Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thin ice

I happily announced to the neurologist that we were planning a Greek cruise, a great adventure to celebrate our mutual retirements, our combined 80 plus years of hard work. A cruise to historic places for my old guy to enjoy his passion for history and foreign travel, and my need to be pampered...someone to cook and move us around from place to place. A perfect plan. He took off his glasses and got quiet for a moment. Then he said, "Get travel insurance. Get it now." This I did not expect. I thought maybe a social response like, "Good for you", or even an "Atta girl!" Perhaps some tips on what to expect and/or how to handle some things. But not that stern, direct command.
After he had referred us to a specialist on memory loss, I experienced that same strange sensation. As I asked questions, I caught the looks and slight glances among the specialist and her aides in the room. They all knew something I did not.
There is a ton of literature out on early memory loss. There appear to be lots of support groups available for early onset memory loss (the young). There are meetings to attend and lectures to learn from. There are handouts and social gatherings and internet sites. When this disease progresses to "moderate to severe", the support 'swarm' evaporates. You can call the 'hot line'. That's it. You can get "assisted living" information from them, for example.
It began to dawn on me what everyone was knowing that I was not. I was about to be dropped into a free fall of behaviors and responsibilities that I could not know about until I was there. Sort of like childbirth. No one actually tells you what it will be like or what to expect. Women all keep that information to themselves with knowing glances to each other at baby showers.
In memory clinics, the specialists look at each other that way.

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