For many years, I was aware that something was wrong with me, but because it’s practically impossible for a doctor to detect something wrong with an “apparently normal” person during a quick doctor’s visit, I, like many others, was told that any problem I thought I had was simply due to over-extending myself personally and professionally.
So on I went. Then one day, I simply forgot what I was doing at work. I literally forgot why I was there or what I should be doing. My job went first. Then one day I got in my car and literally couldn’t remember how to start it. That passed, but on another day, I nearly killed myself and my daughter. I willingly—but with huge amounts of sorrow—gave up driving.
Yet my family and I continued to simply “do the best we could” with all my little but accumulating changes. I’m now 54 and the changes are not so “little” anymore. Where once I knew I was about to visit “fog hollow,” I no longer always know. I’m not always safe in the kitchen anymore, and I often struggle to understand conversations. I never, ever leave my home alone. I can now get lost without any warning, and yet, because part of me knows I “should” know where I’m going, I don’t ask anyone for help.
As a hobby, I once designed and sewed little heritage garments and donated them each Christmas to a local shelter. Now, I’ve forgotten how to create them. I no longer do any of my finances. (The poor utility companies became weary of receiving cheques dated in past decades! It doesn’t help to re-check things. In my mind, it simply “looks right” no matter how often I check it.) And on it goes. And I get to watch it happen, day by day, week by week.
But, although Alzheimer disease will win in the end, it’s going to have to go like hell to catch me. I don’t waste a single day: I live with laughter and love and simple joy in so, so many things.