Do you have a win you’d like to share, so we can celebrate it with you? Tell me in a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know that expression, “if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck”?
Well, I’m here today to observe my second official “Wins Day,” and when it comes to people with mild cognitive impairment, and the wins they experience, the same general rule applies.
If it feels like a win, it’s a win, and I want to hear about it, and I want to share it.
Which is what I’m doing today with Irene. She recently had a huge win. And that’s what I want to tell you about, so we can celebrate it with her.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
If you were here a few weeks ago, you saw me introduce this new concept I have called WINS Days. Not Wednesday. WINS Day.
MCI will kick you in the teeth. It will knock you down. It will drag you through the mud. But what do people with MCI do? They get back up. They keep going. Yeah, they have their bad days, and they have their good days. Some days, they have a win.
My first WINS Day was devoted to Ellen, our neighbor in the north in Canada who planned a big outdoor lunch for a bunch of her friends. She wasn’t sure she could pull it off. But she did. It was a beautiful day, with friendship and food, and her lunch was a huge hit.
I’m glad to say WINS Day was a hit too. It turned out to be one of the more popular posts I’ve done in the past few months, so I’m continuing it.
But one thing that kind of surprised me, people seemed reluctant to share their wins. They weren’t quite sure what was I looking for. What qualifies as a quote-unquote “win”?
Well, that’s entirely up to you. If it feels like a win, it’s a win. And that can be true of you, just like it was true for Irene.
I heard about Irene from her husband, who posted a comment on my site. He wrote about how active she is, playing golf in the morning, backgammon at lunch, and then bridge in the afternoon with a large group of friends.
But here’s what really jumped out for me. Here’s the win.
Her husband said, “Does she struggle at times with her memory for playing bridge? Yes. But her friends all accept it and encourage her to keep playing . . . Pretty special people!”
Special indeed. I had a chance to talk to her husband a little bit more about it. Irene is 72 and she’s got a pretty interesting background. She was a model, she appeared in 20 movies, became the editor of a national magazine and co-hosted a TV program.
She’s been retired for well over a decade now, and then a few years ago, it became apparent that something was not quite right with Irene.
Her golfing partners called her husband privately. They were noticing problems with Irene’s memory. After she hit a shot, she couldn’t remember which golf ball was hers and she was continually walking up to someone else’s golf ball and putting it in her pocket.
It’s not that they were mad about it. It’s just they knew something’s wrong here.
Irene has been diagnosed with MCI, and some days it’s tough. She has violent outbursts, she screams at her husband. “She’s called me every name under the sun,” he says. He has to remind himself, “It’s not her, it’s some person taking over her body.”
That is really hard. With MCI, that’s the kind of stuff families have to deal with every day. But her husband sees the good, too. Irene stays physically and socially active. She takes their two dogs for walks. She plays golf. And she loves card game and board games. In the evening, she’ll play Hearts on the computer for hours.
And then there’s her regular bridge game with friends. Except Irene reached the point where she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to continue that. So one day, she just decided to face that issue head on.
She stood right up, and she told her friends, “I have a memory problem, and I’ve been diagnosed.” She couldn’t play at the level she used to, and she told her friends, if you don’t want me to play anymore, I’ll quit. I’ll stop coming.
“I was there when she did it,” her husband told me. “She just got up and said it. And they voted huge to say, please stay, please keep playing. They are just very understanding.”
Isn’t that wonderful? What great friends. What a win. For them, as well as for her.
So that’s what WINS Day looked like for Irene. And I’ll tell you what, let’s keep that winning streak going. Every so often, I will bring you the story of someone who had a win. Or who knows, maybe I’ll end up sharing your win with other people here.
So how about you? Have you had a win? Don’t hide it. Share it. Tell me about it in a comment below or send me an email at email@example.com.
I hope to hear from you, and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.