So, I travelled to London to stay with my daughter for Christmas. A one hour journey with one change which went well I got to Euston fine. No sweat. Next – two tube journeys to meet my daughter.
No problem eh? First tube was ok, I started to feel a bit anxious but the instructions were clear, get the Victoria line Northbound. Just follow the signs.. and yes I got on the right underground train. I alighted at Highbury and Islington and had to get on the overground to New Cross Gate. I couldn’t see the map on the top of the wall to see where we were, and started to worry that I was on the wrong train. What if I was on a train going in the opposite direction? My anxiety levels started to increase. I was no longer sure about what train I was on. This should be so easy, I have the directions on my phone as a list. But can I be sure the list and the train I am on is the same? The feeling of anxiety is heightened even though I am trying hard to convince myself to calm down; I am on the correct train.
Once upon a time I would take all this in my stride, no stress, on the wrong train – no problem just get on another tube in the right direction. Sadly now that is a harder option because I am no longer confident in trying to sort out where I need to be.
I am well aware that I am at a very High End Functioning end of Alzheimers/Dementia – thank goodness. Keep going like this for as long as I can.
Anyway, I got there fine and we had a very nice time, nothing special, nothing racy, just quiet and normal. We cooked a wonderful dinner together, we watched Disney films: Frozen, Brave etc.. lovely!
And then……we just remained cosy and normal for Christmas days. Eating, drinking (not too much) watching TV, chilling, sleeping..etc, just the relaxing time you would want for the holiday period.
Journey back: just hell
No trains back from Euston. Various routes: but mainly from Marylebone – via Banbury/etc etc.. I had negotiate my ticket on the train because I was not on the Midland Mainline. I had a change at Birmingham Moor Street with a walk to Birmingham New Street. Sorry but I could not contemplate trying to find my way to New Street Station so i called Mr Hsg and he picked me up from Moor Street Station.
Phew, anxiety breakdown averted. I feel so good that I did it.
I used to be able to go anywhere without much trouble, if there were challenges to work out the route – no problem. Just find the destination and work it out. These days I plan, I write out the plan, I get anxious that the plan is not working. But, right now I can make it.
When you think of someone making a simple journey difficult, think hard.
A simple bus journey that you and they have always done, suddenly becomes the most complicated journey ever. Don’t expect a person with Dementia to be able to negotiate a simple journey like they used to. Written instructions may have no meaning, memories of the journey may be lost. Do not assume that because they did the journey before, they can do it again.
Fortunately, I am still at a stage where I can phone people who I know can help me when I get confused. But the time will come when I am no longer able to make that simple train journey on my own,
Before you assume your loved one can travel the same as they have always travelled, ask them if they still feel able to do so in the same way. Do they feel confident? Has anyone written out their route for them? Is there anyone who can meet them?
When I can no longer travel alone, who will be willing to accompany me to where I want to go?
These are the things that need to be thought of in Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.