Sunday, April 9, 2017

About dementia

Interesting thought this morning.
Dreamed last night that I was back in college and couldn't find my dorm room - kept mixing up the floors and ended up in a new dorm that was built after I graduated and that I've never even seen except in a picture. Was also worried about my senior examination that is usually done in the winter of senior year but it was already springtime in my dream and I hadn't heard anything about it yet - when and where - so I hadn't even studied. Anyway, my thoughts from the past and a bit of the present were all jumbled together and things made sense but they didn't, as they often do in dreams.
My father had dementia for many years and I often wondered what he was thinking - did he know where he was or not; did he know but couldn't express it; or was his connection to the present completely gone? Sometimes he seemed kind of with it, other times he seemed lost with bits of the past sprinkled in.
It occurred to me that's what it must be like to live with dementia - like being in a dream, where time and experience is jumbled and everything seems real and kind of makes sense, like in a dream, but you're actually awake. I can imagine myself walking around the kitchen muttering that I must get to my dorm, check my assignments, and prepare for my exam and my kids say to me, "Mom! It's okay. You're not in college, you're home. There's no exam." And what they're saying makes no dent on my thinking because my mind is in another time and place.
That must be what dementia is like: being in a dream but never waking up.

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