Quasi's Wacky World Of Dementia: An Update

Those of you who know me, know that I like to look at what’s going on with me with a comical eye and I want y’all to do the same, or else this is going to be a very boring and sad journey that I’m on.

So let’s begin (from my notes this week) and from what happened not an hour ago):

Today: You Can Dress Him “Out”, But You Can’t Take Him “Up”

D and I went to O’Charley’s for lunch a little while ago, and as I unrolled the silverware from the napkin, I immediately got confused. Napkin in one hand, silverware in the other, I asked myself “OK, which one goes on the lap and which stays on the table?” So I “practiced” it, and switched back and forth once to see which one felt “right”.

Excused myself to go to the restroom and had a bit of difficulty there as well. Standing at the urinal, I unzipped, stuck my hand through my pants and couldn’t find anything.

A “mini-rage” ensued.

“Godammit! Where IS it???”, I growled. I had my jockeys on backwards.

This whole week playing World of Warcraft has been for shit as far as game strategy goes. I have suddenly forgotten strategy, the basics and how to list stuff for auctions. My friend Oakminster helped me remember how to track my quests, something I should have known and which should have been ingrained since I do so many quests there.

My WoW buds must have been scratching their heads wondering at all my questions. One right after another, some of them. Take a look, if you’re interested.

Some other stuff from my notes since the last update:

  1. Getting into the wrong car at the supermarket parking lot, sitting down and wondering why everything looked different. Luckily it hit me before anyone other than my wife (waiting in the next space) noticed.

  2. Going into the ladies’ restroom by mistake, seeing a woman standing at the mirror and wondering if this were a unisex bathroom or that maybe SHE made the mistake.

So that’s it from within the “protein helmet”. Hope I made you laugh or at least smile a bit.

Thanks

Quasi

Shit, man. As long as you can stil laugh at it.

aaaaand thank god it was just the opening to your briefs you couldn’t find. Don’t go losing anything else, now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIUk08iYZKE

Your courage and humor in facing this hardship is inspirational beyond belief. Remember we’ve all got your back.

Quasi,
Thanks for the chuckle. FWIW, I do not have dementia (at least I don’t think so), but I have done both these things. My dad, who is in his late 80’s and starting to get a little fuzzy around the edges calls things like this a symptom of “old-timer’s disease”.
SS

So whats wrong with the rest of us when we do shit like that?
Every now and then, I park my car, walk into the store, and realize I was supposed to go to class.

How did the woman in the bathroom react?

I love your stories, Quasi. And yes, do not forget that you’ve a world ‘o’ friends here!

Mouth dropped open and then she got the hell out. I went looking for the urinals, and finally just used the toilet. Smelled really nice in there too.

Do you see what I mean? Even when I couldn’t find the damn urinals, I didn’t make the connection!:rolleyes:

There’s more to the story: as I left the restroom it finally dawned on me what my mistake was (the signs on the doors read “Heifers and Bulls”), and when I went back to our booth I noticed that my “victim” and her husband were dining at the one across from ours.

What an “oh shit” 45 minutes that was, lemme tell ya.

This is what I meant when I wrote you can dress me up, but not take me out.

I know. It’s not all funny, but I’m the kinda guy who has to make it funny or it might as well all be over for me.

Q

I wanted to add that I know I have good friends here and that y’all care about me.

I also know to appreciate it.

My biggest regret is that we don’t know each other real-life, real-time.

Being a Doper for the last 10 years has really enriched my life.

(Can you imagine how that sentence would sound to someone who doesn’t know who or what we are???:):):))

I love it and I love y’all!

Bill

Exactly.

E, that’s hilarious! :smiley: Musically, I really like the drums in that one.

The singer sounded really familiar to me, and all night long I’ve been sitting here trying to think why, and this is the only thing I could come up with:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9Jmo3yGrSg

Thanks, my friend!

Q

I really hope this story didn’t end with you discovering how difficult it is to cut steak with a napkin :smiley:

That song always makes me think of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQa159TglS8

About a decade ago, my Mom and I worked at the same office. We both drove Saturn SL2s, same color. (I know…how cute…)

The thing is…our keys opened each others cars! Happily, hers was an automatic and mine was a stick shift…so it was pretty obvious once inside.
Thanks for the chuckle, Q!

-D/a

I gotta admit, Bill, the one about your shorts bring on backwards Going "GODDAMMIT WHERE IS IT??!! " is giving me the giggles big time HUGS

Hell, I’ve done that, and I don’t even have an excuse. Just a fairly common looking vehicle. :wink:

I ordered some hot & sour soup last week and couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to eat and why it was taking me way longer than it usually did. I got about 3/4 of the way through the bowl before I realized that I was eating my soup with a fork. The spoon was right there on the table in front of me, but I didn’t make the connection.

Q,

After spending some time working in a long term care facility, I noticed that many of the patients with some sort of dementia, not necessarily Alzheimer’s, also spent a great deal of time visibly upset. They would cry, lash out in anger, have flat affect, as well as display some compulsive activities. Many of them were on antidepressants of some kind, but I wondered how anyone was able to tell if the medication they were given was effective or detrimental. The only way to see if a psychotropic medication is working is by getting an honest assessment from the patient.

My question is, at this stage in the process : How aware are you of your emotions? Are you still able express your feelings verbally and appropriately?

I apologize if I am being insensitive, but I suspect that many of the patients I deal with may not be appropriately medicated for depression, anxiety, and compulsive disorders. I am looking for clues how to better assess their response to medications and ease their suffering if I can.

Please don’t ever worry about asking me questions, sbl! (Initials okay?)

I wish more people would, especially family and friends, but they walk on egg shells around me, because they don’t know how to act. That’s why I talk to y’all about what’s going on. Well, y’all and my neuro-psych guy, who does these little tests with me.

Yup. I’m heavily medicated with anti depressants and neuro meds, and together they help me through my day.

You mention anger.

How about rages? I used to have them on a regular basis, now not so much anymore, since the meds are keeping me in check. But they do happen. And because of the smallest things.

For example, “misplacing” a particular thing. Time frame: one minute from the time I put it down.

“I just had it, goddamit!”, I’ll yell, and my poor wife does her best to help me find it. And we do, usually in the most common of places. Again, one minute had elapsed from the last time I had contact with this thing, till the time it went “missing”.

I also get upset with myself over things I can’t do anymore, such as drive our car and ride my motor scooter. I make too many mistakes and get disoriented. So my wife drives and I’m over on the passenger side being a back seat driver to the point where I become obnoxious. I know it’s a trite term but she really does have saintly patience with me.

Yeah, I cry. Again, not so much anymore since the meds, but boy let me miss a day and watch something sad on tv and there I go. This (missing a day) doesn’t happen anymore, because D realizes she cannot trust me to take them, so she brings them to me, and stands there while I take them.

I do not mind this. I also do not mind when she asks me, “did you clean your teeth?”, as if I were a little boy. These days my personal hygiene is done in stages. By that I mean, I do one thing, such as wash my face, and then stop and think about the next thing, and do it, and so forth. Once I left the conditioner in my hair and dried it that way. I looked like a 50’s greaser till D noticed and we fixed it.

Yes, my emotions do show, but again, my meds (double dose of Welbutrin and one Lamiktal per day) do a great job in keeping me “balanced”.

Am I “appropriate”. No, sometimes I’m very inappropriate, especially at family dinners where I was likely to tell a joke whose punchline fell on embarrased ears. So I don’t go out to eat with family anymore. I go out to eat with my wife and stay home while SHE goes. It’s better that way, i think.

sbl, so much of my life is “avoidance” these days. Say, if I’m driving (this used to happen, but as I said, D does that now), and I need to pull out of a side road and then across to the median where one can make a left turn to join traffic going the other way? It was too many things for me to be “aware of” and careful about, that instead of crossing, I’d turn *left[**/I], go the next traffic light, and then turn left at that light and head the other way.

Nice and simple = avoidance.

Short-term memory is getting worse. Within seconds of having the idea of doing a particular thing, I’ll forget what it was I wanted to do. Such as to lie down and read, for instance.

Okay, I hear this a lot by well meaning folks: “Oh, I do that!”. It’s said to help me feel better, I know, but unless a person continually does that, he or she can’t possibly know what it’s like to be like… that.

And finally, something I haven’t discussed: my desire to do a particular thing.
For example, I’ll head to my guitar case to play a few tunes, and as I start to go and get it, I already feel like not doing that anymore. It’s like someone has a rope around my waist and is pulling me backward. Again, we’re talking seconds, okay? This may happen 5 or 6 times a day.

You also mention OCD. I used to be that, but no more. I may go 2-3 days without shaving, prepare my clothes for the next day, etc.

No more. Anyone who knows me intimately to be that way, would now describe me as “slovenly”.

Was this what you wanted, sbl? I appreciate you asking and I appreciate my friends here. This is where I feel the most comfortable talking about the dementia, because here I don’t have to worry about making my family feel uncomfortable. And og forbid, if I joke about it in real life as I do here. It’s just not “done”.

One last thing, as an English major I had no trouble writing continuously. Not anymore. These days as I’m writing a sentence, having formed the thought and thinking toward the next sentence, sometimes I have to stop and ask myself what that next sentence is supposed to be? I will reread what I just wrote, to get it to come, but sometimes it just won’t right away.

It happened twice so far during this post.

I didn’t mean for this to be an essay, but other than my doc who only gives me 20 minutes a month (it’s a myth that they give you 50 minutes anymore), this is my “safe haven”, where I can talk to my heart’s content, and there’s always someone to listen.

And having written that just now, I realize how lucky I am to be able to do this.

Thanks

Bill

That was really moving. You conveyed the facts, the frustration, and frankly the horror quite effectively.

I’ve been around some people with dementia, so I know what you mean about the getting angry.

And there is nothing you can do for them sometimes, they don’t want you to do it, they want to do it. And saying, ‘that’s okay, don’t worry’, doesn’t seem to help either. All you can do is feel for them and give them some time and some space, let them work through it on their own. Frustration for patient and caregiver both, that’s whats so challenging, I think.

And then there was Aunt Lucy. When Lucy developed dementia it was amazing to watch. She never seemed to get frustrated, just bemused. If she couldn’t remember where this was, or what that was, when it was explained, she’d just say, “Oh well!” and go happily on. It was the only time that I saw anyone with this sort of reaction, and it made me wonder why she reacted so differently.

But then I never knew her when she was younger so could never make any inferences based on her personality.