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I watch as friends struggle to find words, to follow instructions, to grasp concepts. Some call it dementia; some call it cognitive impairment; some call it “chemo-brain.” And some simply wear a bewildered look.
I realize this is dangerous ground – I haven’t been there myself, yet. But by the time I get there, I won’t be able to put the experience into words. I also realize that the people who could tell me if I got it right – or badly wrong – probably can’t respond. My hope, however, is that this poem may help some of you, who have friends or relatives with some form of ongoing dementia, appreciate what they may be feeling.
The fog creeps in
on little dendrites and axons,
It short-circuits the fungal filaments
that feed the chemistry of communication
from gray cell to… oh, what were the numbers
for the combination lock
on my memory locker?
Clarity scampers like a squirrel,
always just out of reach.
I grasp at dust motes dancing in a sunbeam....
Tags: Dementia, aging, fog
It’s hard to call dementia an epidemic. Epidemics typically involve infectious diseases. But when one in every 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has some form of dementia, some 700,000 Canadians, it’s hard to call dementia anything but an epidemic. Every year, about 25,000 new cases are diagnosed.
Apply those figures to any other illness – measles, cancer, AIDS – and you’d have not just an epidemic, but panic.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: Dementia, Ebola, denial