed the dog this morning? I don’t know until I look at my calendar. I see that I talked to my sister on the phone. Oh yes; now I remember doing that. What did she say? I don’t know until I look at my calendar. …
So please don’t ask me what I have been doing lately.
I don’t want to be snoopy,
but instead can we talk about what YOU have been doing?
Along with teaching children, research and public speaking were some of my top abilities before my memory was impaired. Now it is strenuous to gather a single concept into a sentence of words. But today I remember that yesterday someone else did it for me. A few weeks ago I mentioned my perception of a certain section of Scripture to our worship Leader. Yesterday, during the worship service, that concept was wonderfully developed and communicated to our group. I don’t remember anything that was said by the leader, but I remember the emotions I had while listening and I appreciate the fact that she did it. It is noted in my calendar.
This may change, but right now I am more likely to remember past circumstances or concepts that have a large emotional element, UNLESS I consciously tell myself “I need to remember this”, or “I will certainly remember that.” If I bring it from a subconscious action into a conscious action then it seems I am actually LESS likely to remember it, even if it has high emotions associated with it.
I am more likely to remember emotions or the “aura” of an event, than to remember circumstances or concepts.
I am more likely to remember the “aura” of a person and my concerns for them, than to remember events with them, or what they look like.
Words are difficult, and names are even worse. Even names like the name of the month or the holiday are difficult, but names of people are absolutely worse. It is often even difficult to “pull up” the names of my children – that is not saying I can’t do it, because I usually can; it just takes a minute. I need to be aware of the need, and be in the process of remembering the name as I appear to be doing something else like listening or re-arranging something. And that is extra exhausting because I have a really difficult time doing two things at once, and I consider listening to be a high priority in my life. But I don’t want them to feel like they are so unimportant that I don’t even remember their name!
For the past several months I have avoided making coffee because I keep forgetting how to do it. So I have a plan to LEARN again how to make coffee. I will make a “wish” photo of my husband and me sitting at the table, with my new “Desert Rose” coffeepot (actually teapot) between us. Then I will photo a clear measuring cup with correct amount of grounds, and clear coffeepot with correct amount of water. I will put these photos on the wall near the coffeemaker.
I have now spent 3hrs composing this “note” so I think I will take a nap.
*** … *** … ***
So what has changed in these particular symptoms, four years later — in 2016?
- No longer able to keep family calendar and now it is husband’s job. In fact I am no longer able to deal with numbers well enough to handle the finances either — entirely husband’s job now.
- No longer attending worship at Shul because cannot remember Hebrew words, and songs are just a blur of sounds.
- No longer able to babysit grandchildren (now 6 and 3 years old) without another adult present, because when something unusual or urgent comes up my brain seems to freeze — and that can become dangerous.
- Now sometimes not able to bring up names of grandchildren at all, and must ask.
In past three years also gained a psychiatrist on medical team, both in order to eliminate mood disorders as cause of cognitive decline (which has been eliminated as cause) AND to help keep me “adjusted” when began developing various types of hallucinations and vivid dreams that were difficult to keep separated from daytime events. Those members of my medical team who have gotten to know me well have seen a slow decline in these four years. My neurologist said “your declines are not in areas that are measured”.
… but I can still make coffee in my new motel-sized coffee pot — with pre-measured coffee packets which do not require measuring. I may forget grounds. I may forget water. I may add water twice & end up with it all over countertop. But even then, it’s just water so no drastic catastrophe. (( smile ))
Note: Coffee Maker is 4-cup “Mr. Coffee”. My husband gets the motel-sized, pre-measured coffee packets from Farmer’s Brothers. “I am sure they are available thru Smart & Final and other vendors for the service-industry.”
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