Clueless About the Extent of My Memory Loss: Dementia and Day-to-Day Life

Leah Health Guide
  • The summer is in full swing here in Maryland and I hardly seem to notice it.  This week, I am visiting my daughter and granddaughter near Charlottesville, Virginia.  I have been keeping my granddaughter company and taking her to her counselor, dietician, and physician appointments.  Her anorexia continues to plague her.  Some moments she is winning, other moments, the eating disorder is the victor.  I can only say that the condition is quite tiring for those loved ones around her...

     

    I wrote this about my memory just two days ago, or it may have been yesterday...

     

    Some of my memory, surprisingly, seems to be better... in spite of my mourning the loss of my brother and grieving over the news of the inoperable brain tumor of my seven-year-old nephew. 

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    I can remember snippets of directions.  I've been able to drive my granddaughter almost an hour each way to her appointments... though today, much of what I passed looked unrecognizable to me.  That's one thing I hate, knowing that I should know what an area should look like after I've passed it countless times, but, all of a sudden, one day, I don't recognize a thing. 

     

    With more thought and snippets of day-to-day living catching me by surprise, I am beginning to think that my memory is actually getting worse, but that it hasn't registered with me yet... in other words, I think I may be becoming clueless to the extent of my memory loss.

     

    Let me give you some cases in point:

     

    1)  My granddaughter and I were talking about movies.  I told her I had "bought" a movie from our cable provider and didn't like it, though it was a current hit movie.  When asked what its title was, I had NO idea... couldn't even remember the littlest thing about it... all I could remember is that I had "bought" one...

     

    2) We went to a yard sale.  I had driven my daughter's SUV.  We got out and I was standing in front of the SUV when I heard its motor running.  "Does the car's motor continue to run?" I asked.  My granddaughter said, "Grandmom, did you turn it off?  Did you take the key out?"  I looked in my hands; they were empty.  I looked in my purse-no keys... I got back into the car only to find the keys still in the ignition and the car running.  Nope, guess I didn't turn it off!  That was a first!

     

    3) I CANNOT remember to take my morning medicine.  I'm doing better with my insulin, thanks to my nephew calling me to remind me.  You would think that repetition would help me to remember - NOT!  How can that be?  WHY can I not remember a simple thing like taking my meds?  It doesn't hurt.  It's already counted out.  None of it tastes bad.  It definitely makes me feel better... so what's the problem? 

     

    4)  Throughout the day, I notice something happening, and I mentally decide to remember it so I can write about it in this blog... before long, I remember that I had wanted to remember something for the blog and cannot recall it at all.

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    5) In general, I start to talk about something and, invariably, I have to leave large parts out due to lack of memory.  THAT is frustrating. 

     

    And so, I think I know... but I don't... I think my memory is improving, but maybe its getting bad enough that I don't realize it has gotten that bad.  You know how it is when you took a test in school and you think you've done very well on it - only to do very poorly?  You didn't know that you didn't know.  Perhaps that is where I am at on the dementia continuum - I don't remember that I don't remember!

     

     

    There are other areas that seem to be affected. My attention span has gotten quite short.  Once, I would play my BrainAge2 games for a long length of time.  Now, it's unusual if I work with it for more than five or ten minutes.  If I play cards, I can stand only one or two Crazy Eight games before I need to stop. I find it next to impossible to watch a complete movie.

     

    You, the reader, are probably saying, that I should

     

    §         make a list

    §         keep a journal

    §         put up signs to take medication

    §         have a small recorder for reminders

    §         keep to a certain schedule and post it

     

    I've done all that and more!

     

    Right now, I am lamenting what I have lost.  I do know, in the back of my mind, that this may all be caused by grief and by the upheaval my family has experienced in the past weeks.  I am counting on that being the cause.  I am hoping against hope that the dementia is NOT worsening, that it is the extra stress I am experiencing, that psychologically I am drowning right now... but will come out of it okay as things calm down.  I sincerely hope that is the truth of the matter.  I am counting on it!

Published On: June 23, 2008