Living with Dementia: Short Term Memory Getting Shorter

Leah Health Guide
  • It's late. I've been asleep for awhile. The time? I look at the TV thing-ee. 12488 is lit up in red. I squint. I blink. Finally, with effort, the real time appears: 12:48. By this time, I am fully awake...ending a whopping two hours of sleep. I suppose I've gone through one dream cycle...that happens often, you know. For whatever reason. I believe this is part of the dementia I live with...


    This has been an especially grueling week. I knew it would be. Somehow, I managed to put something big into almost every day.


    Tuesday, I worked-for the first time-with the election board as a check-in judge for the primary elections. My small part was not difficult. The motions were repetitive. I met and worked with the most wonderfully uplifting people who brought many moments of laughter into my day. The most difficult thing were the hours-6 AM to 10 PM. I had to take a lot of breaks to help maintain my focus and to have moments of rest. Being the primary election, voting was light so taking breaks was no problem.

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    Wednesday, I taught the first class of my new group of lessons. I call this group of eight lessons Strengthening Your Mind-and Body. Considering that I didn't finish writing the first lesson until two days before, this was quite stressful for me. I must say, though, that the ladies at the Senior Center loved the class and are anxiously awaiting the next seven to come. That made me feel really good. That afternoon I also had to drive the elderly lady I care for (without pay-just a seventeen year friendship which has turned into obligation) to get a mammogram. Another long day.


    Thursday, I spent six hours helping the Community Support Systems set up their portion of their Flea Market. This is a wonderful endeavor, a fundraiser (one of four) which the organization has each year. I helped set up tables-fourteen, I believe-and opened dozens of boxes which held such treasures as you would not believe! Hundreds of items had to be organized into groupings on the tables. Luckily, most had been priced already. These were "repeats"-items which had not sold at the previous flea market. I was totally spent by the end of the day.

    Friday? I can't remember Friday...I know I was busy...or resting... I couldn't even tell you if there WAS a Friday!!!


    Saturday? Now, here comes the kicker. I collected money from the food area of the flea market from 7 AM to 2 PM-at least, I was supposed to do so. I started out okay, but quickly discovered that the activity of adding up the food purchases, remembering how much the person had spent, taking the money, talking to the customer, figuring out the change, and handing it to him/her...all this had become too difficult for me. I had problem after problem. Luckily, I had a helper who watched behind me and corrected me each time. I was so embarrassed! I had no idea that this ability had left me! My helper, an old friend whom I had known almost all my life, was calming and reassuring, thankfully. But, by noon, I had reached my limit of inability. I was feeling so sick by that time, I had to leave early.


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    ...Dementia has taken yet another area of my life from me. My ability to remember short term is getting shorter and spottier. It did not just happen at the flea market; it pervades all aspects of my life now. I'll write more about that in the blogs to come.


Published On: September 23, 2010