University of Colorado Medical Center has a Neuro/Behavior Memory Disorders department. The wait was long for a new-patient appointment, but today I was able to move it up a month because someone canceled. I want to know what's wrong. Here are the 10 signs of Alzheimer's and examples of why I believe I have them. My husband agrees.
  1. MEMORY LOSS THAT DISRUPTS DAILY LIFE One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over & over, Increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members for things they used to handle alone.
    A Typical Age-Related Change: Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering later. I forget things just moments after I learn them. I use memory aids extensively. I have notes on the refrigerator, set alarms and timers for routine things, and repeat myself frequently. Sometimes my husband tells me, and sometimes I sense it from how people react to me. My husband has to help me remember important appointments & dates, a role reversal. Without alarms, I'd never take my medication.
  2. CHALLENGES IN PLANNING OR SOLVING PROBLEMS Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
    This describes me perfectly. I have given up cooking most meals because I am unable to follow recipes anymore. I omit or double the ingredients, get lost and confused while trying to make it, and feel overwhelmed by trying to do something I have done hundreds or even thousands of times before, such as making bacon and eggs. I have given up taking care of our finances after 35 years because I kept making mistakes, paying bills late, or losing track of them.
  3. DIFFICULTY COMPLETING FAMILIAR TASKS AT HOME OR AT WORK People with Alzheimer's find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. A Typical Age-Related Change: Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave.
    As with #2, I struggle with bills, recipes, reading, and even writing checks. I put the name where the dollar amount is written out, write the wrong date, or otherwise mess it up. I take twice as long to get dressed in the morning because I forget half my clothes, criss-cross steps, and even forget to brush my teeth at times. So I now overdo it by brushing them all the time because I am not certain that I took care of it. I used to be a whiz with Microsoft Office, and now it confuses me.
  4. CONFUSION WITH TIME OR PLACE People with Alzheimer's lose track of dates, seasons & the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. A Typical Age-Related Change: Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
    I mess up dates, days of the week, and years often, even if I knew an hour ago. I write the wrong month or year on checks. I made hotel and airline reservations for the wrong week. I forget when I last saw my own family. I have never not known where I am, but I have forgotten why or how we got there.
  5. TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING VISUAL IMAGES AND SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving. A Typical Age-Related Change: Vision changes related to cataracts.
    I don't know if I have this one. I have lots of trouble reading, but it's because I can't focus. I can't keep track of the characters and have to keep re-reading sections because I forgot what happened. My glasses don't work for close-up vision, mainly reading. I have had two eye exams and the doctors claim the prescription for my bifocal glasses is correct. I've always been clumsy, but now I trip over nothing. Literally, nothing is there!
  6. NEW PROBLEMS WITH WORDS IN SPEAKING OR WRITING People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation & have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name.
    A Typical Age-Related Change:Sometimes having trouble finding the right word. I do everything on this list. I am embarrassed by how often I get lost in a conversation. I can see how my friends and family feel uncomfortable with me. My husband gets frustrated by my repetition. I struggle to keep up if more than one person is involved in a conversation with me. I'm easily distracted. I interrupt people because I blurt things out for fear of forgetting. I call things by the wrong name.
  7. MISPLACING THINGS AND LOSING THE ABILITY TO RETRACE STEPS A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
    I sometimes make 2 or 3 trips retracing my steps before I remember why I came into a room, and often I never remember. Often I get distracted and get or do something else instead. I found my shower cap in with my socks, my empty tea cup by the washing machine instead of in the dishwasher, and the bread in the microwave. I get frustrated if my husband doesn't put things back exactly where I had them or I may never find them again. I seem to have misplaced 4 steak knives! Who does that?!?
  8. DECREASED OR POOR JUDGMENT People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. A Typical Age-Related Change: Making a bad decision once in a while.
    I'm embarrassed to say that I have slept in my clothes, and worn them through the next day as well, because I lacked the motivation to change them. I have waited up to 4 days between baths, and then took one and changed my clothes only because someone was coming over or I had a doctor appointment. I have gone all day without combing my hair. I always had meticulous hygiene and this is only recent. Also, things come from Amazon I don't remember ordering. But when I check, I did order it.
  9. WITHDRAWAL FROM WORK OR SOCIAL ACTIVITIES A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
    I hate to go out now. I say I want to go so I don't disappoint my husband, but I would rather just stay home. It's such an effort to carry on conversation and not get lost. I feel like I have nothing to contribute. I am so dependent and declining. I can sense people being uncomfortable with me, withdrawing from me, and often completely ignoring me as if I wasn't there. I don't want to scrapbook anymore, or go to baseball games. I turn down free trips with my brother to avoid the struggle.
  10. CHANGES IN MOOD AND PERSONALITY The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
    I am always upset these days. I don't know if I can keep up with others, and I worry about all the mistakes I make. I need so much help it's embarrassing. I sometimes feel like the only time I am not upset is when I am by myself or interacting on where people are kind and understanding. I feel like everyone in my life is impatient and frustrated with me. Even my husband is often angry with me and clearly overburdened caring for me. But he pretends he's fine with it.
  11. The Alzheimer's organization says if you have one of these 10, you should be evaluated. I have 9, possibly all 10! I made an appointment but they have a long wait. So my brain function keeps deteriorating, as I wait with a sense of urgency, because maybe they have meds that can slow the progression, or by some miracle maybe I don't have Alzheimer's
    At least I was able to move it up a month today. But I also wait with resignation, because I know how awful this disease is. My mother had 3 sisters. Two had early-onset Alzheimer's and died from the disease. My mother and her remaining sister also had Alzheimer's but not until their late 70s, and they had a different cause of death. I know 2 of her 4 brothers died from cancer, but she was estranged from the other 2. So yeah, this is scary and probably worse than my chronic pain and disability.
  12. I have been slowly losing my intellectual abilities for several years. I was on high doses of pain medication for about a year before I first noticed it, and then about another 6 months until I started slowly weaning myself of the pain medication. Currently I am on less than ⅓ the dose I was on then, yet my symptoms get worse, not better.
    I feel like my family members have buried their heads in the sand because I am not even 65 yet. However, two of my aunts had early-onset Alzheimer's, and one died before her 70th birthday. They all struggle to accept my disability, some even thinking I am exaggerating because I "look fine" to them. So I imagine Alzheimer's would be a tough pill for them to swallow. I am more accepting of it all than they are. My family treats me like I am a 5-year-old.
  13. I'd rather know. Then I can look to the future more accurately, knowing better what's ahead. I can see or do anything really important, say some good-byes on my terms, and plan my death. Heck, now that Colorado has approved assisted suicide, I might even check that out. I can get my affairs in order, as they say, while I am still lucid.
  14. Some people have suggested it's because I suffer from depression. However, my depression is better-controlled now than it has been for the last 55 years. I rarely think about suicide now (not including my above comment about considering it if I have serous hopeless condition).
    I saw a psychiatrist about 2½years ago, to see if I was a good candidate for a spinal stimulator. He increased my anti-depressives, and said given all that I had been through and lost, my depression was appropriate and so was my grief. After the increased dose, I was much lighter, happier, and and less dark. My depression has steadily improved since then, and it has been stable for the last year or so.
  15. Seeing an energy healer helped tremendously, too. She worked with me for two one-hour sessions and I could feel the bad juju of my past lifting.
  16. I know they have developed new treatments for Alzheimer's that delay its progression. If I have Alzheimer's, I want to try the medication. I don't want you to feel sorry for me. Oddly enough, I don't feel sorry for myself.
    I did feel sorry for myself after my failed back surgery, because I had been misdiagnosed for so long. The permanent nerve damage to my legs was because two specialists and two primary care physicians had made a mistake in diagnosis. My permanent leg weakness and pain might have been prevented. I felt as a nurse, I should have recognized the mistaken diagnosis. But I've come to accept now that I'm not a doctor, and it's not my fault four doctors overlooked the possibility of spinal stenosis.
  17. With Alzheimer's, I feel it's out of my control. Since there is no cure, there's no reason to concern myself about the outcome. If I have it, I am going to die from it (unless something else unexpected happens before hand). Maybe you can delay it, but that's it.
    It would be untrue to pretend I'm not concerned about it. Of course I am, or I wouldn't have written this list. I hope the medication is causing all this. It's just seems unlikely. Please don't feel any need to comfort me about it, because I'm actually OK. I just wanted to share it with people who won't keep telling me I'm wrong, or that I should forget about it.
  18. If you read this far, thank you for your perseverance and understanding. I needed to get this out and I am very appreciative if you listened. I am filled with gratitude and love for my friends on list. I don't know what I would do without you.
  19. I finally had my appointment with the Memory Disorder Clinic today. I DON'T HAVE ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE ‼️‼️‼️‼️
  20. I do have cognitive abnormalities, especially in the area of focus. But the cause is most likely a result of a combination of sleep deprivation, pain, medications, grieving the losses I have had, and the stress dealing with so many complex health problems, doctor visits, and tests.
    The report stated that my "brain is actually doing very well for all it is dealing with." The doc wrote in the report to stop beating myself up about my cognitive problems. He said I had accomplished so much by weaning myself down to 30% of the narcotics I had been on and by losing weight despite all my challenges that I should be proud of myself.
  21. The cognitive issues most likely won't get worse and may get better‼️‼️‼️‼️
  22. My prayers have been answered. I am so grateful right now I feel like I might burst! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼