Having vascular dementia allows one to remain stable for years. Big changes should not be experienced unless one has some major vascular change, such as a stroke or increased TIA's. And, I must say, that my dementia has remained stable since I was diagnosed. I've been able to function very highly most of the time. As evidenced through my blogs, I have had my ups and downs. We all have our good and bad days, and it appears that our bad days just reign havoc on any weak areas we may possess. Stress, changes in routine, and lack of sleep will cause a temporary (hopefully!!) time of increased short term memory loss and concentration. That's because these are my most vulnerable areas of weakness. With this said, let me tell you that I am going through such a time at this moment.
The first thing which has me frazzled and, therefore, is tugging on the heartstrings of my short term memory loss, involves another move. For those who follow my blog, you know that my husband and I have spent nine months preparing to move and moving to what was once our summer cottage. We've been enjoying the cottage for almost four months and have discovered that it is just too small. Since it cannot be enlarged due to land restraints, we are now preparing to move again-but this time just down to the street to my late brother's house. Once we get in, I'll write more about that. For most of my adult life, I was able to handle the number crunching and details that getting loans to buy a house incurred. Over the last six or more years, I have noted that my ability to work with percentages and legal details has lessened-and recently it seems to have taken a nosedive. My husband now has to handle it all. He keeps me informed, but the numbers just get jumbled up in my head...and sometimes when he talks, I just feel like putting my fingers in my ears and calling our la-la-la-la...I suppose you get the picture.
Pain has helped to dull my mind and shorten my short term memory. Hip and foot pain is incessant. No, it's not always excruxiating, but it's constant and annoying...like that itch you can't scratch. And, at this point, I can't do anything about either because of my diabetes and because my husband has a more pressing issue we need to focus our attention on.
And that is my third problem which is playing havoc with my dementia. My husband, my wonderful prince of a man, my rock, has prostate cancer. We are very hopeful that it can be cured. He will be doing four months of hormone therapy and then have seeds implanted which will eradicate the cancer. But, it's still very scary for both of us.
How is my dementia being affected by these problems? My sleep is being affected, which then affects my daytime alertness. My level of concentration is lowered. I am losing things right and left. I forget to check my calendar daily...so I miss doctor appointments. I have having difficulty remembering to mark the calendar when I take my medications. Writing has become difficult for me to do-and that has always been a strong area for me. I have trouble putting my thoughts together in a well written manner, which is why my blogs have become less frequent. Math, too, has always been easy for me. No longer-at least, not at this time.
I am trying hard to keep up with all I do. I still drive, though I've done very little of that since my husband retired in June. I am still chairperson for our family reunion, though I need a little more help. I am secretary of our rescue squad auxiliary-a much easier job than it sounds, thankfully. I write a quarterly newsletter for our community and an annual one for the family reunion. These are very simple newsletters, the only kind I am capable of producing anymore.
If you compare this blog to my first ones, you may be able to see changes. But I am NOT giving up!!! I will fight this dementia to the very end!!! I hope that there is someone reading this who shares in this fight who will also not give up! Live up to your potential-whatever it may be at this time. And, as for you caregivers, see your loved one's potential for where it is NOW. Don't lament that he/she is not who she used to be. Love him/her for who he/she is TODAY. Find their strengths and encourage them! And remember, having some increased difficulty with short term memory may not be something to cause alarm.
Post Note: My husband read this blog before I submitted it and he has a word of advice of his own to those of us with dementia: TELL your caregiver how you feel. TELL your caregiver what you need to make life better for you. (I married a very wise man!)
Published On: September 16, 2011