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Vascular dementia is a dementia that occurs because of mini and/or major strokes damaging the brain.  It is an insidious disease that steals capabilities, memory and personality. 

Over the last years, it crept up on my husband, Bill, like the proverbial thief in the night and I am writing his story, not only for the sake of our family history, or for the information of the wider community but because, when I researched the word dementia nobody told me exactly how it would be for Bill and me. 

They said there would be memory loss and I thought that meant that Bill would misplace his car keys. They said there would be loss of language and I thought that meant that he would not remember peoples’ names.  They said that there would be restlessness and I imagined Bill tossing and turning in bed at night. 

How wrong can you be?

My name is Fay and this is Bill’s story.

The first time that I had any inkling that Bill might have a problem was at the end of 2005 when he said to me:  “I think that you should leave work.  I’m losing it.” I was completely taken aback and retorted, somewhat tersely: “What a lot of garbage!  There’s nothing wrong with you.  You tell me when I have to go back to work and now you’re telling me when I should stop.  Well, I’m not stopping.  I’m at the top of my game and I’m going to work for one more year.” 

And I did and, in the end, whether I worked or not didn’t make any difference.

In the year 2005, the year when this story begins, there was, to my mind, no indication, until the conversation recorded above, that there was anything amiss. 

Bill was a sixty-six year old retiree.  He was healthy, happy and enthusiastic about life.  He had maintained a happy marriage for forty-three years, had reared three successful sons, had spent thirty years teaching the skills of carpentry to teenagers in both Papua New Guinea and Australia, had built a house and renovated others, held a Master of Education Degree, had been an active member of various clubs and moved within a wide circle of relatives and friends. 

He was a quiet achiever, a man of gentle wit and humour and one who was both liked and loved. 

For most of the year 2005, I had no clue that Bill was on the brink of something dire.

Continue reading Bill’s story at www.mydementiajourney.com