Disorientation of time and place 4th Warning Sign of Alzheimer’s

     This warning sign does not stump me anywhere near how the language difficulties did.  Nonetheless, I have not proven to be a quick study.


     Just thinking about that, and the example that comes to mind, made me think of a comment I read in a forum or following a post that told of behaviors between a dad with Alzheimer’s and a daughter who come to take care of parents who, each had been diagnosed with the disease.  The one commenting had said, “Why, argue”.  Why argue, indeed.  Indeed!  And yet, just envision this.  And envision it with no training and no other experience to tip you off to this being another manifestation of what can happen when some of the brain cells have left for good, and no new connections are setup.


     I’m near Maxine.  She places a phone call to her beautician, on speaker.  She’s attempting to move her appointment from Thursday to Wednesday.  I realize some help in explaining why we are also talking not the coming Wednesday but the next is needed and confusion has crept into Maxine’s thinking and explanation.  Soon there are three of us trying to set things right, and after it takes me longer than it should, I realize I need to get a calendar with more on it to clear up why I’m saying it has to be the next week.


       What took me too long is realizing that Maxine no longer could connect the dots when a new month began with a Friday and Saturday in the upcoming month, while the rest of the week had finished up in the month prior.  My saying (arguing) that the new month did not have its first Thursday until the second week that we could see on the one month calendar, simply was not going to wash.  By the time I found something that represented enough months to see how that changed, over and over, she was too worn out to be attentive.


         I had noticed large X’s across the calendar on the kitchen bar counter.  Sometimes they are current, sometimes not, but now I understand they are her attempts to keep current:  to simply know what day, what week, what month we’re in.  I picked up the papers to take them to the porch after she had finished reading them.  “Keep the front page on top”, she said.  “That’s how I know what date today is.”


          I’ve told stories in earlier posts about her confusions with time.  Those seem to be rather infrequent, so far, and thank goodness.  I also mentioned her getting lost the last night she drove.  Lost one street over, that is.  She hasn’t mentioned it for a while but it used to be whenever she was out with me she’d bring it up and say she still couldn’t figure out where she turned wrong and where she ended up.


           It does make sense to me that as different as we all are, we all manifest our illnesses, diseases and disorders somewhat differently.  It certainly makes for differing stories, as well.


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