I am writing this to let you know that I am fine.
I know you were worried about me.
I saw you reading my notes and
Looking over at me and
Wondering about me and
What you would say and
Whether I would understand and
Whether I would remember what you told me.
I have got a dementia diagnosis.
I am living with dementia
And a few other things…
But I am George.
So you think…
How shall I put this?
How can I explain these exercises so he will understand.
Will he remember?
(Is there any point?)
You have another look at my notes and
Another look over at me.
I drink my tea and chew my sandwich
Waiting for my discharge letter and pills.
A while later I have got all these and you can’t put it off any longer.
You look at my notes again and
Across at me.
I know what you are thinking.
I know you are wondering…
Let’s get started.
You sit down beside me.
Right height…well done.
You introduce yourself…well done.
You look at my eyes…well done.
And you start.
And that’s where it all goes horribly wrong.
What’s my name? Why can’t you use it?
You explain that I will be getting an appointment, etc… fine.
You then go through the exercises.
Well that’s ok, and I am trying to fix it all in my memory.
But I can’t.
Because I am thinking…
Why are you so blooming patronising
Treating me like a retard
Like I am incapable of understanding anything said faster than one word per second?
Why are you not connecting with me?
Talking to ME
Am I not a man?
Do I not bleed?
Do I not cry?
And so it goes on…
And I am somewhere else, looking on
And I too am wondering
Are you always like this or
Is this an act put on for me?
And I conclude its because
I am demented and retarded and cannot possibly follow a conversation.
I am a label.
Which reminds me of Kate Swaffer’s excellent blog that I re-blogged the other day.
Please please please
You clinicians, care professionals, everyone
Talk to me as a person.
Find out who I am, before you make assumptions.
Don’t make assumptions.
And in return
I promise I will not assume that all of you
Change the paradigm.
Dementia is not me.
I am not dementia.
I am not hypertension.
I am not diabetes.
I am not sleep apnoea.
These are just things I live with.
And I live pretty well with them all.
I just need you to know that I have these conditions so you can understand me better and help me to live well.
Not so you can write me off.