May 2015 Excerpts from my friend David Kramer‘s FaceBook Page called Living Well with Alzheimer’s
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What the FAQ!
So it seems that some people are interested in finding out more about me and my Alz. I thought it would be nice to respond to their questions and then add them to a FAQ as a note on this page. Okay, to be honest, it was Tiffany’s idea. But I did agree immediately so that’s almost as if I came up with it myself! 😉
The most popular question from friends in the medical field: “Dave, your posts on Living Well have always touched me, and I have found them so interesting. Do you ever share your story about how you came about your diagnosis? Since early diagnosis is so important, I’m interested to know what events lead to yours. If you are comfortable sharing, I’d be thrilled to listen and learn.”
I started to write this post and basically forgot what I planned to say. Seriously, Tiffany had to remind me what we had planned the day prior. This post is definitely a team effort!
Initially, I noticed difficulty with learning new things.
-Ultrasound was particularly challenging. I had always picked things up quickly and easily, but I took the Ultrasound course twice and still couldn’t grasp it. My colleagues did not seem to struggle.
-Lectures took me much longer to prepare than before.
-I spent the evenings before giving the oral boards reviewing the materials while my colleagues were out enjoying a night on the town together.
-The medicine I had been practicing for years stuck well, but new information was often transient. “What room was that patient in?” “What was her name?” You know how everyone “draws a blank” now and then? Well, imagine that happening all the time. It was, and still is, incredibly frustrating.
-People close to me became unwitting enablers, finishing my thoughts and reminding me of my “to do’s”. My administrative assistant started putting yellow stickies on my computer monitor in the office, and they were multiplying fast.
I was compensating so well that even I was unaware of it. I was smart enough and clever enough that almost no one knew I had a problem. This is still often the case.
Then I started struggling in social situations.
-I couldn’t follow the on-going stories my family would share about their lives. I simply forgot the previous chapters.
-Too often my kids said, “Dad I already told you that!”
-Many dresses Tiffany previously wore were brand new to me (and sometimes more than once).
-I felt two steps behind in group conversations. By the time I came up with a clever comment everyone else was on to a completely different topic.
I tried to explain everything to Tiffany, but she initially said I was overreacting. She rounded up the usual excuses; I had a busy job, I wasn’t paying attention, I was stressed. But the thing is I had always thrived on the stress of my job and I was trying to pay attention.
Several months passed. I tried to slow down and I pulled back from public speaking. Fortunately, since I was in a teaching institution, I always worked with a colleague in the ED. In addition, I tried to pay more attention at home. But I was still struggling. Finally, Tiffany admitted that maybe there was something wrong. So we scheduled our first appointment with a neurologist.
Next week’s FAQ will deal the diagnostic process, so…Stay tuned!
Excerpts above from my friend David Kramer‘s FaceBook Page called Living Well with Alzheimer’s at
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