Lately i have been reading Gwendy’s Final Task by Richard Chizmar and Stephen King. I became tired of violent crime novels and this book claims to be the final volume of a trilogy. Perfect I thought. Stephen can be wordy although I think he is a good story teller. And Maine is apparently a mess, Castle Rock anyway.
Gwendy the main character is losing her memory and is very aware of it. She maybe dealing with beginning Alzheimer’s or something like it. It is disturbing to her. I wonder if it is realistic to think that folks like Gwendy or Cheryl or others dealing with a chronic illness that destroys one memory are aware of it happening. It is a scary thing to Gwendy in the novel. She talks of how names just disappear from her head and the struggle she has to get the thought back.
There is a lot more to the story but Gwendy is actively hiding her memory issues. Initially she forgets names and her neurologist and psychiatrist doctor has taught her a little memory association technique that helps her through most situations. And Stephen King has a device in his story that works even better. I wish there was such a device for Cheryl. I wish the device did not require the ending that Stephen has worked out for Gwendy.
More and more I hunt for memory tricks to help her. It may be too late for many of those to be useful. Getting out of the car I repeat, “One hand on the door and one hand on the chair and you are out of there.” I have little knowledge of whether that’s working but more and more she reaches for the car door inner handle and puts her left hand on the seat back to propel herself up to a standing position. She often does not need me to repeat it.
Maybe that is helpful. Repetition and repeated talking about what to do makes a new connection in her brain. I often repeat the ABC song in my head to find alphabetical order. The sing-song about the months never stuck with me. So, the connection does not always happen.
Memory loss is discouraging to the care partner. Memory loss is mostly unknown to the parkie that has it. It shows up constantly. — Who put these papers here? Why is someone messing with my papers? Those little girls are always playing with my papers. I better put my papers in my office and close the door. Substitute any valid noun for papers. She puts on two pairs of socks because she forgot to take one pair off before putting a clean pair on.
It (memory loss) destroys any planning skills. The holiday season is next week we better start making cookies. I don’t know why they keep moving the months around. When I see the doctor next week I want to talk about my medicines. (It is a December appointment.) Sometimes anger appears because people keep changing things around.
Fortunately not all parkies experience this memory thing.