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Jim’s Story

by Joann Ogle, wife of Jim 

The winter storm of 2016, a loving husband, father, and grandfather would normally be looking forward to working storm duty for BGE. He loved meeting and working with people he never would have met, if not for doing extra work during storms of any kind. During this storm, he wanted to wait to see how it panned out before he headed to the assigned site. Very uncharacteristic of him. The next morning, he didn’t go in because the snow was too deep. Jim normally would have made every effort to get to his assigned location.

From that point on, we all started noticing changes in Jim. In 2017, he was sent home from work to get some rest, see his primary care doctor and a possible therapist. He was unable to remember how to do his job; one he’s had for many years. After a few talk therapy sessions, it was suggested he see a neurologist for further evaluation. That we did and the following few months were a blur. The neuro-psych exam showed MCI, or mild cognitive impairment, which is the first step on the road to Alzheimer’s disease. How could this be at age 59?

Fast forward to 2018-2019, Jim’s vision was becoming an issue. Driving was hard; he couldn’t see the lines on the road, and he couldn’t drive at night. Later in 2019, we saw a Neuro-Ophthalmologist who confirmed Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), also known as Benson’s Syndrome. Briefly, this is a rare diagnosis and Jim has 20-20 vision, however, his brain doesn’t communicate with his eyes. He is now Legally Blind, and his Alzheimer’s is going full force. He has been hallucinating for a few years now and the paranoia is getting worse. His meds have been recently adjusted to help with these issues. So much medication. It’s a double dose of struggles for us.

 This is not the retired life we envisioned but one we are living. Each day can bring us joy, but mostly new struggles to endure. I try and find something good in each day so I can rest peacefully at night. I pray for patience and guidance during our days ahead.