"I'm beginning to notice the first signs of dementia."
- No, you're not.
"So you think I'm just imagining them ?"
Life is scary:
your body's awake but your mind is asleep
or three-quarters asleep
and you flounder in the sliding, slippery, flickering
blurry, inconsistent, incoherent dreamworld
where time is elastic and the connection
between cause and effect is lost, or at least vague.
You are on a kind of moving walkway
between past and present; images slide by,
you can't stop and look at them, you try
walking back, but you can't. You can't
run forward - you're too old.
You're trapped in your own little dreamworld,
and most of the time you are cold.
You can't recall where you put things,
and, while searching, drop other things
and forget what it was you were looking for...
and your eyesight is bleary,
your hearing's mashed up;
there's the continuous sound-track
of ear-worms and tinnitus (which
in French is called acouphènes).
But sometimes you feel more drunk than doolally.
As in dreams, bits of old memories bubble up,
pushing out or lying on top of
recent events which all slither and melt
to confusion. You cannot climb out,
and have no fixed motive to do so. You can go
to the toilet, put on your clothes, go to bed, but all the while
you're trying to make sense of what is happening
around you, even of where you are, because
you live only in an untidy, unbound scrapbook
of disconnected dreams of your past
punctuated by recent fuzzy and incoherent events.
As in dreams, nothing is what it seems
and your head is seething with stuff that you can't,
and no-one can, get out or banish.
You can't get out.
[On reading Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey,
which is not a good thing to read in your eightieth year.]
See also the notes written by my mother when she was suffering from dementia, here >