2021

12.03.21 When my brain hiccups

I am a naturally optimistic and encouraging person. I’ve learned to thrive on the times this dementia has plateaued and I get to live at the new level for months, maybe years. Vascular Dementia is not like Alzheimer’s in that respect. Alzheimer’s slopes down consistently, not just from time to time like Vascular Dementia does.

When this vascular dementia starts its downhill spiral, which it does every couple of years, I want to go live in a hole. Not a grave kind of hole, just a hole. Since I’ve had dementia several years I’ve learned that when this spiraling starts it means the plateau I’ve been on brain-wise is over, I lose some cognitive abilities and go from there. Spiraling is not a medical term, it’s just my term because it makes sense to me.

Everything changes all of a sudden for several days, I stop being able to do things well that I could do well before. I don’t know where this latest spiral will leave me but already I don’t like it.

Reading is my go-to activity and I’ve always enjoyed reading complex deep meaning books. During this latest brain dip when it gets too difficult parts I can’t grasp the meaning of words. Thank goodness I have a Kindle since I can put my finger on a word I don’t know and it gives the meaning. That helps me a lot. Simpler, easier books are what I am reading now. I’ve learned to enjoy them and will continue reading whatever I can.

I couldn’t understand the words that some people were saying to me in Sunday School, Worship Service and at our Veterans Dinner after church during the spiraling time. I tried really hard to participate in conversations but for the most part, just sat there. Some of the time I was fine and could converse normally but not always. I’ve learned that odd things will come out of my mouth if I do attempt to speak when this is going on.

Last Sunday I was told something that I should have made a decision about but instead, I said bye and walked off. It was something I’m responsible for. I didn’t realize I did that until the next day.

I wasn’t able to think which is hard to describe. Thinking, listening and comprehending kinda all go together and none of those were working well.

I normally sit down to write with a thought in mind and words just flow out. During that time I was drawing a blank. I started this post a few weeks ago and look at it every day, nothing happens so I go on to something simple I know I can do without thinking too hard. Today was a good thinking day so I read it through, finished it up and here it is!

I started this journey with a very strong brain and find that even after this last spiral I have probably at least 80 percent capacity which I am thrilled about and will take it! The brain rest, for a week or two, that I forced upon myself has helped as things don’t seem to be worse. This post is more for documentation than for sharing. I really don’t believe that anyone can understand what this is like just by reading my words here.

Writing this helped me when I saw my neurologist this week for my 6 month checkup. I handed him my phone with the draft of this post on it so he could read it. He said it was very helpful.

I don’t know how many brain MRIs I’ve had but next week I’ll have another one. Dr. Zapata wants to see if there have been any new TIAs since there has been a stroke in my left eye optic nerve. He’ll let me know the results and I don’t have to go back to him for a year unless something big happens. He’s okay with me continuing to drive, just not at night or far distances. Also living at home alone is still fine. I know I still do well with those things but him saying it makes me happy!

Now onward to enjoy decorating my home for Christmas!

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