1st
Weekend of May, 2016

Brilliant
sunny weekend.

Ok
peeps, back on track and hopefully no more sidetracks for a while at
least.

Friday,
and the wonderful group on the morning walk were happy to see me as
always. Yes, I do know that they are happy to see me and not just
putting on a brave face and/or being polite. They invite me to other
walks and other activities that they do, when there is no need to
invite me. This means that even given a way of avoiding me they avoid
the excuse and invite me. It really is uplifting to know that there
are so many people in this local area even more mad than I am! One of
the guys, to prove how much he can abide my company or to test his
tolerance, has offered to pick me up to go on a walk I am normally
unable to get at due to not driving. One of the other young lads that
I talk with whilst walking, has other mental issues to mine and
whilst we were walking across and then down a hillside, I was able to
talk and help him with his anxieties about gradients. This made me
feel good because it enabled me to be a helper/carer for a time (very
short time), a desire I seem unable to fulfil on TP as my
capabilities limit my usefulness to others when it comes to helping.
I promise (fingers crossed behind my back) this is the last time I
will have a snide dig about my help offers on TP being ignored.

After
the walk, I then walked half way home to connect with a bus. Still
not risking the bike until my ribs are properly fixed and not giving
me any more sleeping troubles. The afternoon was spent helping mate
Mike put up blinds and start painting walls. He seemed grateful for
my far less than professional banging, crashing, drilling, painting,
spilling & falling from ladder capabilities. In the evening I had
been asked to go with another walking buddy to a meditation event,
which I jumped at as I love group meditation. I did not know it was a
Hari Krishna meeting but survived and almost enjoyed myself. I did,
as Wayne would, ask a few rather pointed and leading questions, but
all was well. By the time we came out I had missed the last bus
connection from there and had to walk half way, again. At the bus
station I then found it would be almost an hour until my homeward bus
so I walked on home. Another 5 or so miles added to a busy day. Good
job I like walking and am beginning to wonder why I bothered getting
a bus pass only to walk everywhere. Idiot!

Fabulous
‘away day’ walk on Saturday. Once a month, some of the Saturday
afternoon walkers get together and travel further afield to join up
with a walking group from another part of Kent. Several times lately
they have tried to encourage me to go with them. It has taken me
nearly 2 months of getting to know the people on the Saturday
afternoon ‘local’ walk so that I could feel relaxed enough to go with
some of them and meet up with many other new people in a totally new
area many miles from home. It takes a long time to get over the
anxieties that build up with the idea of that ‘out of comfort zone’
concept. I am sort of trapped as I cannot just ‘go home’ as the area
is too far and unknown. Because of it being unknown turf, I have to
really trust that those I am with will rein me in or haul me back if
I go ‘remote’ and head off in a wrong direction. Just like the now
very trusted few that keep a watch over me on a Friday, I now have
the same security for Saturdays. When Dave is available I can drag
him along as my ‘watcher’ not ‘carer’ (I am currently still far too
stubborn and blinkered to allow the word ‘carer’) but he had a bowls
match and meal scheduled and was for some strange reason more
interested in that. I do not understand???? fresh air, countryside,
miles of trekking up and down hills in the hot sun, many more hours
of my company, and he chooses bowls? Strange!

As
can be seen in the Tumblr photos, the Kent countryside around Leeds
Castle is a wonderful place and really made for strolls in the
peaceful and beautiful surroundings with bluebells, rapeseed fields,
orchards, rolling hills, the odd (very odd) shady copse, country
lanes, friendly locals and quiet pubs. We walked the outer edge of
the castle grounds, not in or around the castle itself but I am sure
that would prove to be interesting and educational in the future.

Twice
on the walk, as I muscled in on other people’s conversations (this
is how I spend my time, hopping from group to group so that I get as
much social stimulation and challenge as I can muster), they would
hear something in what I have said during the chat and ask if I am
the young man with dementia. Once confirmed, they would ask if it was
ok to ask something about it and so my practice of speaking about the
lead up & day to day coping, goes on. People are becoming very
aware and wanting to understand more, which must be good for all of
us. There may be a particular link, as I am moving in circles of the
more mature section of today’s society and maybe it is just
something they as individuals are more aware of anyway.

Another
2 peeps on the walk, mentioned that they are following my blog
‘Adventures in Dementialand’ on Tumblr but not via the Talking Point
link. This also has to be good because it indicates that the word is
slowly getting outside of our TP world. With no need to do so, a
leader from one of the other walks has offered to pick me up and
drive me to some of the other more far-flung walks on Sundays that I
otherwise cannot get at. Not only is that great for Sundays but also
boosted my confidence about today as it again shows people are happy
to seek out my company rather than avoid me. Maybe I need to ram
dementia at them even more?

In
some ways this seems like a terrible thing to be saying but my life
now is better with dementia than I remember it being before. Not that
relying on an Alzheimer’s sufferer’s memory is such a good idea! As
the disease has and is changing my personality, I feel that a nicer
person by far is emerging. A far better ‘me’ than there was
before when I was self-centred, demanding, hungry for success, manic
about time keeping, expecting the best of and out of everyone and
everything. I required that everything be as it was supposed to be in
my eyes. Thankfully I now do not care and accept people and places
and things for exactly what and who they are. I love the warts and
all because that is how everyone now seems to take me. I am lucky and
honoured to come across so many wonderful people, meeting them in
person or via the website, by telephone or email. There are now so
many more finer people than I ever had before and it is all thanks to
getting cursed with the mixed dementia. This is not meant to be a
flippant or derogatory remark with regard to anyone else, but my life
has never felt so good and if the dementia is the price of happiness
for the rest of my life, I accept. What I obviously do not know is
how much things will change and therefore how big the price will be
but, because I now move in far better circles, I will be happy inside
even if I do not know it and it does not seem so from the outside.

To
emphasise this even more, I got a call soon after getting home and
was asked if I fancied being picked up early the next day (Sunday
morning) for an 8 mile walk up and down ‘Bluebell Hill’. Again an
unprompted request for my company. I definitely must be a nicer
person than I used to be! The call was from the wonderful friend,
wife of the Wednesday morning walk group leader, who took me out for
a country walk a couple of weeks ago. I wrote about it and her in a
previous blog where she seemed more intent on adventuring than
following well trodden paths. Despite this I accepted the invite for
me and included Dave as he will need a good long stroll after bowls
and food, ha! Another glorious morning and fantastic walk but wow! is
that hill steep on the way back to the car. A better plan would be
park at the bottom, climb up the hillside, meander the top and
surrounding area, go downwards after the long miles and along the
valley to the car. The only real ‘blot on the landscape’ is the
horrid, huge ‘paper’ factory that can be seen in this picture, but it
is due to be demolished. Boom! No more paper blot.

Just
to confirm how mad I am; after the walking I went downstairs to help
Mike finish his sitting room painting. Next time I will try and get
the odd bit of paint on the wall!

Sunday
evening proved to be rather frustrating; still fun with loads of
laughs, as Dave and I tried to utilise the internet cloud, my Windows
10 laptop using Open Office software, his Android tablet using Google
Docs and get a common file that we could both access and edit so that
he can proofread my typing. As I become less and less able I still
want to be ‘putting it out there’ and so Dave can help with that if
we can use the technology correctly. We are getting there, wherever
‘there’ is?

After
a shattering weekend where my ribs gave up trying to slow me down, I
decided that Monday should be rest day, complete rest day. I have
used the time to catch up on TP with a few posts and many, many
reads, type up my notes of the weekend ready for the next blog post
and to get myself mentally ready for the CST group Tuesday, and any
fallout that may occur following my storm out last Thursday. We will
see!

Hope
this journey was certainly a lot more pleasant than the last.

Wayne