Documenting Dementia in 2008
A new year has arrived, and I have decided to use my blog as a tool to help me gauge my condition throughout 2008. Hopefully, at the end of the year, I will find little decline.
Currently, I must say that my short term memory is very poor. I don't recognize my vacuum cleaners. The other day, I "found" a missing dinner plate in the refrigerator. (I bet I'm not the only one guilty of that !) I recognized the plate, but not the pieces of deluxe pizza on it. I don't remember having ordered a pizza, but my husband tells me we did. Whole conversations are lost to me. My husband has to continually remind me about them.
Riding with my husband in the car to do errands is always an adventure for me because most of the time I can't remember where we said we were going. (I suppose I would remember if I was the one driving.) It's still hard to remember to eat lunch and take my medications. It seems that things that are of utmost importance to me can be remembered most of the time-especially if I write them down and can refer to the list. (Of course, then I do it not from memory, but from reminder!)
I CAN remember some things. I remember the names of our children, our siblings, my parents. Nieces' and nephews' names come to me after a moment or two. I know where I live. I know how to get to our cottage, to my daughter's, and to my sister's. I know who our current president is (Bush) and the names of some of the top Democratic contenders: Clinton, Obama. Republican contenders have had less press coverage, so I can't remember any of their names. I know the month, but usually not the day or date - being retired has a lot to do with that, I think!
I CAN do many things. I can cook some very simple meals. I enjoy looking at recipes, but use very few unless they are well organized and involve few directions. I can pot plants. I am learning to use a scroll saw, and am hoping to still have all ten fingers when 2008 ends! (Just kiddin'! I am VERY careful when using the saw). I hope to make some bird feeders. After that, who knows what? I can vacuum, but I usually blow a band, so my husband does most of the vacuuming between times the cleaning lady comes. I do all our wash, change our bed. I feed the dog when I remember. The cat is not a problem. Ebony makes it quite obvious when he is hungry, which is just about all day every day.
Some things which were problems before dementia seem to be more of a problem now. Funny things like talking on the phone. I have always disliked using the phone, preferring face to face, instead. Now I detest using the phone. Even calling my family is difficult for me. I actually dread it. Even though I love being with all these people, I don't like talking to them on the phone. I think it might be because I can't see gestures and facial expressions.
I've become even more visually oriented as my auditory ability diminishes. Being in crowds now makes me anxious - don't know why. People who do a lot of talking with little interaction make me anxious, also. I don't know how I would feel if I were back in the classroom. I am going to find out, though, because I want to audit a class at the community college in the Fall. I want to take something which will make me think and will require a lot of interaction on my part - haven't figured out what it will be yet.
In regards to talking with people - I find that I will talk to anyone and say practically anything that comes to mind without first thinking about it and considering whether it is a good idea. Impulsiveness seems to be one of my traits now. If feeling well enough, I can whip through things similar to someone with ADHD. Other times, I'm wiped out and laid out on the bed. I can never predict which will happen when.
Evaluating my health, I find that I am not doing so well. My blood sugars remain high. I think I am watching my diet, but guess I need to start writing down what I eat. I am not exercising enough. My husband gave me a personal DVD player and dance DVD's to help me increase my level of activity. I wore a pedometer yesterday, wanting to see how many steps I took. Compared to the 2,000 or whatever steps we should be taking each day, my mere 465 steps paled considerably. So, now I know I need to increase my walking.
I am so fortunate to be able to continue with my writing. It allows me an outlet to share my thoughts and frustrations and to keep track of my progress or lack thereof.
The coming days of 2008 hold great promise, even with dementia. I am not crazy enough to believe that every day will be great, but I do know that as long as I keep a good outlook on life, each day will be good.