Sunday, July 30, 2023


My husband was diagnosed with "mild cognitive impairment" over a year ago. Why did we go in for a diagnosis?  His mother had dementia in her last years.  He was forgetting more than usual.  Adding one plus one meant we should at the very least get a referral for a neurologist.  This is my first post about this challenge because I did not want my blog to be singularly focused on this new challenge and I really did not know what to write.

The neurologist ran a number of tests, completed an MRI, and had him do a sleep study at a sleep study center.  They then diagnosed "mild cognitive impairment."  We saw the neurologist on a monthly or bi-monthly basis until we realized that he usually sent his assistant, with her piles of disorganized papers on her lap, to ask us a bunch of the same questions and ask him to perform the same physical tests and then send us home.  We eventually realized it was just "data collection" on their end and they were not being honest about that.  So he now has a new doctor who at least is honest in not needing to see us very often---even though he is Chinese American and almost impossible to understand!  Hubby takes a medicine that is supposed to slow or arrest plaque development...but it is NOT the new medicine. 

Medical professionals will not tell you that:

    There is not much they can do.
    Everyone proceeds toward brain impairment at a different pace.
    Not everything is or leads to Alzheimer's.

And if, like my husband, you are still pretty functional, they really want to focus on those who are not.

 Symptoms of dementia depend on the type a person has, but they typically include: 
  • memory problems asking the same question repeatedly 
  • difficulty finding or understanding words 
  • feeling confused in an unfamiliar environment 
  • problems dealing with money and numbers 
  • anxiety and withdrawal 
  • difficulty planning and carrying out tasks 
  • mood changes 
  • personality and behavioral changes 
  • sleep disturbances 
  • changes in social awareness, such as making inappropriate jokes 
  • obsessive tendencies
Hubby once or three times a week asks the same question.  He has very mild difficulty finding words, but since he once had a huge vocabulary and completed a Ph.D., this is noticeable.  I usually do the ticket at the restaurant as he has difficulty with numbers.  He is a pleasant soul and like his mother will probably never have unusual anxiety or withdrawal or dramatic mood changes.  He sleeps like a log for about 10 hours, something I wish I could do.  He is only obsessive about keeping busy and running errands and he can still drive.  He has trouble with facial recognition when we are watching TV shows.

I dread the day when I will have to be the one to take him around to his projects and friends.  It will mean several hours out of every day.  But there are worse things to dread in life.

I mentioned to his Doctor that I was going to be on the lookout for paranoia (wondering if he was going to think I was hiding things!) when the doctor turned to me and said I had to worry about me being paranoid.  I had to realize that he was not pretending to forget stuff so that he did not have to do it.  And the doctor was correct!  It is hardest for me to be calm about stuff!  I am working on it.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

The Rest of the Trip

We managed to coordinate all of the activities which included our 53 -year-vow renewal, which also included my son-in-law's Birthday dinner. My daughter and son-in-law went out while we ate with the others. Activities also included my son's anniversary dinner for the two of them. 

We babysat for the anniversary dinner so that they could go to some lovely overpriced place and have quiet time.  And, of course, a fire dance Luau.  

That was some of the good stuff. I think my best breakfast was at Western Cafe in Honolulu which has a souffle pancake that melts in your mouth.
And there is (sadly) always room for the rest of the story. Our flight home was not without the passionate and unpredictable Madame Pele giving a shove off. Due to hubby's dementia, he had put down his backpack while we went through security, and as they allowed us through I did not see it in front of my suitcase. So when I went to pass through the final gate I tripped and fell face down over the bag and brought down my carryon beside me. He had just turned to make sure he had not forgotten anything, but it was too late for me. I was more embarrassed than anything as the young TSA agents helped me to my feet. We did go on ahead a bit stunned. As an afterthought, I was thankful that I had worn the compression stockings for the long flight back as the bruising and swelling on my knee and shin were greatly reduced and I had no trouble walking! 

But Madame Pele was not finished with me yet! As we boarded the plane a young man was having trouble fitting his carry-on in the overhead bin and I showed him a place behind me that had more room. As he turned to see the place his bag fell out of the overhead compartment where it was precariously balanced and hit me on the forehead pushing my glasses down my nose! It was a very mild hit considering! Needless to say, I only left my seat once to use the bathroom figuring I had pushed my luck as far as it would go.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Can You Accept What is Out of Your Control or Do You Just Bitch?

Yes, I have returned from my twelve-day jaunt to Oahu, Kauai, and Maui. If you recalled this was something that our children insisted upon when we had to cancel our original 50-year anniversary trip plans during the COVID year.  My husband and I were graduate students at the University of Hawaii and met there and married there.

As I have written, I was not excited or thrilled about his trip and it was mostly due to my pessimism toward projects when others have great expectations and for which there are lots of details.  There were so very many details in moving eleven people from island to island and making sure there were reservations when needed for restaurants, boats, or even helicopters.

So how did it go (?) you may ask.  Reasonably well I may answer considering all the moving parts.  It was not outstanding because there were a number of hiccups throughout.

The night before our arrival in Denver to change planes on the first leg of the journey, there were some serious thunderstorms across the mid-US which led to over 1,100 plane cancellations.  Some say this was the biggest mess of the travel season in the U.S.  No, our flights were not among the canceled, but it did mean the airport was filled to capacity with passengers trying to make new connections.  We were stuck on the lower floor of the airport where the shuttle trains broke down and could not run to bring people to their gates for at least 30-minute intervals.  Some were stuck in those shuttle trains shoulder to shoulder with the doors closed, while the rest of us stood outside waiting for the trains to move so a new train that was empty would appear and let us get on.

There was much shouting and cheering and when we finally caught our 6.5-hour flight to Honolulu I was exhausted.  We checked into our hotel on Waikiki Beach, walked around a bit, ate a light dinner, and then collapsed in our hotel room.  

When I got up the next morning, I was still tired and thinking it was jet lag, pushed myself to Mount Tantelus for a familiar view and a brief hike.  We did not rent a car and found ourselves Ubering everywhere.  Even with the limited cell service up Mount Tantalus, we were able to get an Uber back after a short hike through the forest.   We then visited our Alma Mater, the University of Hawaii.

I was surprised that my old Hall did not look the same and the library had changed quite a bit from over 50 years ago.  My husband could not visit his office building without a code so we peeked through the door and talked to some graduate students outside.  The trees on the campus were 50 years older and provided much-beloved shade while the footprint of the campus seemed smaller somehow ;-).

Hubby had gotten a blister on Oahu and we literally got lost at the gigantic Ala Moana Shopping Center looking for an athletic shoe store.  People must get lost there every day.  Terrible design, very few maps, and way too many stores for the rich people!

Two days later I was still not feeling better and took a COVID test, and sure enough, I had caught COVID, probably in Denver.

I was not coughing or sneezing, just tired and achy.  This is my second bout with this virus.  I started wearing a mask and did not cancel my flight to Kauai to meet up with my family.  I told them and they were disappointed both for me and also disappointed that I could not babysit the little one while the parents took a helicopter flight over the island.  My daughter took my place, but it was tough because the baby was cranky and jet-lagged.

Most of my time was spent in the hotel room and out of the lovely pools.  I did finally get a negative result and could re-enter the family at the same time that the baby got sick.  Perhaps with COVID, but we will never know as it was a 48-hour fever and then she was back to normal.  

We stayed in only the nicest places because it was a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.  Too bad I was hotel bound mostly.

In the middle of the trip when we took our vows on the beach and went out to a fancy dinner we were all well.  The vows were beautiful but the dinner was served 45 minutes late!  Another hiccup.

One of the evenings my crazy daughter thought we should visit the Food Truck park in Maui where dozens of vendors provide all kinds of food.  The food was delicious and varied, BUT as in ALL of the Hawaiian islands these days near tourist places, non-indigenous and very aggressive birds hang out to steal anything you may drop.  The picnic tables were covered in bird poop...COVERED!  I was the only one that seemed to be bothered.  Even at the fancy resort on Maui a nasty Myna attacked my infant granddaughter to eat some rice she had in her hand during our outdoor breakfast.  If you do not believe me about these invasives, go here!  Mynas do carry salmonella and bird flu.

Well, I must wind this down and perhaps will post some of the best parts of the trip in the future.  Yes, there are always good parts and we must focus on that.