I’m pretty sure we all experience that if we get around the net enough, we run into contradictions regarding just about everything. I’ve been posting about the Ten Signs of Alzheimer’s I found when I discovered Jacqueline Marcell. The first five each got their own post: memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language, disorientation to time and place, and poor or decreased judgment.
My thoughts today are to wrap up the remaining five in this post. I’m thinking it might work better to lay the foundation and then reference back as life progresses because it feels like to me that I am tangling up on feeling I “should” write on one thing when I’m “feeling” the other. Since none of you who are my readers is commenting (which, of course would be the decent thing to do so I don’t feel all alone in here) I’m unable to tell what is really in your best interest. I’m pretty sure I need to feel current (at least reasonably so) for my own best interest.
The five remaining signs are these: 6 — problems with abstract thinking (Oh, boy, oh, boy, this would be why her nurse told me early on, “you can’t reason with Maxine”), 7 — misplacing things (remember my mention of a car accident that takes the blame for her “brain problems” which must have been because of those pesky facial contusions? – well, when she found papers of a lawsuit and copy of a check and medical bills – she had “never” seen them before and her husband – despite taking her to physical therapy – had “never” told her about the accident so she never, ever, ever knew she’d been in an accident). 8 – changes in mood or behavior (who would I be to mention either of these?) 9 — Changes in personality (I probably should simply repeat the previous in parenthesis. I’d suggest you not gamble your life savings on it, though) 10 – loss of initiative (I’ll tackle this first.)
I suppose it must be difficult to ever know for sure, which came first, the chicken or the egg. I often think that if I knew I couldn’t hear (like maybe three out of four voices) and/or I had to take a cane with me everywhere I went and I allowed myself the sneaking suspicion I didn’t see every which way I should, that my motivation wouldn’t be all that great towards doing a particular thing, even if, and, maybe especially, because it had been one of my favorite things. I’m at a disadvantage in quantifying some of these things, also, because Maxine is 89 years old. Some of what goes on must surely be, at least a little bit, tiredness. And then, of course, the woman is used to having a delightful, worshipful, easier-on-the-eyes than me, man about. She’s had four husbands which speaks of a clear preference for men in the house with her.
I admit, though, from my perspective to claim to be a dancer, to see oneself as a person who expresses and defines oneself in physical terms, and to be someone who at least in their fifties and sixties and seventies claims to have been a “walker”, but who will not take a ten minute walk a day, and who protests to getting a lot of walking in, meaning in the house, by getting to the bathroom and back, I struggle with that as an example of loss of initiative. Sorry, sorry, sorry, but I have a lot invested in that, and I definitely experience temper over it. But then you knew this was all about me, ‘member dat?
As regards changes in mood or behavior and in personality, I feel I need to be in a much lighter mood to write about these things. The nurse mentioned again (for at least the second time) that of all the patients she’s cared for (we’re talking a forty plus year career) she felt most certain that Maxine would definitely go toward defiance as the disease progressed. Well, I am not the sweet, loving personality Maxine wishes (as she mentions she is certain heaven is filled with) to surround herself with, but and possibly that is why I do not look forward to more resistance. As I read other’s stories I do not miss the reminders that Alzheimer’s patients are not children and need to be given choices. I need to remember our roles are not reversed, and that I am in no way not only not to talk like I’m Maxine’s mother, but somehow I am not to become over invested in how she chooses each daily decision. I truly wish I had better control over my internal dialogue.
Now, there’s the rub you see. If my internal dialogue were sweet and loving, hell’s bells, what would that be like? I am finally beginning to clearly see (whether I want to or not) that what I allow my thoughts to embrace (wisely, or in more cases not) gets “name in lights” bells and whistles, and, yes, indeed, lights, attention on the “out” at the worst possible time. This is how I know; the greater part comes back to me. Hello, boomerang. I just, (and I do mean just), learned on another Alzheimer’s site that current attitude added to past experiences is what creates perception. That is truly a gem that should all be capitalized so please don’t miss it. I don’t know about you, but my past experiences can’t be changed. That leaves me only able to work with my current attitude, and dad nab it, I don’t find myself as willing to work with it, as even I can see I should, as often as requires. Thus, hello angst!