It took until this morning whilst brushing my teeth for those tears to arrive – I mean what the hell?! Brushing my teeth!?
I have no idea why or what possible trigger set that off. It seemed to come from nowhere and continue on and off over the next few hours including at work in front of co-workers… I feel stupid. What has changed?! I knew this was coming in one form or another; it’s not shocking or unexpected.
A few people knew the appointment was yesterday and have kindly checked in to see how it went; saying he has “Young Onset Atypical Alzheimer’s” brings an interesting variety of responses but with one common theme; no one really knows what to say. What do you say to that? I’m not even sure what my response would be if someone said that to me now. “I know what you’re going through” would seem feasible and also predominantly untrue – what I’m learning is that everyone’s relationship to, experience, symptoms and understanding of Dementia is different.
No one believed me when I said something was wrong.
“It’s probably just stress”
“Maybe he just has a vitamin deficiency”
When I mentioned Dementia was being explored, I even had: “I very much doubt it’s anything like that, he’s too young”. Words I will never forget.
From family to Dad’s own GP, their lack of understanding delayed my fathers treatment. This perhaps is the most upsetting part of this story; had knowledge on the subject been more freely understood, we could have possibly delayed the crushing reality that (at the age of 61) my fathers ability to follow or contribute to conversations has already reduced predominately to pre-rehearsed platitudes.
It’s taken 9 months to get here. 9 months from the first GP appointment.
Since then we’ve had:
- Vitamin and blood tests (September)
- Return GP appointment to confirm “everything’s fine” (October)
- First appointment with the Memory Clinic including an hour and half of initial testing (December)
- Two follow ups with Memory clinic for 2.5 hours of neuropsychometric testing (January)
- MRI (January)
- Initial diagnosis meet at Memory clinic (March), now referred to PET Scan
- PET Scan (March)
- Final diagnosis appointment April 24th
- Treatment due to start May 1st
This is just too slow for a disease that progresses as the rate it does and only when the resulting diagnosis has been delivered, can potential treatment options even begin.