Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Dementia is a sad illness. There's this 80 years old man who is stuck in his 20's. He couldn't recognize his wife, daughter in law and grandson. In his mind he is still in 1940's, back when he was still living in the village with his now dead parents. There was a need to reconcile him with reality, so we brought him to the mirror. The person who looks back at him surprisingly has white hair and wrinkles on his face, and there's the tentative, "is that... me?" He touches his face, feels his hair. He couldn't recognize the ward staff, he didn't know where he was. He'd be walking in the garden, and then suddenly he realized he didn't know how to go back to his room. He couldn't remember what breakfast was. But when he said "I think they were family members, they brought me breakfast, but I forgot who they were, too many of them", it felt like a breakthrough, with a spirited fist in the air and a "BRILLIANT!" from the psychiatrist. At least he remembered something. He still remembers his name.