Random thoughts, not remembered.

Peter has trouble expressing himself more and more frequently. The other evening he was trying to explain something, but his words were jumbled. I leaned closer hoping I could catch a few words and make sense of them. Instead, he smacked himself on the head and said, “My thoughts just won’t stay in one place long enough for me to remember what I’m trying to say.”

We both laughed, but that in itself was quite a mouthful for him these days.

APHASIA (uhfey-zhuh) noun, Pathology.
The loss of a previously held ability to speak or understand
spoken or written language, due to disease or injury of the brain.

It’s so difficult for those of us whose thoughts do stay in one place to imagine what it would be like to have some form of dementia. Peter falls back on his sense of humor to get by, and I borrow on that a lot. At times, though, it’s exhausting, probably as much for him as it is for me.

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©Dan Murphy cartoon, 6/18/95

Later Peter asked, “Did you know me before my mind got like this,” he waggled his hands above his head, “before my bike accident?”

“Of course I did, silly,” I answered. “That was in 1980. We met in 1974. Besides, your mind didn’t get ‘like this’ until a few years ago. ‘”

“How do you remember all that?”

“‘Elephant brain’,” I joked. “Important stuff. How could I forget?”

“I did,” he said sadly.

Header photo: web grab

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist. 

7 thoughts on “Random thoughts, not remembered.

  1. My Mother became so anxious when she realized she was having trouble with memory. I didn’t understand why she was having so much anxiety and I finally asked her one day to tell me what was bothering her so much. She looked me square in the eye and said, “I can’t hang on to it anymore.” I knew exactly what she meant…it was one of the elephants in the room that we weren’t talking about. But it made it so much easier for her once it was out.

    She is now losing her language in addition to her memory, aphasia, and so she’ll knock on her head and say, “Come on Gerda!” and then she’ll try again. Other times she doesn’t seem to realize how garbled her language is.

    The most amazing thing to me is how some days she is so lucid, so on top of it, while other days we are both in grade school and I’m clearly not her daughter but a really good friend and she is so happy to see me. Dementia is truly a roller coaster!

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