Thursday, 29 December 2011

Where do I go from here?

One of the worst things to lose with the diminished cognition of my messy scrambled eggs is my sense of direction. I have toured in the UK for years, decades and was always good at navigation. My parents or more likely my dad taught me and my siblings how to map read. When on holiday, we would sometimes be entrusted with choosing the route to go – straightforward or picture-skew (picturesque is not a particularly English sounding word and skew is sometimes how our routes took us).
Now I know my thalamus may be shrinking - but it seems harsh that I cannot remember the simplest of what-should-be-familiar routes. Driving back from our friends’ house on Christmas Day I had to ask MyMan which way to go, repeatedly. I use my satnav more than anyone should. Or is this a case of me just being more normal now? When I bemoan my faulty memory, a friend tells me that before I was exceptional – knew too much, remembered everything (not true) – and now I am just like a normal person. If only. Or rather, I am glad ‘normal’ people do not have to endure what I go through.
Today I saw my GP. She is excellent. Great communication skills. Thorough and dependable, except she works part-time so it can be tricky getting an appointment. Today we went through my 3 point list – moving from Oxybutynin patches to pills, looking at dosage of anti-depressants, and reviewing my Gapapentin in light of a new annoying symptom (stinging soles of the feet).
She knows I have to write things down. Without making me feel awkward or stupid, she jotted down our plan of action – it was ‘ours’ not ‘hers’. The progression steps for each drug. The way forward. Except… I look at the list now and cannot see what I am supposed to be doing with my anti-depressants. I made the next appointment (three weeks’ time) whilst at the surgery as my GP suggested so I wouldn’t forget. I know we are going to review how things are going with the changes. I went to the pharmacy with the prescription and have new Oxybutynin tablets and new dosage Citalopram meds. I have the plan for the Oxybutynin. I have the suggestion for changing Gabapentin. But where are the instructions for the anti-depressants? I hope I am right in thinking I just jump from 20mg to 30mg daily.
Sometimes going on a new journey can be exciting. I quite like driving and not deciding in advance which way to turn. Making it up as you go along. At least I always used to know whether I would need to turn right or left to get near to where I wanted to be.
Nowadays, I have no idea. Everything seems to have gone skew-whiff and it's not pretty. Where do I go from here?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The flowers that died

Please don't judge me too harshly. A few weeks ago, a man from Interflora rang my doorbell. Would I take in this elaborate bouquet of flowers, in a vase, for my neighbour who was out? I was reluctant but agreed. I knocked on the neighbours' door. I rang the neighbours' bell. Every day for a long time. Their curtains were drawn. Shouting Cat who lives with them was nowhere to be seen or heard. Eventually the flowers withered away and died. They had to be thrown away and still no sign of the neighbours.

Then, on Sunday, a card was put through my letterbox whilst I was out. A courier had tried to deliver a package to me. I have recently bought many things online rather than brave the shops. I am often out when someone tries to deliver. It's probably an unwritten rule that you will be out when that important package arrives. Even if you have sometimes stayed in on purpose to wait for the delivery.

I don't know if it is also an unwritten rule that the package will be delivered to the neighbours for whom you have taken in a package before. Even when it is a different courier delivering. But that is what happened to my package. Then, of course, when I got home and picked up the card and got over my surprise to have missed a delivery on a Sunday, the neighbours were not in. I knocked on the neighbours' door. I rang the neighbours' bell. Frequently. I needed that package it was not like unexpected flowers. This contained presents for other people.

I had nearly given up hope of receiving the goods in time. I should not have doubted. The lovely French neighbour knocked on my door quite late last night. She carried a huge box. Yes it was what I had been waiting for.

Now I have a very bad memory. I blame the lesions on my brain. I did not tell her about the flowers that died. At first I had genuinely forgotten. Then, after she had gone, I was embarrassed and did not go back to her front door and ring her bell. She however did come back to mine. She brandished a slightly dog-eared old delivery card. Did I know anything about these flowers? I had to admit the flowers had long since died and been thrown away. She was a bit regretful but not too sad. The flowers had not even been for her. They had been missaddressed to the people who used to live in her flat. She knows where these people live now but as I told her the flowers had died it was not a problem.

Now this is the bit where I am totally in the wrong. There had been a card with the flowers. More of a note really. It said nothing of importance. But it probably had a name of who the flowers were from. Just a first name. Or two. I don't remember. The tag is gone. It went in the recycling. I put it there. I could not give my French neighbour the card that had come with the flowers that died to pass on to the neighbours who have moved.

I had taken the recycling out. It had gone. Long gone. Now there is irony here. My French neighbour does not seem to do much recycling judging by the huge number of bulging bin bags from her flat that fill our shared bin store. If she had come round sooner I would still have the card even though the flowers had died. I only took the card recycling to the huge wheelie bins on our estate yesterday.

By the way, the sharp eyed amongst you may have noticed I said the flowers were in a vase. I still have the vase. Please don't judge me too harshly. It's just a glass vase.