Living With Dementia: Taking Stock of the Good Things in Life
"Life is just a bowlful of cherries!" quipped Forrest Gump.
Hogwash! Not if you have dementia! I know for a fact that life is a bowl full - but NOT of cherries! Kumquats, maybe. Slimy soupsuds, maybe. Cherries-definitely not! I discovered this week that I have had dementia for almost five years already.
Thankfully, it is vascular in nature, caused by TIA's and the resulting changes in my brain. When I first was diagnosed, I was told by my doctor that I could have 5-10 years without many changes, if I maintained good blood sugars, had a good blood pressure, and had no more TIA's. I've been able to maintain 2 out of 3-diabetes is playing havoc with my health, still. And, I've remained pretty stable throughout these years. I'm still relatively independent and fighting to keep it that way! But the other day, I had an "episode"...
It was o-dark-thirty (our slang for 5 A.M. in the morning), and I had gotten up earlier to fix my husband a good breakfast before he went off for work. (Realize, I am NOT "Super Wife 2010" and this is a rare occurrence!) Breakfast was over and he had opened the door to leave. He turned around to give me my kiss...and, for just an instance, I looked at him and thought...who is this man? Thankfully, my memory kicked in quickly...but it gave me pause for thought-Is that what it will feel like when I no longer have any memory of him?
It scares me to think about it. To think about losing touch with my life, with my loved ones.
It scares me, too, to realize that research has not come far enough to be able to get a handle on dementia. I worry that more funding is being spent to cure cancer, but to what avail? Make us live longer? So we can then get some form of dementia? There's an irony to that, isn't there?
But, no matter...I am here today. I still have long term memory. I DO know who my husband is and that I love him very much. I can still drive myself around-and I can program the GPS to get me wherever I need to go. (I thank God and the inventors of that gadget!!!) I can still shop by myself when I need to. I can still figure out how to pump my own gas. I can still make a simple dinner (though following recipes is a struggle, so I rarely use them...even the directions on boxed food items is difficult). I recognize my own shoes most of the time (don't laugh! There was a time that NONE of them were familiar!). I have even started being able to keep house a bit better. I still have to figure out where the vacuum is each time, but I usually find it...and, when I don't, it doesn't take long for me to get distracted and I go off and do something else-like read a book or take the dog outside...
So, life continues. Little things come along and try to knock me down...but I eventually get up, dust myself off, and get on with life...
Which brings me back to my blog. Thankfully.
I've missed writing. I've missed your comments. I'm back!