is a
Veteran-Owned site.

Knowing that I actually came back I am not sorry about going to Vietnam. However, adding Alzheimer's it my mental mix does tick me off a bit.

Waking Up In Soc Trang

And no, it’s not a guilt trip

Text and photo by Tom Hintz

Posted – 6-9-2015

About 45 years ago I and a million or so other Americans took a field trip to South Vietnam courtesy of the US military. I should say up front that I am not apologetic about going to Vietnam as I think we had an opportunity to help those people but that was squandered by our politicians. Big surprise huh? Having never been in a true war zone I had a lousy idea of what I would see and experience. Now so many years later I continue to “experience” some situations in nightmares that can be frighteningly realistic. Like most veterans of a war I have found that you can’t talk to regular people about those experiences because they have no concept of what a real bullet wound looks like or what is left after a bomb or napalm strike so they often think you are exaggerating the story. Even military people who have not experienced war themselves can be even more skeptical because they consider themselves “informed” and that just makes things worse. As a consequence many of us just don’t say anything because after we wake up, Vietnam is gone for another day.

Now with Alzheimer's added to my mental mix it seems harder to “wake up” from these nightmares sometimes. I do physically wake up of course but there is the added feature of not always remembering where I am right away, nightmare or not. Before Alzheimer's I at least recognized my surroundings as soon as I woke up. Now, sometimes not so much. It’s not that I think I am still in Vietnam specifically, I just don’t always recognize my alarm clock or bedside table right away. That can cloud the transition from nightmare to reality.

I read things that suggest that there is a link between PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and Alzheimer's but like everything else about this disease nobody is sure about anything. Of course that includes me but I get to live in a growing realm of uncertainty where familiarity doesn’t make it any better. I know that the nightmares seem worse these days and more frequent. Is that a natural progression of PTSD, Alzheimer's or is it the combination stepping the nightmares up? I doubt anybody really knows.
The best thing I can do for myself is keep busy, work on generating content which can also be frustrating because of all the two steps forward and one or two back that comes with forgetting what you did seconds ago. Oddly, I am getting better at accepting that kind of memory problem, at least I accept that more than not being able to finish sentences or remember names.

I recently had another laptop go belly up because I use them to death. Trying to get a new laptop up and running so I can continue to work is far more difficult when I go back and forth copy and pasting the same files several times. Copying activation codes or other numbers is now a real chore because I can read four numbers and only remember two or three by the time I turn to type them in the other computer. That is the kind of thing that gets very old very fast and creates another level of frustration that can literally give me headaches because I can’t let it go until tomorrow. I need to keep the content coming to build my sites before I can’t do that anymore. And that realization intensifies the frustrations.

Have a comment on this story? –Email Me!

Back to the My Alzheimer's Story List

All Fighting My Alzheimer's written, photographic and drawn materials are property of and copyright by Tom Hintz and LLC 2013-2016. Materials may not be used in any way without the written permission of the owner.
Privacy Statement