This is not something I would have thought I would be writing about, I witnessed it, worked with people dealing with it, but never somehow expected even with my dementia to have to deal with it myself.
I am talking about infections and the havoc they play on us and our bodies and particularly our brains. We always watched for signs of delirium and change in behaviours always checked for UTI’s as a probable cause. No I do not or did not have a UTI, but what I did experience over the last couple weeks taught me that we have to be much more aware of what any type of infection can do and the chaos in the brain, and with dementia it rears its head in ways that actually for the first time I can say I was actually afraid. I thought my dementia had suddenly taken off.
It started one day just trying to get onto my computer, couldn’t manage it, had to leave a meeting, could not understand what anyone was talking about. I could not find my words and although I do struggle to find the right words at times, this was different, I could not spell words either, and although I have trouble with letters and numbers being written down in the wrong sequence, I could at least still know the words I was trying to use, my anxiety trying to manage the simplest thing was through the roof, anxiety was not something that is normal for me, panic attacks, and a brain that I just could not understand what it was and was not doing. It is so hard to explain the effects and how it feels except that it is actually terrifying.
It was as though I was losing all aspects of reality. Finally on Friday I was put on antibiotics, for a sinus infection. Likely created by our recent poor air quality. Yikes, something I am going to have to really keep an eye on. I, also living alone realized how dangerous this could have ended up being for me, my sister used to check in so, that check in with her recent passing is no longer there, I am going to have to put other checks and balances in place now. It made me realize how dangerous it could be for someone on their own, and how a seemingly small infection could have dire effects for people. Time for another chat with my doctor, creating a list for myself so if I start to feel any signs or symptoms I can get help sooner, rather than having it escalate to the point it did before knowing something needed to be addressed. It’s hard because often we just think its one of our bad brain spells, or brain fog, that comes with Dementia so it’s easy for us to miss that something else is actually at play. Again learning curves.
Last night I was after a very restful and napped filled day able to go to a concert Jesse Cook Concert, the music soothed my brain, I could feel it relaxing as it absorbed the music, I cannot remember when I was last out in the late afternoon or evening, but being able to be lost in the music was wonderful. I listen to music a lot on a daily basis but and start my day with music and then meditation and exercising, but somehow this particular music was just what my brain needed.
I came home from the evening with my brain relaxed, it is true music can change the path your brain is on, mine was so overstressed from all the effects of the infection, and it was tired, it relaxed, I was able to go home, take my night medications and antibiotics and sleep really well. I woke this morning feeling like I have turned the corner. Part of keeping the anxiety at bay is learning and understanding what is happening and why. If it is the dementia learning to find ways to live with and adapt ways of doing things, if it is something else being able to access the help. Once again I can pick up and work on the joy of today.
Funny I have had bigger health events but this was the one that scared way more than any of the rest, because it overtook me without me being aware of it. So writing about it is to make others aware to watch for infections, if you feel off go and get checked out, don’t let it linger. Infections impact the brain whether you have dementia or not but adding dementia to the mix can truly create situations that none of us want. It truly makes me feel so deeply for those in care who end up with UTI’s and other infections and the effects that it causes them, and how frightening for them it truly is. It is true that we can truly never understand until we go through things, that I have learnt, so many lessons I have received since my diagnosis and one thing is people with dementia are always learning it seems.
So as we begin a new week I hope you all have a great week, I will be focusing on self care to complete recuperating and ridding my system of this infection and allowing my brain time to recalibrate.
I think we could all and should be taught more about the importance of music and the brain from very young ages. Funny how we seem to learn a little too late so often. Perhaps revamping our educations system is long overdue.
So as you go about the week, turn off the tv, turn up the music, and dance.