Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Memories ... Fight the Corners of My Mind

I struggle for words now, simple single syllable words that should come easily to me. They elude me - flitting around beyond my reach so I am often unable to complete a simple question. Names, places of my past are fading. This frightens me beyond anything else. My mother is one of four sisters. The eldest, Alice, has senile dementia. The one right below my mother, Golda, has Alzheimer's. Only the youngest, Lois, has, so far, escaped this disease. My mother's family has other mental disorders. Her older brother Tom is schizophrenic, she has a niece that is paranoid. My brother Howard was bi-polar with schizoid affects; I'm clinically depressed. My brother David suffers from strokes that have ravaged his body. Only my sister Cathie seems to have avoided anything neurological (although that's just a matter of opinion - I've always thought she was a basket case). I fear losing my mind. I know, intellectually, that being a caregiver exacts a huge toll upon the brain. I'm tired, overwhelmed and this can effect the thought processes. I've also read that I'm burning brain cells that will never regenerate. As a writer I worry about my future in the world of words. If I can't remember how to spell something, there's always a dictionary. But not being able to think of a word - I don't know of any book that will help with that. Of course, my mind automatically goes to Alzheimer's. I think that's normal.

I saw on the news one day that people who worry alot have a higher incidence of developing Alzheimer's. Great, something else to worry about.


Blogger Gail Rae said...

Baily, Hello!
I'm Gail Rae Hudson. I am also my mother's caregiver. I noticed your journal through Deb's, The Yellow Wallpaper and thought I'd check it out.
I wanted to mention, I'm both surprised at and, hmmm...affirmed by, I guess, your mention that you heard on the news that people who worry have a higher incidence of developing Alzheimer's. I've noticed this in my mother's family's experience. My mother has vascular dementia, which is quite a bit different and, I think, quite a bit easier to negotiate than Alzheimers. It has many manifestations that are similar to Alzheimer's but my mother's experience is much milder and she is never frightened because of her dementia. She's not, interestingly, a worrier. My maternal grandmother, though, who probably had Alzheimer's, was a worrier. My maternal aunt, who probably had Alzheimer's although there were other potentially demential issues in her life, as well, was also a worrier. At some time in the distant past I wondered about this out loud in my journals.
Now, considering that we don't know enough about dementia to unjumble all the different types and prognoses, and considering that my mother is demented and has never been a worrier, I wonder if the connection isn't, perhaps, that worriers are more prone to Alzheimer's, or any kind of dementia, but that having the character of a worrier has a significant impact on the trajectory of the disease.
Interesting journal, Bailey. I'll be keeping up on your journey. Thank you for writing about it the public forum.

Thu Jul 13, 03:00:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Bailey Stewart said...

Gail Rae - thanks for dropping by.

I don't think it was saying that everyone who worries will get AD, nor that people who don't worry won't get it. But I think it makes sense - after all, worrying adds stress to your body, stress burns brain cells ...

It's just something to think about. I do remember watching the report and thinking "Great, something else to worry about". *gg*

Thu Jul 13, 03:46:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Karma said...

I'm a worrier too, as are my mom and grandmother who both have Alzheimer's. I know with the two of them that it had an effect. But, I think that people who are children of someone with Alzheimer's worry more about the forgetting stuff than other people. Alzheimer's is just so horrific.

Thu Jul 13, 06:12:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous Deb Peterson said...

As my caregiving days pass, my idea of nirvana, or heaven, is changing. My current idea of heaven is just being too damned tired to worry. And I'm getting there.

Thu Jul 13, 08:38:00 PM CDT  

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