Anybody who is following this blog must be getting tired of me apologizing for not keeping up with this website because of the other project I am working on. Well, I have to do it again because the project is still continuing and I have to put in all of my time to move it forward. However, we were able to bring in another partner organization to help us do a lot of work, and I am at a stage where I can leave it with them until they finish their part. So, I decided to write updates on my MCI journey.
As before, Covid-19 and its derivatives are putting clamps on our lives but as long as we follow guidelines like getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, keeping distance, etc., we can keep ourselves reasonably safe. Except, my forgetfulness does put me in a risky situation when I go out. At times, I find myself walking in a store without a mask. People are too polite or scared to point it out to me, so I may walk around without a mask for a short while, then suddenly notice other people wearing one, so I quickly put one on myself.
Restaurants are a little more tricky. Patios are usually safe because there is plenty of fresh air moving around but indoors is somewhat risky. Most restaurants keep space between groups and or put plexiglass partitions in between. But, this is not so effective since the measures taken do not keep airborne viruses away from you. If a person sitting at the next table has Covid or there is a strong ventilation air stream coming from across the room that may be carrying viruses from a person sitting far away, you could get infected. So, in a way, we may be playing Russian roulette. However, if your area has rules that require proof of vaccination to enter these places as is the case here in Ontario, Canada, the risk is quite low. So, I do go to indoor restaurants myself. After all, we have to live and enjoy our life. What’s the sense of living if we cannot enjoy it?
Getting back to my MCI, I am still doing quite well. However, I must say I have noticed a slight decline in short-term memory and typing, yes typing! It’s strange but I am finding it more difficult to type on the computer. I make lots of mistakes by mixing or missing letters as well as misspelling words. Also, very often, the order of letters is mixed up, like typing “aslo” instead of “also”. So, I have some difficulty writing this article. Fortunately, however, free online writing tools such as Grammarly really help. It is a very useful tool and I highly recommend it. It keeps track of your typing and gives you a monthly report on the accuracy, productivity and use of specialized words compared with other users in your age group. I am using it as one indicator to monitor my condition. I would like to improve my typing skills but other than writing a lot and more often, I don’t know how to improve it.
Regarding my short-term memory, what is most frustrating is trying to remember a word or a number I just read. It shows up often when I try to copy a word from one form to another. I am pretty sure I can improve it by practicing copying words and numbers, but again it is very time-consuming. With all the other activities going on, I don’t think I can devote a lot of time to practice, so I am afraid I will have to live with it at least for now.
So, it may sound as if I am giving up but that is not the case. I am still doing many of the items covered under the Coping Strategy section such as exercises, healthy food consisting of primarily plant-based foods, getting good sleep, managing stress, socializing, learning new skills through computer programs for my project, etc.
Also, I hope to start doing more things like learning to play music, learning a new language, learning new subjects, computer games designed for brain training, etc. Another interesting one is handwriting – they say handwriting improves memory, so I intend to write an article on it later on.
Overall, I am very functional. I still go shopping without a list and come home with most of the things I intended (plus a few other things I hadn’t intended like some sweets). Occasionally, I come home with something that I already have. At least my refrigerator is not full of milk. Also, I am having absolutely no problem making my complicated blunch. I use as many as 15 ingredients to make a bowl of cereal, smoothie and a piece of toast without any problem. And of course, I execute many complex tasks in my project.
So, overall, I think I am doing quite well 5 years after my MCI diagnosis. I am still very optimistic about my future, and I believe that is one of the most important things to successfully live with MCI.