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Recently diagnosed with Dementia - Caused or Triggered by COVID-19
Posted: Monday, November 2, 2020 4:31 PM
Joined: 12/24/2018
Posts: 12

Hi folks,

I was diagnosed with Dementia five weeks ago (9/28/20) by a neurologist and memory disorders specialist at the Duke University School of Medicine. It wasn't an unexpected diagnosis. I had suspected as much after having a couple of amnesia-like episodes. I was driving to meet up with my wife and daughter, when I realized I had been driving for a while. I had no idea where I was going and couldn't remember how to drive home. It was a pretty scary situation. Fortunately, I had my cell phone with me and used the previous call list to find my wife's number. I had pulled into a store parking lot and told her the name of the store so they could come get me.

I week or so later, I had driven a short distance to visit a friend. I used a phone app to drive to meet him and was going to use it to get home. On the way home I became disoriented even with the phone app. I eventually find my way home, but it took an hour and a later realized I had driven 30+ miles.

I quit driving solo and continued to take my grandson to his soccer practices and games. He just turned 13. He managed the phone app and gave me a heads up to make any necessary turns. I got us there and back without any problem, but I felt anxious. I decided last week that I'm not going to drive anymore even with a passenger/navigator.

I feel and look okay, but my short-term memory is flaky even on the best of days. I also realized that I'm getting some of my long-term memories twisted together. I take about a dozen pills (prescriptions and OTC) daily. My wife bought a pill dispenser container that has separate containers for each day of the week and four time compartments. It is really helpful, but I still find that I forget to take my pills and usually miss 1 or 2 doses. My wife had been reminding me to take them, but I somehow manage to skip doses. Starting tomorrow, she's going to keep the container and physically hand me the pills when they are due. I don't like having to bother her, but it seems to be necessary.

I have noted that I have good days where my short-term memory is functioning better, but they are outnumbered with the bad days.

I'm a retired systems engineering geek. I worked for NASA, NOAA, and DOD for 25+ years. I eventually worked my way into senior management and executive level management positions before I retired. I completed a couple of bachelor degrees, a master's degree, and coursework towards a PhD in engineering. Now I have a hard time trying to help my grandson out with his 7th grade geometry lessons. It has been hard to accept how much I have lost and in a very short period of time. My biggest fear is the rate of progression. 

The good news is I have a baseline of neurocognitive testing from 2019 and January 2020 to compare with a new round of testing next week.

This most important thing I can share is that I'm a very lucky man. I have a great relationship with my wife of nearly 40 years. Our bond is stronger now than ever. We are both cancer survivors and have faced other serious medical issues. 

Last and certainly not least, I have three grown children and five grandkids. Being a granddad is the best job I've ever had!

I wish everyone the best.

Iris L.
Posted: Monday, November 2, 2020 6:24 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18719

I'm sorry to learn of your diagnosis Bob.  Hearing that can be a blow, even after seeing signs.  It's smart to pro-actively relinquish driving before a serious mishap.  You are fortunate to have strong family support.  Focus on what you can still do, not on what you can't do.  


Posted: Monday, November 2, 2020 6:33 PM
Joined: 12/24/2018
Posts: 12

Thanks, Iris. I appreciate it.

I just posted a reply to Kaw Kaw and you on another thread.


Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2020 3:22 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13692

Hi Bob, I did write a Post to you on the other Thread re your COVID experience.  Since you take 12 pills both prescription and OTC, could multiple side effects be contributing to your memory issues, etc.?

 Just wondering if you had looked up the side effects for all prescriptions and OTC meds and see if they come up with any activity that could be contributing to the symptoms as well as the common post-COVID brain fog impact.


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