An Odd Afternoon

As dementia progresses, the individual who has it finds they are more and more unsure of what they are supposed to do.  There may be moments of lucidity; but they are just moments in the ongoing decline.  In the last week, we've seen both from Lyn.

Last week, she recalled how to turn on the TV using the remote.  She would vocalize each step and talk herself through it.  If she didn't vocalize it, she didn't know how to do it.  This suddenly reacquired skill was short-lived and has already faded again.

Earlier this week, Lyn had a particularly odd afternoon.  She had her normal speech therapy session in the morning and then spent some time running errands with Mom.  One of the things they needed to do was fill up the car with gas which they did just before returning home for lunch.  As they pulled into the garage Lyn said "I thought we were going to get gas."  Mom reminded her that they had purchased the gas right after the grocery store.  She said she didn't think so and that Mom was confused.

So, they ate lunch and Lyn decided to play solitaire on her computer.  Her computer is in her room.  Mom was in the living room reading.  Lyn cannot see into the living room from her bedroom.  She went back and forth at least 10 times in about an hour.  Each time she would come stand by the couch where Mom was reading.  Mom would ask if she needed "me to do anything for you" or if she needed a nap.  The answer each time was the same,"No, nothing."  A couple of times, Mom didn't say anything but looked up and smiled at her.  By mid-afternoon, Lyn was ready for dinner and was disappointed that Mom wasn't going to cook until later.  Lyn was in bed asleep before 7:30.

Some research suggests that the variance between good and bad days is a result of either damage being done to the frontal lobes which control our executive functions or a result in problems that arise when the brain needs multiple areas to process the stimuli it is experiencing.  Years ago, a neurologist told Mom, after Lyn had an MRI, that her brain damage was primarily in her left frontal and temporal lobes.  If her dementia is a symptom of changes happening in her brain, it doesn't surprise me to learn that these areas, in particular, are involved.


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