The last 2 days had passed too quick and it was Wednesday morning, with only a few hours left before Mr Dementia gets up to his old tricks.
I get up a little earlier to write this article and maximise my time left.
After breakfast and bags packed I sit in the garden to write some more of this article, which I will try to finish this evening at the Travelodge in town.
For some family and friends, spending time sat here quietly with my own thoughts, trying to do some reading and writing, listening to some music, with no one to talk to, is their kind of hell and cannot understand why I would do it.
I love my family dearly but there are times when I need peace and quiet away, not from them, but from the reminders of what was and will be and it’s how I try to deal with all the insidious changes.
Dementia being an invisible disability, a lot of what happens to a person living with Dementia in the early stages may stay below the surface.
The need to appear normal to keep stigma and negative perceptions at bay is an overriding factor along with the wish not to distress loved ones and protect them for as long as possible.
When we get a diagnosis, the whole family is affected by that diagnosis and being human beings first, we are all different and deal with the inevitability of that diagnosis in different ways.
Denial is a two edged sword, living with Dementia we tend to go through a period of denial through and for a period after a diagnosis.
For some loved ones denial may be a coping mechanism that continues way beyond our diagnosis which can be frustrating to a person living this disease as they quietly go about their day fighting the many increasing challenges that come their way only to be put down by the denial of a loved one.
Being reminded of what we cannot do rather than focussing on what we can do, telling us you have to redo what we have already done when it’s not up to your standard.
When at school and it was report time, there was rarely any focus on what I did well rather what I didn’t do well and so it is with Dementia.
We may be pleased that we have tidied up to what we perceive to be a good standard then along comes a hammer blow from a loved one announcing how they will have to tidy up in the morning.
As things progress, things become more visible yet even though we may need to express our unmet needs, communication challenges stop us expressing those needs and lead us to become frustrated and be labelled with behaviours and violence.
There is an inevitability about the darkness before us, but many of us choose to turn away towards the light for as long as possible.
We may fight the good fight for as long as we are able, but we cannot turn water into wine, we just do whatever we can to keep the better days long, with comfort in the knowledge that we are doing all we can within the reducing limits of this insidious disease.
Whilst no fan of Boris Johnson I do like one of his quotes:
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”
And so it may be with Dementia:
“It’s not the strength of the person in the fight, it is the strength of the fight in the person”
At reception as I check out, I can hear Mr Dementia tapping his toes in anticipation and as I come out the door he skips along to the waiting taxi, no doubt planning his next trick.
As the Taxi leaves the car park, I look back trying to burn the image in my mind.
I have been coming to Woodbrooke for over a year now and it has been a bonus to my wellbeing albeit the challenges that I face, have been increasing over that time.
As Woodbrooke fades in the distance, for the first time I realise, with a sense of foreboding, that one day, I know not when, I will look back on Woodbrooke for the last time.