Marty is a beloved friend from my childhood and she’s always had a wicked sense of humor. Now that she’s living with some new challenges due to a diagnosis with early memory issues, that humor is serving her well. Recently after telling me these “Do-Over” stories, I asked if she would be willing to write them down so that they can be shared with others… who might just find them familiar.
Since I’ve been diagnosed with an early memory loss disorder, there are times when I feel as if life has become a series of “Do-Overs”. Just when I think I’ve successfully accomplished something, I may have to do it over, having unknowingly missed some key piece of the action. Like now, when I have to keep re-typing words to spell them correctly.
The easier Do-Overs are those that only have to do with time. For example, I could finish working in the yard, take all the tools and put them back in the garage, and go into the kitchen. Looking out the window, I realize that the clippers are still sitting on the table. So I have to go out, get the clippers, open the garage door, replace the clippers, close the garage door, and go back into the kitchen, hopefully for the last time.
This poem was written during a time when James Hyde was struggling with his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease because some friends and family members were having a difficult time with that diagnosis. Was it Alzheimer’s or MCI (mild cognitive impairment)? He was uncertain as how to deal with the ambivalence of the diagnosis process and at the same time respond to well-meaning comments. Writing this poem became part of his process in accepting his diagnosis during a difficult and puzzling time. He is hopeful that it will be helpful to someone who is dealing with a new diagnosis.
Karen, one of our Memory Loss Collaborative support group participants, who has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, says so often with great exasperation,
“Dr. Alzheimer identified this disease over a hundred years ago. WHY haven’t they made more progress in dealing with this disease!”
Surprisingly, we are still in the relatively early stages of research on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It might be helpful to look at a timeline of this illness. The blue text reflects the progress in Cancer research. It is interesting to note that it was only 14 years ago that Eric Kandel was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for his discoveries of neuro-transmission.
Laura is in one of our Memory Loss Collaborative support groups and Bill attends the support group for care partners. They are writing a blog, which has enriched the understanding of many of us.
This entry, “How Does She Do It?” must be shared. Click here to read more of their blog.
How Does She Do It?
Laura and I were talking and all of a sudden, she went blank. She sort of had the deer-in-the-headlights look on her face. I gave her time to think and suddenly she just dropped her head to her chest and said, “I give up. I don’t remember what I was trying to think of.”
“That’s okay, honey; we can get back to that. But, what’s it like?” I quietly asked. “Do you just see a black hole, or do you see something, anything, when you are trying to think of a word?”