Saturday, December 18, 2010


At the memory center where my friends were having their memory evaluation, they were wiping the tears from their eyes. They were hysterical laughing at their interviewer because the doctor was having a senior moment. "He was about to tell me a story whereby I had to remember it at the end of the session" my friend said. However, pathetically, he forgot the story he was to tell. It was the same one he tells to all his potential patients he screens every day, all day long. "Don't worry", my friend said, "tell me a different one". But the doctor insisted he had to tell that particular story.

"He really took us by surprise", my friend said."Why, I wondered would management allow a doctor with this problem interview and screen potential patients. How could he help a memory deficient patient if he is as well?"

The doctor apologized again and told them he was diagnosed with a certain kind of dementia from sleep apnea. His wife discovered something was wrong when he was driving on the wrong side of the road with traffic coming from the opposite direction. She immediately sent him for tests.

"After explaining his problem we composed ourselves", she said. The doctor told the story he eventually remembered, followed by more questions and answers. The doctor went back to the story he told asking my friend some questions about it.She answered the best she could and thought she did a satisfactory report. However, he said she left out one thing. Therefore, the doctor recommended she go for further testing. "What about my husband?" she asked. "He was the one who came here in the first place? The doc said my husband tested fine. Perhaps in a year or two he can come back for another screening. But right now we are concentrating on you."

The head investigator came into the office introducing himself, to further explain to my friends her probable condition. He sat down at the doctors desk and explained the program. There is a good program sponsored by the drug companies to research and treat patients who are at the beginning stages of dementia. The drug companies pay for all the ex rays, cat scans, meds, everything. But my friend would have to make the commitment to follow through. He said it is not certain that she does have the beginning stages until all the tests are completed. However my friend might be a  good candidate to be accepted for the ex rays and more testing. If they found for sure, she does have dementia, then she would be admitted into a free drug trial program. She was assured that the drug given would not make her memory worse.However it most likely it will not reverse. The drug will stop further damage

"What can I say. I was devastated" my friend cried. The drive home was very quiet. She was thinking about all the times she failed to identify people's names, places, movies, etc. She always joked with friends about how she was such a quick thinker when she smoked years ago. When she quit decisions were difficult. Although people, friends, peers told her they thought she was bright, deep down she said she did not think so of herself. Just like the doctor pleading with us and reassuring us he was smart, he was a doctor, he went to school, he had books on his shelves. It is not about being stupid or smart and the doctor should have known that.

When she arrived home, I helped her research the clinic to the best of my knowledge, the drug company and the doctor. He is board certified and has written many papers.

Fear crept up on my friend that day. Fear of what will become of her and our friends who have memory problems as well. The good thing is that we have thus far seen good results with the drugs people are taking with the exception of our dear friend who passed away this year.

"I was sorry I laughed at the doctor," my friend said. "I should have shown more compassion. It was a learning lesson for me that day. People should never laugh at such a person, nor a person who stutters, a lame person who falls, anyone else who is having a difficult time. We reflect back to comedians on the stage imitating those people and making the audience laugh."I hope I wont be laughed at if........."

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1 comment:

what's my name said...

We laugh at but it is not funny especially when it happends to yourself.