Brigid and I: Sharing our problems

Brigid and I: Sharing our problems

Carolina

My friend Brigid and I went out yesterday to our favourite coffee bar. We like it because it isn’t too noisy, we can see the sea, and the coffee is quite good. Brigid and I are very good friends, although we only met about three years ago, when I was diagnosed with vascular dementia and she with Alzheimer’s.

After our diagnoses, we both took part for a few weeks in a cognitive stimulation course at the hospital.  We were then advised by the psychologist to join the Forget Me Nots group (FMNs) in Canterbury. We’ve enjoyed the FMNs and have been kept very busy with discussions about dementia and trying to keep society informed about it.

But Brigid and I also need to meet for our afternoon coffee to share our problems. We don’t have to explain to each other about our disappearing short term memory. We know it too well.

Brigid tells me how difficult it is to be treated like a child by, as she puts it, a half-wit who tells her: “You are a little forgetful dear, aren’t you?”. “God, my blood boils!” she says.

And I say, “I know Brigid. But it isn’t her fault that she’s a bit dumb. Like you have blue eyes and I have brown ones, she was born that way.”

“I know”, she says. “But I must tell you before I forget, that I went to my appointment at the Dentist and their receptionist is BRILLIANT! I’m so happy, she made my day! She’s bright, organised and looks at me with a great smile. She talks to me the same way as to other people. Such good manners and kindness! That is what we need. Intelligence, organisation and kindness.”

And I say “Oh Brigid, if we could only know who our GP is going to be each time we go to the surgery, and if only we were given medications with calendars. You know too well how easy it is to forget whether or not you have just taken a pill!”

You see, Brigid and I are always trying to avoid the Triangle of Dementia: short term memory not working, confusion following, becoming emotional, depressed or aggressive! We go for our weekly coffee so we don’t disappear into this Triangle!

Carolina
l'm 72 years old, married with two children and two grandchildren. I live in the garden of England-Kent by the North Sea. I was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012. Writing about dementia helps me live with it.
nada@myid.org.uk

7 thoughts on “Brigid and I: Sharing our problems

  • Brilliant Carolina. Thank you for putting it so well.

    julia seath
  • As a person living with Alzheimers I know to well what it’s like to live in the triangle, people need to be educated about dementia not just made aware of it. I also appricate those people who do smile and treat you as an adult after all we do not lose our intelligence when given a diagnoses of dementia. Love to Carolina and Brigid

    Tommy Dunne
    • Thank you Tommy – I’ll get Philly to pass your comments on.

      NadaNada
  • I would love to hear more from Bigid and Carolina!

    Reinhard Guss
  • Dear Carolina and Brigid,

    Lots of people pay much money learning to live in now & here, everybody saying then wauw you do are good, keek up the good working.

    But when people with dementia living freely and careless in now & here, people saying that is not good, you do it wrong.

    But what is the difference? So instead of forgetting you can say we are living a mindfulness life.

    Just like that caring for a baby is great and everybody congratulates you, but when you care for an older person everybody is saying, that is heavy, can you do that?

    But what is the difference? You take care for a living being who needs your care and love. And let we never forget, we should not be here if people had not taking care for us during our baby-years we would simply have died.

    And when those people who have cared for us, helped us finding our way in life need care, give that care with the same love as we once received of them.

    I have cared for more then 10 years for my mother with alzheimer’s and I could not stand it when people always said toe me, you are good, how do you do that, that is haevy.

    My mother have cared for me, I have cared for my mom. We have laughed a lot during those alzeimer’s years. Yes we had fun and have done a lot of thinghs together.

    Dementia is not only about sadness and restrictions,with the right attitude and in a good surroundings there is happiness, joy and many possibility.

    I wish you both many many happy days with lots of joy and happiness
    and never let anybody tell you something else

    Loving greetings from
    Ignar rip

  • This is such an inspiring story, I would love to read more about Brigid and Carolina!

    • Dear Carolina (and Brigi ).

      I agree with the comments above that sharing your supportive friendship is inspiring. What ever the challenges in life sharing with others leads to more knowledge and understanding. Thank you for sharing this blog with me.

      You have always been an ‘ inspirational’ friend Carolina in the way you take on new challenges. I remember how you embraced the challenge of academic study and life in New Zealand (so many years ago) and achieved so much. Now you are using the challenges you are facing with others to enhance greater understanding .

      I wish we didn’t live 12,000 miles away from each other so that we could spend more time together as the years creep up on us! Carolina, I love and admire you. I hope the blog keeps going and more people share their stories.

      Libby

      Libby Limbrick

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