Thursday, July 24, 2008


I watched a movie called THE NOTEBOOK it is a wonderful love story and a story about Dementia. Dementia is similiar to Alzheimers, both affect the memory of a person. I began bawling as I watched this woman who did not recognize her husband and her children. It really hit home, I am petrified that at any time I could have the same thing happen to me. I do not have Dementia or Alzheimers, but at the same time I do. My severe brain damage has taken away all of my past...I do not have childhood memories, I do not remember raising my daughter (first step, recitals, awards, first date, even graduation)I do not remember any job I have ever had, I do not remember how DH and I met. Well the list just goes and goes.

Most times I deal with it with laughter, but at times like this week, it gets to me and I cry over and over, at the littlest things. My life begins anew off and on all the time. Because the damage is severe I have daily headaches that are fierce only controlled by Ibuprofin to keep them bearable. Once to twice a week I have Migranes that make me want to cut off my head until it is over. When my brain is overworked it shuts itself down to reboot and unscramble everything. This leads to blackouts and minor to severe seizures. I very often do not remember family, friends, things I have been doing, my life more or less.

That is a small explanation of why this movie had me bawling. I do have times like that...and what if as I grow older it gets to the point where I do not at any time recognize family. The pain that my family goes through is beyond words. They have to talk me back to the present now...Kevin has been telling me that I am trying to stop smoking (I do not know that) that Frankie does not live here, that Dawn is living in Washington with her own business and engaged, again it is so hard to explain what happens and how family deal with it. My father sent me this "story" in an email. I want to share it with you.

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an apointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctors appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health.

He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimers Disease.

As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised and asked him, "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?"

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is." I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, "That is the kind of love I want in my life."

True love is neither physical, nor romantic.

True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

With all the jokes and fun that are in e-mails, sometimes there is one that comes along that has an important messsage. This one I thought I could share with you.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

I hope that you share this with someone you care about.

"Live isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."

I hope that you will share this with someone, because you never know when someone may be dealing with memory loss, Dementia or Alzheimers. The person who has the "disease" is actually not the one stuggling to understand everything. It is the family and friends that need all the strength, love and support that you can give, they wake with it, deal with it throughout each day and fall asleep each night with it. Watch the movie, read up on some information and give someone a hug or extra smile .... you never know if they are going through something like this.

Thanks for letting me share this.


  1. Brenda, I am so sorry, I didn't know. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us. I've seen the movie "The Notebook" also. Please don't dwell on the thought that it could happen to you also. God works in very mysterious ways. Know that you write very well for someone that has had a "hiccup" in life. I think you dance in the rain very nicely. :)

  2. Sandra Ree,
    Thank you for your thoughts. I will not dwell on it for long, in a day or so I will have forgotten all about it. God spared the essentials of reading, writting and speaking. For that I am beyond grateful...I just do not remember the things I read, write or watch for very long.

  3. Hello Brenda, thank you so much for this - both my mother and my grandmother developed different forms of dementia and naturally I worry that it will come to me. However, I do crosswords, sudoku and quilting and counted stitch work, all of which can only help keep my brain exercised. You are amazing - I'm sure you have your 'down' days, but are so cheerful and positive in your blog and manage to achieve an enormous amount. You are so lucky to have such a loving and supportive family too.

  4. Thank you for sharing your personal trials. I can't begin to imagine how hard it is for you.

    One of my grandmothers had dementia and it was painful to visit her. I wouldn't with it or Alzheimer's or any disease or injury that injurs the brain on anyone.

  5. Brenda,
    I read this post yesterday, and could not come up with the words to express how I felt. You had told me some of this before, but I didn't realize that your memories keep disappearing. How absolutely frustrating that has to be. And what a very strong person you have to be to deal with all of this. I guess you deserve to have a good cry every now and then. But at heart you are a very upbeat positive person, and I love that is how you handle your problems most of the time.

    Yes you are working at quitting smoking. I’m still pulling for you, and know you will accomplish that goal when the time is right. You accomplish more than many people who are “normal”. I’m very honored to have you as a friend!!

  6. Thank you for sharing such an important part of your life. As everyone else has commented you are so upbeat and positive and I have enjoyed meeting you through blogland.
    I wish you didn't have such terrible headaches and migraines, they sound dreadful! Here's sending you lots of love and warm thoughts across many miles and seas! xka

  7. OK Brenda, this really made me start crying. I took care of my Dad for 11 month and two weeks while he had Dementia. I had taken care of my Mom with Ovarian Cancer until she died and then I inherited my Dad. I did have to put him in a nursing home but I still went to see him 3-4 times a week, sometimes every day. It was SO hard but I would do it all over again. You see, I am the only one he did not forget. He was always excited to see me even though his words did not always make sense. Bless you and Thank You for posting this. Hugs, Marsha

  8. I've seen the movie and it is so very sad. I appreciate every comment that is left on my blog .... after this, I will appreciate your comments even more so now. Thank you for sharing your problem and through all the ups and downs, keep smiling.

  9. Oh wow. We have more in common. My mother has a TBI and also has problems with her memory. She was in a car accident in 2001. It has been a long road she has numerous other problems because o the TBI. God Bless you and your family. Thankfully you have each other. I saw the notebook and read the book. I love Nicholas Sparks books. They are all very moving.

  10. Brenda, you are very brave to share this with us--thank you! I have saved the story you shared. It's beautiful and describes a married person living his vows. I hope I never have to pull it out to sustain me, but I will have it if I need it. Hugs to you!

  11. I wish you the strength, and courage, and love, and hope that you clearly do have within you -- to keep forging ahead. How wonderful and brave of you to have shared this. My heart goes out to you as does my deepest respect.