I am starting to see my memories like old faded photographs. You know the ones I mean, the old black and white ones that just fade over time. The one above is of someone from my family. My great, great grandmother. That is what my memories are like.
I can remember when I was a child like it happened yesterday, yet recent events are fading very fast. I would say the last few years are becoming a distant memory. I used to work in a seaside town called Deal and if anyone mentioned a patients name then I used to know exactly where they lived, the name of the road, house etc and what was wrong with them. Now I wouldn’t even know where half the roads were or their names. I know that isn’t important in the grand scheme of things but it is too me in one way.
People I used to work with, Old friends, I look down my friend list on Facebook and have no clue who some of them are now. Just can’t remember. And when I do try to remember something its like a higglety pigglety video thats playing with bits missing, its there but its not as well. If that makes sense.
I used to get so upset when I first couldn’t remember a dance I had been too or a person I had met but now I am getting used to it. And if someone says hello in the street and I don’t recognise them. I tend to stop and ask them who they are and how they know me, whereas in the beginning I used to feel embarrassed that I didn’t recognise them.
It’s like when I can’t remember names of things, its ridiculous but its can’t be helped either. And when someone tells me the answer it doesn’t sound right like a foreign language. I used to be very good at words and now I am often asking people what words mean. Sometimes the spelling looks weird and I often think, that can’t be right but it is. There are very subtle changes going on in my brain yet I am aware of it.
Numbers are completely foreign to me. I don’t understand them. Yet as a nurse I used to have to use maths all the time. My mum gave me a adult dot to dot book which are all the rage here in the UK. And I can’t do it. I feel a little bit ashamed admitting it but I can’t. It takes all my concentration just to do up to 50 then I lose it a bit. On paper they are so muddly that I just don’t understand then it makes my dementia more apparent.
Yet I have to write 14.00 hrs or 18.00 hrs instead of 2pm or 6pm as once a nurse always a nurse. We always wrote in the 24 hour format. It seems strange and wrong if I don’t write it in a way that I feel comfortable with.
And we always spoke in the phonetic alphabet if we were on the phone and trying to give a postcode or something. So that is commonplace with me still. Tango, November, Echo etc
Yet in other aspects I remember a lot more than when I first got diagnosed. I remember seeing my friend, Helen and her son and we went to this beautiful park with baby swans. Can’t tell you when it was. I remember walking with my friend Maxine and her dog Bonnie in the woods sometime, she got chased by some bees and then we got lost. These events happened last year sometime, but I don’t think it matters when its just nice to have those memories still there.
I think its funny how we can remember some things but not others. This is one of the reasons I take lots of photos and try and write about the walks I do with Annie, my walking buddy. It’s so important to document life in the best way you can.