I forget pain from one day to the next, which often comes in handy. It’s todays pain that’s uppermost in my mind. I’m sure that must be the same for others? How difficult it is then for a clinician to assess pain? To get the true picture and how much is guesswork? The other question of “when did it start” is always a good one to ask someone with dementia …..🙄
I realised and had this experience the other day. I had to go to a hospital appointment about my jaw. I’ve had pain down the side of my face radiating from my jaw for months – yes, I know, I should talk less – ha!
When he asked me about the pain, all I could think of was the pain now, at that moment in time. I couldn’t for sure remember whether the pain was worse or better that day than on others. But I’d been making notes for months. That’s how I knew, even though I couldn’t rely on my memory.
I take my notepad with me each time I go to an appointment. I can’t write very well but I can decipher my writing enough to read most of it. I write down word for word what I want to say, especially at the beginning, and then read it out so I don’t waffle and lose track of what I’m saying and why I’m there. My Gp is now used to this and will often write down the outcome on a separate page at the end of the appointment for me. That way, I’ve got something to tell my daughters if they’ve been working and havn’t been able to come with me.
So imagine what it must be like for those who don’t make notes? Who aren’t capable of remembering? Yes, we often go to appointments with family or friends who we rely on but how much of their knowledge is reality?
I can’t emphasise enough for writing stuff down like this as it happens. You never know when you might need it. It helps take away the stress of a medical appointment which is stressful enough already.
But then what happens when new medication is prescribed? Will this impact on a person with dementia differently and if so how?
Well I was prescribed tablets to take at night to reduce the nerve pain in my jaw. Easy you might say…….but I take all my other meds in a morning😳…..I live alone so how was I going to remember to take something new at night? That was where my new friend ‘Alexa’ came in useful. She tells me every evening at 8pm to take my new meds and even if I’m not in the same room or at home, the message still appears on my phone – result!
The Consultant I saw wisely allowed my Gp to decide which form of tablets to prescribe as she knows all the others I take and more importantly knows me. My major worry was that I was told they’d make me groggy in a morning😳🙈🤯……I’m groggy enough in a morning with dementia in tow without extra grog. So it was with great surprise that I awoke feeling fine the first morning. I’d even slept for 4 hours instead of the usual 2/3 – an added bonus!
But the following morning, either the tablets kicked in or dementia kicked me while I was down as I felt very disorientated and strange, a new strange, which makes me think it was the tablets.
So please think of this when new medication is prescribed for anyone with dementia. It may affect them in ways you’d never thought about and might explain a change in behaviour or routine. And remember to ask how long it will be before they take effect as mine will be a month or two, which I might forget……
Hopefully tomorrow will be a better start and my body will get used to having this tablet join the plethora of others in my routine at the mo……🙄