Shrinking Brain

Some years before my mother was diagnosed with dementia, there was a brain scan. I thought there was a little too much space in there, the brain pulled further away from the skull, the brain folds too deep and the gaps too wide.

I sought a friend who was supposed to know about these things and asked my questions. My mother is slowing down, she seems less sharp. Does this scan indicate early dementia changes, perhaps?

No, no, he said. You cannot tell dementia from a brain scan. People can have less brain matter and still function normally. On the other hand, there can be dementia with a normal brain scan.

Surely this scan of a shrinking brain is consistent with my experience that she is slowing down? I asked.

No, he said. This scan looks normal to me. I cannot agree that there is any brain shrinkage.

Neither of us was wrong. I already knew she was changing and sensed the onset of dementia. I wanted the brain scan to support what I felt was happening. However, the scan might have passed as normal then, and it is true many older persons will have more space in their skills without having any symptoms of dementia.

Life, postponed

With Covid-19 many things have changed. I just thought I’d update and share a little of what life has been like.

For the past one month I have been forced to work from home part of the time. Fortunately my company has a good system and I can easily log in to get work done. It has been surprisingly lonely though and I’ve often found myself itching to get out of the house. And I do go out just to grab lunch most days.

Some lunch places near my home have the usual crowds. However I was in the city today and the city centre malls are definitely looking under-populated. There could be a couple of reasons for that – the virus hit business travellers who work in the city centre hard. And many offices in the city centre are able to get staff to work from home. Hence city malls seem to suffer more than neighborhood (or suburban) malls. Malls are now offering reduced parking rates and even free parking.

Mom is much the same though. She hasn’t been going to daycare for a month or so. When asked how she slept, she said, Not too well. She said, It’s because of the germs.

I don’t know how she knew that. She has been watching TV and the news everyday and after several weeks I guess some of it must have sunk in.

She is so silent now that unless one asks specific questions and waits for the answer, one would think there was nothing going on in her mind. Every case of dementia is different.

Dream Conversation

Good morning, Mom!

Good morning.

Did you sleep well?

Did I sleep well? Yes, I slept well.

Any dreams?

Any dreams? Yes, I had dreams.

Oh! What did you dream about?

I dreamed about….. I don’t know what I dreamed about.

Mom was so sure she had dreams but gave up trying to recall them. Interesting!

Conversations are rare and limited to 3 or 4 lines at the most nowadays. We run out of things to say to one another. She doesn’t initiate any conversations and has to be prompted.