Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sky: Taking the Test 2

If you want to rent a sailboat at the Community Sailing Center in Burlington you have to pass a test.  A couple of days ago I visited this place just to look around, and I wound up sitting on a box, pencil in hand, about to face down a written Test. Now, for someone on the Dementia Continuum, the idea of a cognitive test of any kind is likely to be anxiety-producing. And, of course, experiencing anxiety, no matter what the source, is virtually guaranteed to lead to more anxiety, which then leads to more of the same with a resulting weakened cognitive function. Somehow, the conversation had got a little ahead of me, and that must have been when I agreed to give the Test a shot. Luckily, I didn’t yet know the protocol where you are only allowed to take the test once, and if you fail, you have to take some kind of a remedial course. 

Countering my stress was a certain confidence in my sailing experience. I had just calculated that I had first “sailed,” i.e. ridden in a small sailboat, exactly 60 years ago, and learned to sail on my own a year or two later. Since then I think I have sailed more summers than I haven’t. Mostly, I was going by the theory that, like riding a bike, once you know to do it, you just don’t forget.

Countering my confidence has been the stress of the past few years of unpredictably forgetting all kinds of things. The concept of “Things You Just Don’t Forget,” now seems more quaint than unassailable.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sky: Alzheimer's Canyon, Part 4

For those who may not remember, we last left our detoured adventurer outside the Alzheimer’s Cafe. He’d had a day that had more than pushed his personal boundaries of sanity and was in the middle of a disturbing meltdown.

Wait? What?

Yes, he feels he is becoming more knowledgable than he wants to be about living in a world that is far from what it seems. Little does he suspect how much more learning is ahead….

Ugh!! Rough landing!  Sand everywhere.

Nothing feels broken though…Can wiggle everything, all right?

Ooh, my head. I’m gonna get an egg there for sure. Tender.

Wow, get a grip now pal. Let’s figure this out. Where am I?  And how do I get outta here? 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sky: Conference 1

I’m finally sorting out my experience at the recent conference of the Dementia Action Alliance. DAA. Some may not agree that three weeks ago is still recent, but do not forget that this account is brought to you by someone who may be “loosing the tethers of time.” And if you are still bothered, well, take a chill pill, relax…it’s summer !

The conference was held at a fancy, glass-enclosed hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. The place seemed well set-up as a convention center, complete with a “Grand Ballroom.” Most amazing was the attendance: over 350 people, united by their acceptance and support of people living with dementia of all kinds. I hadn't expected to be so moved, but I was blown away by the diversity and intensity of the group.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sky: Alzheimer's Canyon Part 3

In case you don’t remember ( !!!), we last left our intrepid traveler, the one on the one-way detour, at the Alzheimer’s Cafe ….

It turns out that my meal is just what the doctor ordered, nutritious, tasty, and not too filling. Maybe it’s the triple shot of turmeric, but I feel like moving around, doing something besides sitting around digesting.

Not that those marathoners are any inspiration. They seem to have taken to aiding their digestion with random calisthenics, punctuated with grunts and smiles. My guess is that they’re so smug because, unlike mere mortals, they say they are not living under a death sentence. They’ve figured out how to beat the system. As their mentor, Jack LaLanne, crowed, “Death would be bad for my image.” Then, as quickly as they arrived at the Cafe, they are out the door, flexing, preening, and grinning as they go.

“Wow,” I say to the maitre d'. “What’s the story with those guys?”