I spent several hours this past Friday trying to write about the personal implications of the two studies I’d posted about in the previous ten days. One follows people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who revert to normal and are then likely at some point to revert back again to MCI or dementia. The other follows people with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) who are also quite likely to progress to deeper cognitive impairment. Since I am a little further on than the people in the either study, my idea in writing last Friday was to show that my chances of progressing to greater impairment were even greater than the folks in the studies and to ruminate about how that has left me feeling.
As I was writing, however, I wanted to check a link I’d used in the post on people with MCI. While looking for it, I was dismayed to discover that what I had written over several hours last Friday was almost exactly what I’d written at the end of the post on the MCI study. That had been only ten days before and I’d spent a lot of time on it. But now I’d forgotten that completely. Oh dear!
This is the kind of event that indicates to me how much I’ve declined. Yet I find myself hesitant to write about it here. First, I’ve written so much about my memory impairment that I wonder about the value of the repetition. Second, whenever I talk to others about memory issues like this, I almost always get the same response, “Yeah, I know just what you mean. It happens to me all the time. Why, just the other day, I was ….” Although I don’t actually say it out loud, what I feel like saying is, “Well it may normal for you, but it wasn’t normal for me.” Third, it feels as if I’m being defensive in insisting on my impairment in the face of the normal neuropsych exam in August. Several people have written in essence: “Why don’t you just get on with your life instead of concentrating on the negative? You seem pretty attached to your diagnosis. Get over it.”
When I think more deeply about my hesitancy, I realize the flaws in my thinking. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle the course of my impairment. So whatever happens is part of the story, even when I go on and on about my complaints. I’m not a good judge of what will be meaningful for others. My principle behind writing for the past year and a half has been that if I’m interested in a topic, then I write about it. Whether it’s helpful to others or not, they will have to decide. Further, I’m sure that my situation is not unique. Others are certainly going through similar confusion, and my telling my story, however boring I think it may be for others, may be of interest, perhaps even of help, to those people.
But these deeper thoughts justifying my writing don’t much change my emotional reaction, which is to question the value of what I do. I’m not really fishing for reassurance; I just want you to know.