26th
Feb 2016

Big
step – great day.

Just
in case I have not mentioned before I am and have always been a very
stubborn, opinionated and independent person. I mention this here
because it is so relevant as to why I felt how I did about some
elements of today. Maybe my attitudes today are a benefit of the
personality changes going on within me or maybe they are borne out of
necessity, either way they are new and welcome. Enough waffle, on
with today….

I
set off on my pushbike a little earlier than I would usually risk
being on the roads as traffic and my random levels of attention span
are not a very good mix so I avoid early appointments when possible.
It was about 8.30, not early early but still heavy enough traffic to
make me very wary. I was on my way to pastures new for the first go
at a new walking group in a town I had only passed through on my bike
once before. I survived the few miles ride easily. The library where
we were to meet did not have anywhere to park bikes so I rode around
until I found somewhere, hoping I would find it again later. I am
here home now so success. The group and walk were wonderful but the
fact that there were suddenly about 30 new people in a small area all
around me was unsettling to start with and I kept fairly quiet. Once
outside and walking the throng spread and it was more comfortable.
The noise and large number of separate conversations that had been
going on in the library, felt a jumble and hard to concentrate on.
Every so often we stopped to allow stragglers to catch up and using
these opportunities I deliberately kept moving to new people to get a
variety of differing conversations. The walk may have been about 45
minutes but time flew. Back to the library and refreshments, more
talking, more noise, more confusion but I felt good.

It
was only midday so I had over an hour to kill before the really
daunting part of this week, my first ever visit to a dementia cafe.
Even now with only an hour to go, I was still having to work hard
persuading myself to go. Telling me it is the right thing to do.
Saying it is the best way to start trying to sort the million
questions bursting my feeble brain. The forum and people associated
with it are great but it is a very slow way of gaining information. I
know that I have many many questions but I do not know what they are
and struggle at times to form them. Getting an answer is wonderful
but sparks a whole host of further questions and I need a more
instant 2 way system. The chat room helps but is infrequent and
sparsely populated so the cafe it is. Convinced at last I rode about,
mostly up hill around here, to kill the hour and quiet my mind. It
helped a little but by the time I was about to walk in I was very
worked up and anxious. I was just about to take a step which would
mean me admitting publicly that I have a problem, I have dementia.
Only those on Talking Point, a few professionals and the very few
close people I have actually know. Crossing this thresh-hold was
probably more scary than posting the blog for the first time. Well
maybe not quite that scary LOL.

I
should not have worried. Right from the first second, literally, all
was absolutely brilliant and I cannot say big enough words to thanks
all those involved. Organisers, helpers, guest speakers, carers and
their carees, all were great and so warmly welcoming. The happiness
of the other dementia sufferers is a testament to the love and care
they are getting from those around them. I really had to fight back
tears of relief and joy. It was a truly wonderful 2 hours that passed
much too quickly and I gained lots of information and contacts and
learnt that sometimes although it may seem a carer is being rotten,
making someone do something for themselves is actually benefiting
them longer term. Even the ride home afterwards was a joy.

Not
to throw a cloud and darken a great day I must just mention 2 things
from today. A wonderful young woman from the fire service gave us a
talk about safety in the home and asked if we had fire alarms and do
we check them. Feeling pleased I told that I have and accidentally
tested it a couple of weeks ago by putting a tin of beans on to heat
then going to bed. The alarm, in its own particular language shouted,
get up you clown, the beans were done ages ago but at least now you
have a purpose for tomorrow – go shopping and buy a new saucepan.
This story also has a bit of advice attached that I also put in place
the following day. I now have a timer alarm in the kitchen to remind
me that the cooker/hob is on. I only have to remember to set it!!!
Also I do not always have an immediate answer to ‘what is that
noise?’, but it does the job of getting me into the kitchen.

I
would love to mention the names of some of the Alzheimer’s society
people involved today, but it would not be right without their
consent but if any of you do ever see this and remember meeting Wayne
for the first time, thank you, you may well have just changed my
life.

Catch
ya soon

Wayne
X

update
blog same day

it
is now much later in what has still been a great and lovely day. This
evening has topped it off with some wonderful reading, writing and
replies in the forums but that seems to have got to me in a weird
way. Maybe it is swings and roundabouts or maybe every silver lining
has a dark cloud but I am so very tearful this evening and for a ‘big
boys don’t cry’ upbringing survivor, this is hard to take. I think it
is because I now feel so very aware of the difference between good
day, ok day and bad day and having had such a good day I am angry at
what this disease so stealthily steals from me. Never mind, tomorrow
brings the chance of another good day.