Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dementia - Not Yet

Dear Readers,

The last of the leaves have been cleaned up, lawn mower put away, and snow blower ready to go, thanks to Don.   The above picture was taken about 10 days ago, the leaves have since fallen and the tree is bare.   Tonight we are to have snow!  Mentally, I'm not ready.

Well, there is good news and bad news for the week.   My 6-month checkup with the psychologist  was this week.   After testing, he asked me how I felt I was doing.   I said, "mentally I've slipped a notch - just in some areas".   He said he agreed with me.   I did slip a little in some parts of the test, but remained good on other parts.   It's an exhausting test as you are mentally challenged on every question or problem.  He didn't do the entire battery of tests.  Only did those that I scored poorly on 6 months ago.

Now 6 months ago I clearly remember the psychologist saying that I have a little Dementia.   This time I brought it up and he said "Oh, you don't have Dementia."   Now I know mentally I have declined a little since 6 months ago and the tests indicate I have declined, so did he make a mistake when he said I had the start of Dementia 6 months ago?   I can only suspect that was the case or he didn't clarify enough as to what he did mean, and I didn't question enough and accepted what he said. 

Why is this important to me?   Well, my mother's side of the family is full of Dementia/Alzheimer's history - starting with my grandfather (Dementia), followed by my mother, two of her sisters, and her remaining brother - all diagnosed  with Alzheimer's.  Because of this history,  the psychologist wants to see me every 6 months just to keep a handle on things and I agree.

The bad news is that I have declined a tiny notch mentally, but the good news is that clinically speaking, I don't have Dementia!    I can tell you that I'm in a mental fog a good share of my day, which I believe is from all the drugs that I'm on - most of which make me tired.   I can't seem to even prioritize things that need to be done.  Yes, I've tried making a list, but never am able to check off more than a couple of things a day on that list.   Several times a day I can wander into a room and wonder why I went in there.   I know this is somewhat normal as you age, but I think with me it happens more than what would be normal.  I'm talking several times a day.

The other thing I've noticed is that I've slowed down to a snail's pace physically too.   It takes me so long to accomplish anything.  Much of the time I feel overwhelmed at all that needs to be done around here leading up to Christmas.    The slowing down is no doubt the Parkinson's kicking in, and the drugs only magnify the problem.

To complicate matters, my back has been painful lately.  The MRI taken a week ago showed the arthritis in the spine has increased since 3 years ago.   My family doctor said I'm not a candidate for surgery (nor would I want it at this stage of the game), and the back doctor yesterday confirmed everything.   He did offer to give me a shot in the spine, but I'm not sure I want to go thru that.   I know it's risky to start fooling around with the spine.  I really can't stand upright for very long - about 3 minutes is max, then I have to lean on something or sit down.   So trying to accomplish anything standing up is about impossible.  Walking from the far bedroom into the kitchen is tiring on my back.   Don has been wonderful and has assumed so much of the physical work around here.  He does it willingly and without complaint, but i feel guilty not being able to do my share.  The spine doctor feels the weakness in my back and legs is due to the Parkinson's.    He's probably right.

Now on a good note - I bought a Nook, color, touch e-reader yesterday.   It's not the tablet, but one step down.  I'm able to navigate around it quite well, but typing on that tiny keyboard takes awhile as I keep making mistakes.   Kim says I'll get adjusted more after I've used it several times.   I do like it tho.   Now if i can only stay awake longer at night when I try reading.  Why don't I read during the day you ask?   Well, any time of day when I try to read, it puts me to sleep.  So, there is no good time of day for reading.

I called Kim for help and she walked me thru the process of getting the WiFi set up, something I've never had to do before.   She gave me some mini instructions, and now I should be able to read tonight.   It will be fun playing with a new toy!   I spent the extra money and bought the hard covered book that was available because I have trouble remembering things after reading.  All the information is on the device, but you have to remember what you read, leave the page, and do the steps involved.   It was just easier to buy the book for $8.00.

Stay tuned - next week I have an appointment with the Neurologist (I think it's next week).


  1. Hang in there Mary. I think ur doing great. If u need anything I'm always here. xoxo

  2. I pray your pain eases some for you. Your husband is a gem. Just hang in there, as Herbie said. Hug

  3. Can Kim walk TW through setting up our WiFI? TW still hasn't done it. We dunno why God inflicts good people like he does, but he/she must know you're not in over your head. Right now, your back problems upset TW more than anything because Pop went through that. Of course, he's younger and had surgery. Lastly, TW ALWAYS forgets why she goes into rooms and she's so much younger. Don't beat yourself up over it. You have loving friends praying for you. xoxo

  4. I said right from the start that I couldn't imagine you with dementia as you are completely normal. I think the drugs, just as you said, are affecting you of course and it's a token of how well together you ARE that you function so brilliantly what with all those side and after effects. I am sincere when I say I admire you and how you get through regardless of the pain and disability the Parkinson's puts you through. Blessings to you and Don. xox

  5. Mary
    I think you are doing amazing! I am so proud of all that you do. Keeping yourself motivated and going is more than half the battle. I do think you are completely right about the medication, I see that in my husband too. I hope the pain eases in your back. Anything I can I am always here.

  6. Mary, I am so glad that there is no Dementia, especially with your family history. I think you are doing well pushing yourself to get things done. And you still push yourself to go out to breakfast on Sunday morning. Believe me, I couldn't do that.
    The Nook is a great idea. And did you ever think you would set up Wi-Fi? I know you can't wait until you can get the treatment for your back next month. Things will get better then. I too am sure that the meds have something to do with the foggy feeling. I have all the confidence in the world in you. You are a strong person and so blessed to have Don. And I know I am blessed to have you in my life.

  7. Keep on trying. Glad you are having fun with Nook and that keyboard is working for you. P.S. Mary we are slowing down if I didn', t. Have Rich I also would be lost. God bless our husbands. See you Sunday.

  8. U can has awesome. :) I iz very proud of u. :)

  9. It's wonderful to hear that you don't have dementia. After a fall that caused her to hit her head, my grandma's doctor found that she was in the early stages of dementia and prescribed Aricept for her. My mom used to bring it for my grandma to take every morning because they lived next door to each other. My aunt, who lived with my grandma, told my mom not to give her the Aricept anymore because it made her dizzy. Hello! That's one of the initial side effects. It would've eventually gone away. Because my mom was no longer allowed to give my grandma the Aricept, her decline into dementia was a swift one. She passed away a year and a half ago, and it angers me that she had to spend the last days of her life unable to recall who most of her family members were.

  10. Well that is such good news that you don't have dementia. It sounds like you are doing really well. We are all slowing down just from age. There are many things I can't do now. Just something we have to live with for sure. I know how you feel about your back. I have a huge problem too walking or standing up for very long. I think it is terrific that you write about all this. It must help other people a lot. Take care.

  11. I never thought you had dementia because your writing is so clear, so I glad the doctors confirmed it. I just bought a Kindle, and am waiting for it to arrive. Any book I want at my finger tips & I don't have to go to the library. How good is that!

  12. I'm glad that you don't have dementia, but I'm sorry that you're going through so much else. I wonder if a walker with a seat would help make things a little easier for you. My mom has one to help with her balance, and the built-in seat is great for breaks. If you're a candidate, your doctor may suggest a place to borrow one for a test drive. Best of luck to you! Julie


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