In her third blog instalment Dianne Wilkinson, who was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 56, describes how she’s coping with a bit of a setback
Ok, I’ll admit it; I am growing extremely forgetful. I mislaid many things whilst on holiday with the family in Turkey, most of which we managed to laugh off, though I was quite worried when I couldn’t find my boarding card at the airport, then later lost my passport. The passport thankfully turned up but the boarding card didn’t, and the way I was spoken to by airport staff, who almost refused to let me board the plane, was very humiliating. Perhaps if I’d told the angry young women at the boarding gate that I had dementia she might not have been quite so rude, but I still find it difficult to tell someone I don’t know about my diagnosis. It might sound silly, but I’m afraid they’ll think I’m just making excuses…
Anyway, despite the bumpy beginning, our holiday in Turkey started really well. I soaked up the sun, conquered my fear of speedboats and enjoyed every moment with my two-year-old grandson Harry Then one afternoon I decided to pop out on my own. That’s when I tripped over and broke my wrist.
The pain was awful and all I could do was get myself back to the apartment and watch my arm swell up. When my daughter Amanda saw it she was really worried and called a doctor who confirmed it was broken. The rest of the holiday was spent coping with hospital trips, x-rays, a plaster cast and a stressed-out family trying to fathom what had gone so badly wrong, after all I’d only been on my own for a couple of hours. ‘I hope you weren’t wearing those ridiculous flip flops?’ my daughter Julie asked. Fortunately, I wasn’t. (The flip flops in question had been banned after I kept tripping over in them by the pool). Instead, I’d been wearing my ultra-sensible flat sandals which Julie herself had helped me chose (phew). But they still hadn’t stopped me falling.
After that, I couldn’t wait to get home from Turkey, but the road to recovery has been long and slow, and the fall does seem to have made me more forgetful, though that could be due to the stress. Two months later I’m still in a cast, hoping to get it off at the end of November. Since my right hand is totally out of action, I’m trying to write my ‘don’t forget’ lists with my left hand…and sometimes I can’t decipher what I’ve written!
But I have to carry on – what else can I do? I’m still going out for my walks and keeping busy, though normal life can be difficult when you can’t even wash a dirty cup (it takes two hands) or open a tin can (my 11-year-old grandson had to help me). In some ways, it’s like being diagnosed with dementia all over again and having to make adjustments to my life, though these ones, hopefully, will be temporary.
Fortunately, I’m a person who always tries to look on the bright side. I keep telling myself there are lots of people out there a lot worse off than me. After all, my fall could have been worse. Imagine if I’d been wearing those flip flops? Julie would never have forgiven me… Maybe I had a lucky escape after all!