An amazing birthday celebration
I'm sure that we all think of a diagnosis of dementia to an important person in our lives as the end of everything. I certainly did. It's now 10 months since we were given the awful news and sent on our way. We sat in silence through the journey home and tried to work out what to do next. I've said only recently that with the diagnosis come a vision of Ash sitting in a corner unable to communicate with the outside world but I really have discovered that, in our case at least, this really doesn't have to be the truth. Elsewhere in this blog is a list of the strategies I've put in place and the daily posts have noted the ups and downs of our lives since last December but I am here to tell you that this weekend I have had one of my best birthdays ever. On Thursday evening we went out for a meal with newly discovered friends where Ash not only joined in conversation but even started new topics, telling stories that made us all laugh; yesterday, which was the actual day, he not only remembered it was my birthday but managed to get up before I woke, made a cup of tea (something he hasn't been able to do for months) and brought it up to bed with a present for me; today he drove for two hours so that we could meet up with family for breakfast in a posh hotel, then a chatty two mile walk through the pine woods, a cup of coffee and a spot of people watching then back to the car and a two hour drive home. This time last year very little of that would have happened. He wouldn't have managed the meal out, I wouldn't have had the cup of tea in bed on my birthday and, even though he would have done the driving, the walk would have been done in silence regardless of the fact that we were with other people. We obviously haven't reversed the dementia but if you are in a situation similar to the one we were in all those months ago I would like you to know that you shouldn't assume the worst. I realise this won't work for everyone but my experience really has shown that it's worth using strategies, worth watching to see which ones work and worth noting what makes a difference before you assume the worst. Why not buy the book (Contented Dementia by Oliver James) give it a go and see what happens?