Friday, March 02, 2007

Caregiving: anxiety slithers

While Multiple Sclerosis cognitive challenges “affect” Patti …


As a caregiver there are times anxiety slithers across whatever I’m doing. What ifs, derailed dreams, and future fears ricochet about like pin balls. Sometimes it is easier or more bewildering to get under control.


I always need to remind myself to be careful not to view interactions with Patti from an able bodied / able minded perspective. Since like most caregivers I walk in both worlds sometimes the switch can get stuck.


Engage on whatever level is available. …  Avoid words/concepts such as disappear, loss, etc. Whatever challenges memory and cognitive impairment may present they are really challenges primarily to me on the outside looking in.


Humor is simple yet potent. The cognitive processing of humor involves so many parts of the brain it may be the best of possible ‘mental work outs’. Plus this is the USA; culturally we are not a people of sophisticated or complicated humor. Anyone can be funny enough. Don’t let your own frustrations or intimidations with someone else’s health prevent you from trying.


Reality will always be waiting for you.  


“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”    Mark Twain


  1. I cannot read your entries about Patti's cognitive challenges without relating immediately to the cognitive challenges I face with my students in grades 1,2, 3, and 5. Sometimes you describe your responses and thoughts to these challenges in ways that hit home to me as an EC teacher. My anxieties do not stem from anything so personal as what ifs, derailed dreams, and future fears for myself or my family, but I do have anxieties related to the futures of the kids I now teach. What you wrote today certainly hit home... "Engage on whatever level is available... avoid words/concepts such as..." (in my situation) failure, impossible, dumb, even disability. "Whatever challenges memory and cognitive impairment may present, they are really challenges to me on the outside looking in." Yep, I know what you mean... it is the same for me... as their teacher, I am on the outside looking in. Trying to understand how they relate to the lesson, to the idea, the concept, the skill.  You are so right about humor being simple... even the toughest of my kids have a sense of humor. Sometimes I have to see the humor from their point of view. Other times, I know they understand something simply because they have laughed at the right time. You connect me to my students, Patrick! I am enlightened when I read your journal. Thank you! Bea

  2. have a good weekend:) i agree Laughter is the best medicine:)


  3. Thank you for quoting Mr. Clemmons, Patrick.  And for the good advice.  I think in dealing with so many vagaries, the caregiver can always look to his patients and think, it's not how far they've come, it's how far they've come from where they were.  Bless your generous heart!

  4. Thanks Patrick.... I needed to read this tonight...

  5. I can actually relate to this entry. It's been about 2 weeks now, and I noticed it. A few days ago, my physical therapist was here and had to take another assement. Of course the usual questions, and one being about my cognative alertness. My daughter was sitting there and said that it isn't very good anymore. I've also noticed that I stutter more as well. That was a big wake up call for me. If she sees it too, then so can every one else. :o( It gets so frustrating.

  6. ((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU()))))))))))))))))))I like what you had to say in this entry,I know you go througgh alot,but I see so much love you have fr Patti.Have a nice weekend.

  7. .......I am just learning how to make Mother laugh, it is good for both of us!


Blog Archive