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The Dreaded Foggy Day With Dementia


Last week I woke on Wednesday to a dreaded foggy day. Luckily I used my faithful iPad to see me through it and amazingly type the experience, and here’s what I wrote… apparently. It might help some understand the foggy days of others, although obviously this is my experience, but it might help.

It’s strange, but even when I read it through straight, I remembered little, as though my fingers were on automatic, even taking photos… fascinating even for me to read.

The day started off fairly normally but I could sense things weren’t quite right, just couldn’t put my finger on it. I got up, had my shower first, as I always do… but then… I realized… the fog had descended.

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I’m typing this during the fog as I want to make sure it doesn’t snatch away my ability to type – my lifeline to the outside world. I’ve been typing daily throughout the Christmas period just to make sure.

I stare at my tablets on the kitchen side…

The added boxes at present sit beside my tablets box and I haven’t a clue what I can take when. My head is full of cold as well as dementia fog, my jaw pain is throbbing, my ear and eye are uncomfortable to say the least, awaiting a hospital appointment, but I haven’t a clue what tablets to take for what. I decide to stick to my ubiquitous daily box and just take them. Vague recollections of not taking the others together and not quite knowing what’s what.

Luckily I have no problem making my cuppa tea, a task done thankfully on automatic. My body takes over from my brain on automatic, thankfully.

My next routine is to switch on breakfast TV, but I look at the telly and the two remote controls and am flummoxed. I press buttons and a blank screen appears. I mustn’t give up as this is part of my routine. I press buttons on each and suddenly the picture comes to life… thankfully. I sit and stare out of the window, thankful for familiar surroundings of the trees, the birds, the squirrels going about their morning routine. I need routine.

I hate this time of year, between Boxing Day and normality resuming. I had a wonderful Christmas with my daughters but now the time is empty. This limbo of non-activity. No events, no meetings, no brain stimulation. I’d tried to prepare for it this year. Activities to fill the space. But the fog today is like no other year. It’s thick and heavier than past episodes. It’s frightening. I feel the need to stay indoors, stay where I know. So much confusion.

Breakfast TV ends, my signal to turn off the telly… but how? I finally make the screen go blank. Not sure how.

I live upstairs during the day. Cosy and warm. The view from my window of the tree top activity always a comforting sight. The familiar photos on my windowsill.

Normality in this confusing day but at least I can still type, a comfort in itself. My fingers are acting independently from my foggy brain, thankfully.

Reminders appear one by one on my iPad. A comforting memory of tasks to complete, but I simply delay them, not able to cope with any more brain activity than just sitting and waiting for the fog to clear.

My phone comes to life as both daughters text me. I respond briefly and they understand and know the state of play. Must be hard knowing they can’t help. The fog is a lonely place to sit and wait and only the fog clearing can help.

Five reminders stare at me on my iPad, but I don’t trust myself to do them. I’ll leave them until later. Emails appear in my inbox. I reply to one but then start to reply again and get confused so best leave them for later.

Head pounding, a combination of a cold and dementia – not good bedfellows.

After typing all this I look round my iPad for something familiar… the game of solitaire and so I start, hoping it will help the slow process of my brain coming back to life and the fog will clear soon… please.

Black Jack needs red 10…

At some point I must have fallen asleep, allowing my body to do battle with my brain. When I awoke, the room was dark. I felt dehydrated. My head was banging from the battle. Outside, there’s the familiar outline skeleton of the trees against the darkening sky, the clunk clicks of the radiator telling me the heating was now on and the soft sounds of the television playing next door. I don’t know how long I’d been asleep but I felt exhausted from the fight inside my head to win the battle against dementia. I was almost back… I think…

Now for the routine… a cuppa tea…

Black Jack needs red 10…

The fog lasted into the following morning, the longest episode I’d ever had. As I read back through this, it’s a strange feeling. I vaguely remember the beginning and I remember the end, but the middle is a mystery and as new to me as to you lovely people reading my words. All I’m certain of is I have to be alone during the fog in order to cope. Any more confusion and conversation would just make it worse… I think. Just thankful it didn’t hang around any longer.

This story originally appeared on Which Me Am I Today?

Getty photo by fcscafeine