Saturday, 19 January 2013

La via che va tra la perduta


“Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l'etterno dolore,
per me si va tra la perduta gente.”
(Dante’s Inferno, Canto 3.1-3)

La via che va tra la perduta

There is no warmth here;
the inner glow of being me
is somehow elusive
and I can’t (quite) remember
why I’m here...

There is no warmth here;
the inner glow of being me
is somehow elusive
and I can’t remember…

It is cold here,
a numbing emptiness,
a loneliness,
a chill permeates
my every screaming fibre. 
Fear is cold as ice,
exploding      every atom;
fear                        fear
excites the torment of,
the dread of tomorrow,
the dread of things… (forgotten)
as I desperately
try to grab,
to hold
to keepsake
memories of today
that disappear
with every fleeting moment,
disappear into the grey.

(I can’t quite get hold of what it is)
is drawing me
like moth to candle,
cold and dark and uninviting,
yet it draws me,
draws me
like a spindly beckoning finger
and as I linger at its gate,
foreboding tells me
I should not enter
yet strange longing urges me to stay
and I can’t quite remember why I’m here...

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.

 Anna :o]

Fred at dVerse asks us to write in a language which is not our own.  Although some of the above is drawn from Dante’s Inferno, that written in English is not my own.  It is based on the language and thought process of someone (I was privileged to know) who was a dementia sufferer. 

There is no pleasure to be achieved from dementia, no yearning to earn its tag – for the sufferer or the carer –and following diagnosis worlds begin to disintegrate, friends gradually cease to visit, even relatives – loneliness, isolation and fear ensue.  There is very little – and I mean very little - community support, perhaps a six-monthly visit to your psychogeriatrician, an annual review from your GP, an occasional visit from CPN or social worker and that is it – and they do mean well, they really do – but until you are diagnosed with dementia or care for someone who has – until you live this life - you really don’t know a thing - you may think you understand and can reel off wisdom acquired through the requirements of your profession - but you don't understand at all.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has proprosed that GPs should screen all those considered at risk of developing dementia and those over 74 when attending a routine visit – with no warning of the intention to screen.  There are so many dangers here of over-diagnosing and over-medicating – please DO read two excellent post by Dr Martin Brunet regarding this here and here.

Please watch the video above – brought to my attention on Margaret McCartney’s blog and read her post here.

NICE has concluded that there is no accurate method of identifying people through screening – please see ‘Basis for recommendation’ so why are the government pressing ahead?  What will happen to the folk who may have to wait up to nine months for a Memory Clinic appointment?  They may be diagnosed with early dementia and then what?  Certainly very little helpful support and definite stigma attached – they may be found to have mild cognitive impairment that will not progress to dementia – but oh the worry while waiting (for the appointment) and the stigma will remain. They may be found not to be in the early stages of dementia at all – but oh the worry while waiting and the stigma will remain…  

 What are your thoughts on dementia screening?

Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, author Luca Casarteli 


Anonymous said...

linger at the gate, knowing you should not enter, can't hold back...what happens next. if this were a movie, we'd be waiting for the sequel.

bichon frise

Brian Miller said...

wow...what a piece...the inner glow of being me
is somehow elusive ...great repetition of a very evocative line...what a warning in that last line as well....dementia, so hard...and scary as well...

Laurie Kolp said...

such a horrible disease... effective piece... thanks, Anna

HisFireFly said...

that drawing, I can feel the pull through the screen...

Mary said...

Painfully real! This is my worst dread.

Fred Rutherford said...

excellent piece Anna. I have a good friend who's mother is suffering with Dementia. It's really sad. Out of all my friends parents, she would always make me sit down with here as she watched Jeopardy any time I'd stop over the house and would sincerely ask how I am, how my parents are, what's new in my world and so forth. The nicest woman. I went with my friend to visit her, but she had no clue who I was and thought My friends was her husband. Pretty tough to not shed some tears. Wonderfully written and the story notes included are so valuable. Thanks for sharing this tonight.

kkkkaty said...

there is a loss of language- the ability to communicate in a meaningful way and it is acutely captured here..I personally know no one with the disease but have read a lot about's devastating for all concerned..thanks for taking us into their world..

Kelvin S.M. said...

...Anna, this is a very excellent write...something you could read both aloud & quiet...there's a magic in your refraining intro that kept on circling & circling into my ears...and raised rather a cold, sad voice & set the read in such a melancholy atmosphere... Smiles...

Claudia said...

oh heck...moved me to tears..the trying to hold the memories, feeling them slipping tough...excellently written

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ana .. life is tough (very) for dementia sufferers and their dear ones or carers ...

The poem is excellent .. more so perhaps on a cold snowy day in England ...

With thoughts - Hilary

Anonymous said...

Really effective opening - losing the last line of the opening stanza in the second is so descriptive of the short-term memory loss that characterises early stage dementia.

Heaven said...

This is a very strong piece ~ You have captured the fear as cold ice very well ~ This is so sad, to lose your memories ~

Witch Doctor said...

"What are your thoughts on dementia screening?"

In the state of our current lack of knowledge about prevention and treatment, and the way screening is being proposed, I think it is unethical, and GPs should refuse to be involved.

Who is going to convince The Witch Doctor otherwise?

Anonymous said...

This really hits home for those who've had loved ones with dementia--so sad.
(Dementia screening sounds like something out of a sci fi novel--ghastly idea.)

Luke Prater said...

Even if it is a 'found poem' of sorts, it's very good... and I thank you once again for bringing in the context as an afterword, and highlighting an illness that we may be ignorant to. Not just interesting, but important. Thank you.

Old Ollie said...

sad authentic piece -

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Thank-you for your welcome comments folks and apologies for the delay in responding – sometimes real life gets in the way…

Witch Doctor – unethical it is. Maybe some light at the end of the tunnel. Please see here at Pulse.

Anna :o]

Luke Prater said...

Still lovin' this, M. Worth the reread, my friend

ayala said...

Gorgeous poem!

Anonymous said...

What's the good of asking a question if you will not know what to do with the answer?
The best test I have come across was a joke round a dinner table: "Say you have forgotten where you put the electric kettle. If you remember what it is for when you find it, you're OK".
I find this strangely helpful when once again I am looking for the word at the tip of my tongue, refusing to come out.