Having dementia means I now have to push myself to do things, but recognise when I need to step back and say that’s just too much. Am now having some tests done for Angina, which has stunted my physical activity for the present. I just hate it when my body throws me a new problems to deal with.
This has been a long standing problem, and 16 months ago was diagnosed with asthma which may have been incorrect. I realise that I find it extremely difficult to explain symptoms when visiting my Doctor so have recently been taking my daughter with me. She tells me I give too much information which can confuse things because they may not be relevant. It is that difficulty, to sift out what should be said and what is not relevant that eludes me at present. I need to plan out what exactly I will say when I go to stop overloading my Dr with information!!
It is a help to take my daughter though because my Doctor keeps asking “how long..” and I have to answer, “I can’t tell you because my sense of time has completely gone”. Still he asks that question, so my daughter steps in and says what she knows. So, it is a lot less stressful to have someone who is close to you at an appointment.
Being able to be concise is something that gets more difficult with dementia, and not being able to describe something is a real problem. Think about when you have a pain, how does it hurt? ache; sharp; sore….it can be more difficult to describe when you have dementia.
Also, I may have a pain but unless the Doctor asks me if I have a pain, I have a tendency not to say. Why? I don’t know, I just don’t. My ability to offer the relevant information is sometimes lacking.
I think one problem is that I hate going to the GP Surgery. I really don’t like having to take medication, although I will if I have to. So when I do go, I may have a couple of things that have been niggling me a while and Doctors these days only like you to talk about one thing during one appointment. The way my mind works is that most ‘illnesses’ have more than one symptom so if you can’t give a list of symptoms how can a doctor diagnose you correctly? I get breathless, my inhalers don’t work, when I get breathless I keep losing my voice totally. It sort of feels uncomfortable in my chest/neck/throat. My Dr tells me that he will deal with my loss of voice another time but what if it is connected. What if I think that I can no longer tell them all of my symptoms because I think that it is too many? I have fibromyalgia I am always in pain, so won’t say that I also have pain. I get pain in my arms, my shoulders, even across my chest so I am now confused as to what pain belongs to what.
With my dementia I am beginning to feel I should make allowances for others not understanding the intricacies of my behaviour and speech, but actually I realise that I’m wrong, it is not me who should make allowances it is others who take these things into account.
Of course Doctors are trained to talk to people with dementia aren’t they? Sadly it seems a many need training. All the staff in Medical Centres should become Dementia Friends; have training. What is missed or misdiagnosed I wonder because someone with Dementia cannot tell you or explain if they are feeling unwell? Having said that, I know that there are some superb Medical Centres/Surgeries. Doctors and nurses around, but not in every areas of the country.