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Friday, November 5, 2010

Bad Days - Darkness

 Bad days. Searching for a light in the darkness surrounding a collage of dim images.

I see a few isolated lights and dim images of memory.

I have not written much about having bad days. Dark days! I frequently say that some days are better than others. Some days I have Cotton In My Lime Jell-O. Sometimes I write about having some especially good days. Bad days are another matter. I noticed that I do not write about them very often.

It isn't that bad days do not occur, or that I do not want to write about my bad days. Bad days are a part of my life. The problem is that when I have what I consider a really bad day I usually don't remember much of it afterward. Here is an example, but I truly do not remember a whole lot of details.

In this particular instance I believe that this series of what I consider really bad days is linked to an interaction with my medications and an antihistamine. I can have a bad day, or a few, because of stress, or for no apparent reason at all. This past week was extreme.

Monday started out normal enough. I had a routine appointment to see my neurologist. Everything went well, and I stopped by the drug store to drop off my prescriptions. When I went back to pick them up I realized I must have been a little confused, and I had only refilled half of them. It was not a problem, and I just told them what I still needed to be refilled, and that I would pick them up the next day. This in itself is not all that unusual. I was just a little confused, and out of sequence.

That is almost all I can remember until Friday. Missing time! Lots of Missing time.

I did not pick up my prescriptions on Tuesday. I hibernated. I remember I had company for dinner on Tuesday. I do not remember anything else about it. I have no memory of what we ate, or where. I am told we had a nice dinner, and watched some television.

All I remember about Wednesday is that I phoned a friend late in the afternoon to say I would not be attending a dinner we had planned because I was having a really bad week. I was well aware that something was wrong, and just wanted to stay at home. Other than that I did not talk to anyone on the phone. I did not text, or even email. I was a hermit. I picked up my prescriptions, and did a little grocery shopping, but I have no memory of doing either. I know I did because my prescriptions are here along with the groceries.

On Thursday I napped, and watched television. Mostly I slept or napped for about seventeen hours. I don't remember much.

On Friday I started to feel better. I had figured out it was the medication, and had stopped taking the antihistamines. By Saturday I was back to what passes for "normal". (I am not sure if "normal" is the right word to describe someone with Frontotemporal Dementia - bvFTD - Pick's Disease - FTD... actually I mean "normal for me". I have never been or wanted to be normal. That would be mundane.)

Over a period of four days that is about all I remember. When I try to look back on this period of time all I see is a blackness with a few isolated memories. There is nothing much there. There are a few little glimpses of things, but nothing of any substance. It is all a blank. Missing time.

Here are some things I have put together afterward. On Tuesday when my friend arrived for dinner, the first words out of her mouth were, "You're having a bad day, aren't you?" This was after just seeing me for about 10 seconds. This was before we had even said anything more than "hello". When I asked, she could not pinpoint what it was that made her so certain something was wrong. Something in my posture? Intuition?

When talking about dinner Tuesday evening in retrospect, my friend said I seemed just fine. I did not seem confused, and I acted normally... well, now you know what I mean - normal for me. I hear that a lot. I have also read comments from others with Ftrontotemporal Dementia or their caregivers that neighbors and acquaintances do not notice anything is wrong - sometimes even when the person requires constant care. I think this may be the subject of a future post as it happens to me frequently.

Even though I was having a really bad few days, I still managed to do what I needed to do. My routines, lists, and reminders worked as they are meant to. I fed Kroozer, and he is a fat and happy lil skunk. I cooked my meals, and kept the house reasonably clean. I did everything I needed to do. The problem is that I do not remember much about doing any of it.

My method of coping was to isolate myself, and eliminate as much stress as I could. I did not answer my phone, and I did not make any phone calls - not even to family and friends closest to me. I did not write, or answer any emails. I only went out of the house when I absolutely needed to. I didn't go anywhere, see anyone, talk to anyone, or do much of anything. I simply cut out all of the extras, and I concentrated on the essentials. Part of this was not by choice. It was nearly impossible to overcome the resistance to making a phone call, or going out. It worried my friends, but it worked for me. I got through the bad days as best I know how.

The last vestige of the dark days - I hope. Yesterday I was doing my laundry according to my schedule. When I opened the washer, there was a load of washed clothes still in it. I could tell from what was there that I had washed them on Monday or Tuesday. I have no memory whatsoever of washing them. None!

Some days are better than others. I have good days, and I have bad days. A few days last week were not so very good. So far today seems to be a good day. I will take the good days whenever I can get them.

Comments are welcome.


  1. Lee, everything you are mentioning in the "Bad Days" blog is what happens with me. Good days and bad days! Days go by that I don't remember what went on much. This weekend my wife was in Myrtle Beach for a few days and I thought I would get some laundry done. Well the wash cloths ended up in the refridgator! Now, that's pretty funny, at least they were clean....Us guys with FTD should never do laundry...


  2. Thanks for the comment Kevin.

    Cool clothes! That is a hoot! I find myself laughing a lot when I find things in "odd" places, and have no idea how they could possibly have gotten there. I just blame Kroozer!

    I figure it is a good day if I remember to put the laundry in the dryer before it gets moldy - or to remember to bring it upstairs. I have a load in there right now that has been sitting for almost a week. I think it is probably dry by now! Of course if I wait until I need to do the next load it will save me a trip to the basement.

    Yup! Us guys are laundry-impaired.