Tuesday, June 28, 2011


One of the many challenges with Meagan's memory loss and cognitive shortcomings due to the insult to her brain and the medications is the necessity of me explaining things over and over or responding to repeat questions. It takes more patience than I am sometimes able to muster, and I can get a bit short or cryptic, which is certainly not fair to her. She is seeking to understand her situation, in all its fullness and possibility, and I can tell when she is really trying to grasp at something. But it is difficult for her.

What is particularly challenging is when it is around the course of the disease and discussing where we stand and what are next steps and possible outcomes. Because she doesn't remember much I have to outline the various scenarios and outcomes, and then she usually needs a lot of clarification. So I get to experience the "re-traumatization" of description, while she is coming to an understanding. Over the course of the past week we have had this conversation several times, although she does not remember much about the prior conversations. So it's frustrating for both of us.

Additionally, she is coming around to the perspective that she just needs to live her life regardless of condition. So she has expressed an interest in getting back into her studio, doing more things, and generally not acting like a sick person. She wants to be around people who are positive (and not morose about her condition) and live a life of joy and not miss any good moments because she is dwelling on the possibility of a shorter life, even though she is aware that coud happen. So there is a yin/yang conflict - as she asks me about her condition and what is happening treatment wise and what it all means - she can legitimately become upset and emotional (compounded by the medication) and we have had many teary talks about the future. She is quite scared and sad about those possibilities. Yet she also wants to live on a day to day basis in not a pollyanna kind of way by ignoring the disease, but just not focused on the probabilities of her disease and likely outcome - instead focusing on the good and the potential of the immediacy of the moment for connection, joy, and fulfillment.

She is going to start seeing her therapist again, who she likes very much, for coping tools and help. The time period after her stroke, when she was in a very positive frame of mind are long gone, the seizures and medication seem to have eliminated that.

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