Living with Dementia: Not Letting My Memory Loss Get Me Down
Everyone has a bad day from time to time, and they don't give it a second thought. Those of us with dementia are different...at least, I am. Life, for me, is like walking a tightrope. If I tend to tilt one way, being in danger of falling, I worry...and try to correct myself... If I have a bad day with my memory, I worry about my dementia getting worse and I get scared. I make myself work harder to remember...
Yesterday was probably one of the worst-if not the worst-day I've had so far. My short term memory seemed to have taken a vacation for it was practically not in attendance! The one thing I do remember happening-I put a glass in the sink and found a thawing package of hamburger sitting there. My husband had just come home. (I had been luxiourating, my word for just doing nothing, in my hammock in the backyard.) Putting the glass in the sink, I found a package of hamburger, which was thawing. Where had it come from? My husband and I had just been talking about having chicken nuggets for dinner... I quickly asked him if he had taken it out, which wouldn't have made sense since he had just gotten home... He assured me that he had not taken it out. I thought about the day and what I had done...and I really couldn't remember WHAT I had done! I did figure out that there were only three of us in the house during the day-and I knew that two of the three couldn't have taken the hamburger out of the freezer, no matter how talented I think they are (my dog and cat). As hard as I attempted to think back through the day, I could NOT see myself taking the hamburger out of the freezer... I tried to keep the momentary fear of losing my memory from my husband... and I listened to my husband's answer to see if he was worried, too. He appeared to take it in stride. I understand that anyone can "forget" from time to time. Stress, as well as many other factors, can cause this to happen. Someone with dementia doesn't have the luxury of thinking that "this will pass".
I seem to be having more experiences with blocks of time being GONE... moments I have NO recollection of... Those around me will say, " Remember...?" And I have to shake my head and say, "No." Sometimes I ask them to remind me or to tell me again...
It's hard for those around me to remember that I have dementia. I look normal. And, most of the time, I act normal. So, when I have these lapses in memory, it comes as a surprise to some. Especially those family members I don't see routinely.
Today? It's a new day. I'll try harder to think about WHAT I am doing today. I will probably even write it down; I often do that. I record on my calendar on Outlook what I do that day. Then, when I look back, at the end of the day, I can run through my mind once more what I had accomplished. That always makes me feel good. It makes me feel that I am still being useful.