Recognizing the Challenges of Dementia with Perspective
My husband gave me a short lesson in thankfulness the other day. Bless his heart. As we were driving home from yet another trip to Kilmarnock, I was talking about something when the word I wanted to say would not come to my mind. Sometimes, it seems like it's every other word I want to say, and it's so frustrating to me. After giving up, I just abandoned the complete thought and burst out with "I get SOOOO tired of not being able to remember words!"
Quietly, my husband answered with, "Well, it could be much worse."
IT COULD BE MUCH WORSE. IT COULD BE MUCH WORSE. IT COULD BE MUCH WORSE.
Those five one syllable words are so powerful. They are so much bigger than their five syllables! They made me think...and twenty-four hours later, I am still thinking about them...
I know I answered with something like "Yeah, I could be in a nursing home not knowing my own name." I was looking inward, at myself. And, yes, that's not a bad thing. Not unto itself. But it got me to thinking further.
Perhaps I am looking inwardly too much. I have so much to be thankful for. My dementia is holding its own. Of course, it has its challenges. However, I am still able to function rather highly. Sometimes, I think I don't push myself enough, and then I think about how tiring it gets to do that all the time. I am also thankful for my husband who is such a big support. And that's where my thinking gets deeper.
He is a big help; he IS my short term memory now. I need him in order to function so independently. And yet, he is fighting his own demon now-his prostate cancer. And, while thinking, I realize that THAT is one of the things he may have been referring to when he said IT COULD BE MUCH WORSE. Cancer can be a death sentence; my vascular dementia is not. Suddenly, I realize that I am really behaving very selfishly to complain about my memory problem while my husband is carrying around the mental anguish brought on by a little six letter word with such a crushing effect-cancer.
I need to look outwardly. I need to accept where I am, what I have, what I can do-and be thankful for it! IT COULD BE MUCH WORSE. Oh, yes. It could.