Thursday, June 4, 2009

Are you a sundowner?

I am only 58 years old. I used to stay up to all hours of the night. My mind would stay sharp and alert with 3-4 hours of sleep a day. Recently, about 18 months into my diagnosis of Dementia, I find myself dead tired by 7:30 or 8:00 PM. I find that I have difficulty forming sentences, and finding words. My thoughts are jumbled, and my speech many times is incoherent. At that time, I do what any smart person would do. I go to bed.

I find that I can easily go to sleep in 15 minutes or less and stay asleep until 8:00 AM unless that terrible invention, the alarm clock wakes me up. While it take about an hour in the morning for my mind to function fully, after that I am mentally relatively good until the next evening.

While this upset me in the beginning, I am starting to enjoy the new pattern. It helps me manage the Dementia and keeps me rested so that I am ready for the next day's activities. It does have an impact of family members who come to visit. But they just have to understand that this is the way my life is right now.

Another sleep issue is dreaming. I first started taking Arecept for my Dementia. It caused me to have vivid, color, 3-dimensional dreams. Not nightmares. More like my life's stories. I told my wife it was like the cable for the television was plugged in my head. My doctor, who is a great care giver, changed my medication to Razadyne. The dreams still occur, all night, but are not as vivid. In addition to the Razadyne, I also take Namenda. While these drugs are advertised to slow the progress of Dementia, I notice the downward slide I am on.

While I am on the topic of the downward slide. Nothing aggravates me more than someone who tells me, "You seem perfectly normal." or, "There's nothing wrong with you." I guess to them if I have Dementia, I should be drooling on my shirt and pissing in my pants. Well, hang around, That's coming!! The truth is, no one but me, and to a certain extent, my wife of 36+ years knows where I was mentally, and where I am now. They do not know the frustration of forgetting how to read, getting lost driving home from work, or not being able to speak you mind. Yes, I know that some of them are just being nice, considerate, caring. Well stop! It does not benefit me and it really make me angry.

I wonder if anyone else has these issues. Let me know.

1 comment:

  1. I am amazed that people would make the comment "There's nothing wrong with you" to anyone. How would they know - not everyone who is sick looks sick. It used to annoy Lou when people say, "You look good - you must be feeling better" Now he just smiles and says "Thank you"! Its too exhausting to differ with them, and they want to believe what they're saying, so let them!