Many years ago, my mother was brought to a neurologist because we suspected something wasn’t quite right. She seemed a little forgetful, but more importantly, we suspected she was making things up to cover up her memory loss. She also seemed “simple”, as opposed to being complex. Life was pared down, simplified, broken down to concrete, discrete ideas.
I am grateful to the neurologist for his kindness and the gentle way he explained the diagnosis. How he encouraged us to enrol her in daycare, so that her days would be richer. How he listened when we described her response to the medications he put her on.
He accompanied us on the path over the years as Mom gradually got worse. He was realistic but never made us feel hopeless.
Over the years since the diagnosis, I think we coped quite well. Yet yesterday was the first time Mom looked at me blankly when I asked her a question as though trying to remember who I was. Such a long pause. Then I asked her if she knew who she was. She smiled and started to tell me but couldn’t say her own name.
Is this it? That stage of dementia that every recognises and identifies as dementia?
I don’t know, but I do know I am grateful for the many years we have enjoyed since being given the diagnosis.