Nine Years with Vascular Dementia
I have suffered with Vascular Dementia for a bunch of years now. Truthfully, I cannot remember when it was diagnosed. The only thing I can relate it to is that it happened after my retirement from teaching, which was, I think, 2004. I had a couple of mini-strokes where I lost my vision for a short time… With medication, I was good for another two years, when BAM! Another set of mini-strokes occurred. I never lost consciousness with any of my TIA’s, only complete vision. I remember that each started with nothing making any sense to visually…and then total darkness. I’ve been free of mini-strokes since my medication was changed. I can’t remember when the change was made. The doctors have told me that I should remain status quo unless I have other vascular (stroke) issues… I was told I could have a good 5-10 years… And now, I think it may all be happening again… A few times, I’ve had this dizzying effect; not enough to pass out, just a twinge of my vision melting (that’s the effect I see). They have been very quick.
In addition to my current problem mentioned above, my short term memory seems to be getting shorter. I collect money in the kitchen of an auxiliary sponsored BINGO once a month. It involves concentration. Most of the time, if I am not distracted I can handle collecting the money just fine. Sometimes I have to add items on paper…I’d just get more confused if I had to use a cash register or adding machine—plus, this is such a small-town activity that I am handling only small amounts of money at a time…perhaps a soda and a hotdog…a hot dog, chips, and a drink…that kind of thing. However, this past Friday was particularly hard on me. At one point, I had taken the person’s order, called it over to the cook, collected the money, handed them their hot dog…and she just kept standing there. “Is there anything else I can help you with?” I asked. She (thankfully) smiled and said, “My drink?” Instantaneously and inwardly, I’m thinking WHAT DRINK. Instead, I smile back and say, “I forgot. What drink did you order?” She told me, got it, thanked me, and walked away. I was so very embarrassed.
I am getting very tired, not to mention how embarrassed I feel, of saying, “I’m sorry. I forgot.” I feel that people are looking at me with pity or anger or agitation. The times that I do tell them I have vascular dementia, they seem to not understand or see it just as an excuse. To their defense, they may not understand what vascular dementia is…after all, it’s not as evident as a broken arm. Many just laugh and say things like, “Yeah, I have the same kind of problem” or “Don’t worry about it; I can’t find my keys unless I keep them in my pocket.” I think these people are trying to be supportive in their own way.
But memory is getting hard for me. I have to remind my husband that I can’t remember something that just happened minutes ago… My reminders seem to have been increasing lately, which tells me that my memory is growing shorter and shorter. I just hope that, once I lose it all, that I don’t realize I’ve lost it. I hope that I can live life happily in my own world. I also hope when that happens, that my husband will be able to take care of me… My future is scary. As yours, it is unknown. I can only hope and pray those new medications and operations or other means are developed.
Thank goodness for this site. Health Central has been such a phenomenal resource to me. I hope you will be able to get the information and help you need here at Health Central, also.