Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Signs

Frontotemporal Dementia is actually a general term for a grouping of conditions. We believe my dad's to have begun with the one affecting his social skills and ability to be empathic of others. We noticed things like:

- my dad's lack of care for his family ~ the man that used to hug us goodbye, help us pack up our car if we were off somewhere (like me back to school), etc. would barely acknowledge us walking out the door. He'd just keep watching TV.

- he was very impulsive ~ speeding when we were in no hurry, taking things he wanted without asking (or, in stores, without paying for them) and we found out later, he'd been leaving work for some time to just go stand around in a store nearby.

- my dad asking questions to strangers that you just normally wouldn't ~ Are you pregnant? Is your daughter adopted? How much is your mortgage? What's that tattoo of?

- he was also obsessed with telling a handful of stories, mainly about his parents dying and some fight he got in once. These stories were very out of character (he rarely talked about his parents' car accident ever) and often they were quite randomly brought up ... and he was determined to tell them to whoever was around, day after day if he repeatedly saw someone.

In hindsight, there were probably a lot more signs for several years.

Initially, my dad was diagnosed with depression. This diagnosis came from even a doctor specializing in Alzheimer's in Philadelphia.

We were told daily exercise, maybe antidepressants and time were all that was needed to get him back to himself. I think we all hoped that was the case, but knew better at the same time. We continued to look for answers...

Link of the day: This is one of my favorite links to use when informing someone about my dad's condition. It's quite detailed and yet fairly simple to understand, unlike a lot of sites and sources which describe FTD - Frontotemporal Dementia