Monday, October 6, 2008

Let's Face It

A lady came in for an evaluation of her speech after having had a stroke several years ago. She sounded pretty good to me, but in getting some background information she mentioned her "dementia" several times. A lot of people call word finding problems or slight memory issues, like forgetting where you put your car keys "dementia" but don't really mean it. Part of the reason she wanted to come for speech therapy when she never had before was that she was afraid she was going to lose ground. The third time she said it, I said:

Me: "Who told you you have dementia?"

Her: "No one, I saw it written in my medical record in 2006."

Me: (thinking of Elaine's diagnosis of "difficult") "What did it say?"

Her: "It was just written there -- it was abbreviated as D-M-two. That must be the kind of have."

Me: "Do you have sugar trouble?"

Her: "Yes, but I don't need to take medication for it."

Me: "Let's call your doctor, but DM2 is usually short hand for diabetes, not dementia".

Her: (crying) "You're kidding me. I might not have dementia? I guess I should have asked someone earlier."

She carried around 2 years of waiting for the axe to drop because she had never asked her doctor about a diagnosis that just the very idea of was greatly impacting her life. She said she "went into denial and just didn't want to know".

I get that. I very much have a head-in-the-sand part of my make-up. I remember reading a book several years ago (the first of the uber-girly Shopaholic series) and thinking, "Yea! Someone else does it too!" when then protagonist dropped her credit card bills unopened in a drawer because she knew she couldn't pay them. My mom has told me that as a little one I would cover my ears and say "Don't tell me that!".

I'm starting to see, in big ways and small, that John Mayer's advice of say what you need to say is more than just catchy, even if your hands are shaking and your faith is broken.

I don't know where this picture is originally from, but I found it here.

No comments: