It is my hope that a few of you, at least, have wondered why I have been so silent for so long, with both Tweets and blog posts. There have been no blog posts at all from late July to late October and only a few from the first of April, a couple of which were recycled.
I want to share a little about the “non-Covid-related” health condition I experienced that began early in 2020 and is only beginning to resolve. Because it is a health condition I had never heard of, and one that many people in my age range may be at risk for, I want to tell you about it.
The condition or syndrome is Tardive Dyskinesia, “TD” for short. It is caused by long-term use of medications, individually or in combination, for psychiatric, neurological, and gastrointestinal ailments. For some time, I had been taking medication for ailments in two of those three conditions.
My symptoms included cognitive problems such as memory loss, inability to focus, mood fluctuations balance, as well as some repeating involuntary movements. These symptoms came on so gradually the condition was not diagnosed for nine or ten months. I can tell you it was a frightening time for me and my family. We were fearful it was the onset of some form of dementia. It was diagnosed this past December and, after changing some of my medications, symptoms have begun to abate. A couple of the symptoms persist and I have been advised it may take a few months or more before I feel fully normal, again.
To give you a couple of examples, my short-term memory was awful and not just pulling an occasional word out of my memory banks, something that many people of my age group are prone to experience. So, so often, I would struggle to come up with a word and once I was able to recall it, I might be unable to spell it.
Writing became problematic as I would sit down to type a sentence and forget what I wanted to say before I finished typing it. Often, when I was able to produce a paragraph or more, I would later discover that what I had written made no sense at all. Often, I would find words missing that were necessary for a sentence. Occasionally what I had written would be non-sensical.
In addition, at its worst point, I would lose my balance for no obvious reason, was unable to perform simple manual tasks such as deal from a deck of playing cards or peel potatoes, and would experience repeating involuntary movements.
Most all of us know how horrible dementia can be for a family and being faced with the prospect this could be my future was frightening.
So. any of you in your late sixties, or beyond (I am 75), who take medications individually or in combinations for any psychiatric (e.g. depression), neurological, or even gastrointestinal conditions (GERD), be alert to the development of the kind of symptoms I have described and talk to your physician, immediately, if any should surface.
Some of you are aware of the book I have been writing to introduce my education model. I had hoped to complete it last Spring. Needless to say, little progress has been made in almost a year. I am beginning to get back to work on the book, slowly, and I want to devote most of my available writing time to that purpose. Since I also want to maintain a presence on Twitter, and other social media, I will be recycling a few articles from my blog as far back as 2013; a few on topics that remain cogent.
I hope you have fared well in the Pandemic and wish all of you the best.
Mel Hawkins @melhawk46