Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Learn From A Dementia Patient, They Live It Everyday

Two of everything. I have even been accused of having several of just one item. And, it's true. I just don't have one of many things, usually I have two or more. Some people may refer to this as OCD.

The reason I do this is simple. This disease effects me so for whatever reason I think I have to have more than one thing. I have done this for decades, have something then go out and buy the very same thing.

I didn't know why back then, but I do now. My brain tells me for whatever reason that I need another of what ever it is.

For example, I'll bet if you took all the flashlights I own, and lined them up I would have no less then ten. Probably more. I have flashlights in ever conceivable location. I have two in my jeep, at least. Four at the camper, at least. I have who knows how many in the garage. There are two that I know of under the kitchen sink, one in the bedroom, and on and on. No one needs that many flashlights. No one.

I have four garage door openers. It came with two. One for each of our cars, but I had to have the security of knowing I have more than one, so I bought two more. One more would have been sufficient. But two sounded better.

Utility knives. I'll bet I have six of them. Screwdrivers, countless. The list goes on and on.

I probably have 20 extension cords, I have two hedge trimmers, and we don't have any hedges. sigh.

The point I am trying to convey and explain is with this disease there are all kinds of things that you have to deal with. The reason I want more than one of something is I always am losing things. Always. The chances of me losing a hedge trimmer I'll admit are slim, but I need two. sigh.

So if you loved has a tendency of having more than one thing, whatever that may be, there is a reason for that. And its called dementia. That is not to say that all OCD people have dementia, but dementia does bring on OCD tendencies.

This disease is much more than memory loss. That is what is most prevalent, but there is so much more to dementia than just memory loss.

One thing I am struggling with now and have been more than usual is noise. And that means anything at all. TV, radio, traffic noise, the sound of a drill, the sound of anything is sometimes just too much for me to take.

This is one of the reasons I personally avoid crowds. It's not the only reason, but it is the main reason. If I am around two or more people I cannot decipher what is being said. It all sounds garbled to me.

If one person asks me a question, and a simple one I can usually answer it. Not a two part question, than I am good. If someone asks me a question and there is just someone else talking, I cannot concentrate what was just asked.

It's like I am having to do two things at once. Listen to what the question was, and then remember it, then answer it, and hopefully no one else says anything. Think that isn't hard to do?  It is.

It's normal to be in two, three, or more conversations. We do it every waking moment of our day. If you are getting the kids ready for school, you not only hear what each are saying or asking, but you know exactly what the hubby is wanting or needing as well. And...you know exactly what was just on the radio or tv. It's called multitasking.

People do this everyday and don't think a thing about. Dementia patients cannot do this. Yet we are asked to or people just assume we can, because it is something we all have done since being a young child.

I just wanted to touch on this topic. I think this will answer some other questions as well. I have long said that when you think a patient is hoarding things, they really aren't.

What I mean is, to hoard something, say a banana or whatever, one would have to take the banana and put it somewhere with the intentions of getting it later. Dementia patients don't do this. They don't take something and hide it for later. Later is not in their vocabulary for one.

And you would have to know that you are taking this banana for the soul purpose of having it later, and like I said, later doesn't play into a dementia patients equation.

What they are doing, in my opinion is putting things where they think they belong. Here at our house we have found skillets in the freezer, we have found saran wrap in the clothes basket, we have found cereal in the refrigerator.

All of this and much, much, more happens because I put things where I think they go. I am not hoarding the cereal. I am not hoarding our skillets, or saran wrap.

I simply put them away when I done with them, and I put them where they go. I don't think about it, it's normal for me. It isn't a subconscious thing I do. I know exactly what I am doing. I am not in a trance of some sort. I put things where they go.

The issue is, they don't go there. Obviously. So this thing you will hear about patients hoarding things, really isn't hoarding. If you believe this, that is fine. There are plenty of people, high standing people in the dementia world who will tell you that patients do indeed hoard things.

My answer to this is, they are simply wrong. Just because someone has been doing speaking engagements or working with dementia patients for years does not make them an authority on dementia.

You know how you can tell some people are less knowledgeable than they want you to believe? Titles. If they must give you their title, or their accomplishments, this is a dead give away they really aren't as smart or as educated on dementia as they would want you to believe.

Now this isn't everyone, and if someone disagrees with me on certain things, that doesn't mean they don't know what they are talking about. They do at times.

Here's a good rule of thumb to remember. Would you rather hear some advice from someone who studied dementia, has written books on it, been of the speaking engagement circuit? Or would you rather here information from someone who lives this disease, day in and day out? Say, a patient?

If you get the chance always, always take the latter. Up to a certain point a patient is indeed who you want to listen to. In time of course that will not be the case.

There will come a time when I post something and Leeanne Chames will be like, "alight Rick, you may want to step away from you computer." Trust me that has happened already. lol

So, keep these things in mind. Not because someone who studied dementia told you this, but because you heard it from a patient. You will always get better info from a patient. We are not experts, but we do live this disease everyday of our lives.

©  Rick Phelps  2016