When Is It Time to Go to the Doctor?
Getting an Alzheimer's diagnosis isn't easy no matter what your age, but especially when you are under the age of 65. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't align my symptoms to early signs of Alzheimer's.
I was the director of a 2,000-seat performing arts center and it required working a lot of hours. On days we had a show, sixteen to eighteen hours was a normal working day. I had experienced problems at work but I shrugged it off as being stressed and tired.
Early symptoms of Alzheimer's
As I began to have problems at work, I started noticing things outside of work. I was forgetting things I didn't normally forget. I was getting confused very easily. I didn't want to leave the house other than to go to work. Simple things were no longer simple. A routine started to become significant to me.
Coming or going?
I remember one time when I stopped to fill my car up with gas. I looked at my analog watch and it was 7:00. I didn't know if it was 7:00 am or 7:00 pm. I didn't know if I was going to work or coming home from work. I didn't want to go into the gas station and ask them if it was morning or night. They would think I was a lunatic. I didn't want to go to work because I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be there or not.
I decided to go home
I thought that judging by my husband's response as to why I was home would give me my answer. He would either say, "Did you forget something?" or "Oh - you're home." I found out I was actually on my way home from work. Many people told me after that I needed to get a digital watch that showed me whether it was morning or night. But, I didn't want to change watches.
We figured that since my stopping at the gas station was out of my normal routine, it threw me off. So, from that point on, my husband would gas up my car so I didn't have to get out of my routine of just going to and from work.
How did I get here?
I finally decided that I needed to go to the doctor to see about all my problems when I had gotten somewhere and didn't know where I was or how I had gotten there. My husband and I had gone to a store and he said he was going to look at something while I was looking at some CDs. After a while, I looked up and nothing looked familiar and I didn't know where I was.
I walked outside to look at the store sign and still couldn't figure it out. I didn't know how I had arrived there. I couldn't remember coming with my husband. I went back into the store and I recognized my husband but I didn't say anything to him. I just followed him around like a little puppy dog not letting him out of my sight.
Realizing it is time to go to the doctor
Since I couldn't remember getting there, I didn't know what kind of car we were going to be going home in. So, I just kept following him. Eventually, we went to the parking lot and he drove home. I couldn't come to grips with what was happening and I didn't confide in him what had just happened. But, I now knew it was time to go to find out what was wrong.
What early symptoms of Alzheimer's lead you to the doctor? Tell us about your experience in the comments below, or share your story with the community.
Which, if any, of the following most often trigger agitation in your loved one living with Alzheimer's disease?