Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Elephant In The Room: Snapshot

I suspect that there may be some curiosity about how I would describe the specific nature of these cognitive problems and what they feel like.  Once again, what I am describing has been characterized by my neuropsychologist as amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI).

Here is how I would describe what I have been experiencing:
·         My dreams for the past four years are often "vivid" or “unusual” and are sometimes scary  where I am attacked by animals or people and wake up fighting them off.  I would also describe some of them as feeling like those we have all had when we have a fever.
·         I get tired easily, especially following periods of concentration, and take at least one nap daily.  This is not necessarily related to the cognition issues as many with PD experience this.
·         I am unable to keep track of planned events without the help of my wife, reminder lists, and our appointment book.  I also am terrible at remembering names.
·         I have trouble with tasks that are at all complex in nature.  My wife has taken over all matters related to preparation of our tax files for our accountant.  I bought a laptop computer a few months ago and was intimidated by the setup process, but finally got it set up with help from my brother-in-law.
·         I have described the way I feel when awake as “mildly to moderately inebriated”.  As a result of this and my fatigue problem, I drive very little and never with any of our six grandchildren in the car.
·         I can remember things during the night that I couldn’t during the day.  I assume that this is because there is very little competing traffic at that time.  I got a voice recorder for Christmas that I am going to keep by the bed in order to capture anything that seems important.
·         When I can’t remember something during the day, I sometimes remember within the next few minutes or hour.  Cues or hints usually help. 
·         I am still able to discuss some fairly complex subjects with some effort.  These may be things that have to do with my business experience from years ago or current economic or political subjects.  The key factor seems to be that they are things I have thought about a good deal and spoken about in the past.  I was able to make PD advocacy presentations or speeches and answer interview questions earlier this year, but am not confident that I could do that now.  I am forced to read things I have written down at this point.
·         I use a timer to help me remember to take my pills.  If my timer goes off, I have to take the pill right away or I will forget, usually remembering up to an hour later because I feel crummy from not taking the pill.
·         I have been describing the way I experience time (for about the last year) as ethereal.  That is the best word I can come up with.  It just doesn’t seem as “finite” as it used to.  Periods of time go by inordinately quickly.  In addition, it is hard for me to remember what I did during those periods of time.
·         I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is, let alone what day of the month.
·         Sometimes when I wake up, it feels like I am still asleep, even though I know I’m not.  I have a feeling that, at some point in the future, the lines between sleep and wakefulness will become increasingly blurred.

I really don't share these things with the intent of being depressing.  I suppose it is my natural
tendency to want to understand things that makes them interesting to me as well.  Meanwhile,
life is good!  In fact, it is great!  It is the day after Christmas and my son and family are home
from China for Christmas.  Tomorrow we are taking our whole "gang" dog sledding up in the

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