Double whammy in four pages and sixteen hundred words!

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“The elephant in the room” by Leah Salunier.

 There was an elephant in the room that I tried my best to ignore.

Again, I read and researched, saw another psychologist and joined discussion groups. Again, no surprise, he refused the psychologist’s help.

So I tried to change as Peter skidded further down that bumpy road.

The psychologist suggested I make an appointment with the university’s Psychological Services Center. I knew Peter would actually enjoy the two days of testing. It would be “fun” for him, unlike talking to a psychologist.

I hoped to find a link between AS and Dementia. It might explain a lot and maybe there would be some help.

In recent years, autism has become the diagnosis for children who have developmental issues. Four times as many males as females have autism, and men my husband’s age, or even thirty years younger, weren’t diagnosed as children. No one knew about the subset until the 1980s, even though it had been defined in the 1940s by Hans Asperger.

The testing did not show a link, but it did suggest that Peter’s dementia was probably vascular, and that it could have been caused by a couple of serious bicycling accidents years earlier. I sent the Center’s lengthy report to his neurologist. Based on the results, she said she couldn’t rule out Alzheimer’s Disease.

What? Until then, I’d been OK with a “dementia” diagnosis, more than OK with a “vascular dementia” description, but Alzheimers? NO!

Peter has accepted that “his memory is gone,” as he says, though I think he knows there’s more to it. No matter what, he hasn’t lost his sense of humor for which I’m grateful.

A sentence in an Alzheimer’s Society leaflet stuck with me: While Alzheimer’s disease accounts for fifty percent of dementia cases, vascular dementia accounts for up to forty percent in older adults, and there is much you can do to prevent this type of dementia.

Ah, prevent, but not cure. Still, to me, vascular dementia doesn’t sound as dire as Alzheimer’s disease, even though the end result is the same.

But that’s true of all of us, isn’t it? We’re born. We die. One end of a spectrum to the other.

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4 thoughts on “Double whammy in four pages and sixteen hundred words!

  1. Ohhhhh Judy! What a story, and many points to nod my head over. You’ve really done amazing research over many years and explored every avenue. Any form of mental illness, whatever the severity (even my Bill’s years of dealing with depression), to me at least, is far worse than any physical illness. But not for us to chose, our lot in life. Peter is a very lucky guy to have met and married you!! {and I’ll be waiting for the story of that seven-year campaign 🙂 } cj

  2. I’ve always liked the title of Joanne Greenberg’s book, “I never promised you a rose garden.” Literal J. Seinfeld and P. Clarke wouldn’t understand the line, but it sings to me! The book was good too.

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