So how important is it for a person to stay oriented to time and place? Aren’t those two of the elements used to assess orientation? Person and situation are the other two elements. So, if you are oriented to person, place, time and situation you probably won’t be a candidate for a “Silver Alert”. In case your not familiar with the term, a Silver Alert is a public notification system to broadcast information about missing persons – especially senior citizens with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their being found.
In addition, if you are oriented to all four elements you are probably less likely to be mistaken for being intoxicated. However, you could be a little tipsy and still know who you are in addition to having a level of awareness to place, time and situation.
Somehow the term “Silver Alert” doesn’t seem as ominous as “Missing Elderly”. Maybe it has to do with word association. There are many who process the term “silver” as having value and worth. One of my keepsakes from my childhood is a silver dollar. I have had it in since the age of fourteen. I was working at Otto’s (ice cream and burger place) and a customer paid for their order of burgers and drinks with silver dollars. Curtis, the owner of the franchise, allowed me to exchange a paper bill for one of the silver dollars. From that time until now, the silver dollar has been in my position. Consequently, if the General ever accuses me of going through money, I have proof that I’ve had my last silver dollar for over fifty-five years.
Silver is often associated to the concept of value and worth. Sadly, some process the term “elderly” as a person who has outlived their usefulness. Consequently, I’d much prefer to be the subject of a “Silver Alert” rather than a “Missing Elderly” posting. I’d much prefer to be considered of value than dispensable and without usefulness.
At the risk of being a little too transparent, I just had the experience of not being fully aware of all four elements: person, place, time and situation. Having an awareness of my identity wasn’t an issue. My name is Don. If you spell it backwards it comes out “nod” and a lot of people nod off to sleep. Nod is used synonymously for doze and loss of concentration. Perhaps the source of my problem is associated to sleep.
One of the things that crossed my mind in the midst of my disorientation is that my blog today would necessarily be written and posted late. I ought to get some kind of credit for having that level of awareness. Yet, I was not fully oriented to person, place, time and situation.
Before I go farther, I probably should also highlight the fact that I was not intoxicated. I know, I know, Friday night can be a risk factor for lots of folks, but my failure to be fully oriented to all four elements had no relationship to alcohol. Yet I awakened in a strange place.
In the darkness of the room, a country song rolled around in my head. How did the line go? I think it was a song by Ronnie Milsap. Okay, I remember. The line from the song that I kept remembering was: “I’m having day dreams about night things in the middle of the afternoon.”
In the context of “night things” associated to that song, I think I’m safe to say that a “sleep study” is not one of the things that immediately comes to one’s mind when anyone hears that song. I was awake, but I had absolutely no concept of the time. I had turned off my phone and placed it in my overnight bag before the sleep study technician hooked me up to a thousand and one different wires (I’m exaggerating) to learn all the nuances of my sleeping patterns.
I was awake. The room was dark. Was it time to get up? I really didn’t know. If only I knew the time, I’d have a better frame of reference. Even in the darkened space, I knew that cameras were capturing my every move. Despite that, I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable and nod back off to sleep. It didn’t work. I set up on the side of the bed. Where had I placed my glasses? I remembered where I put them. They should have been in reach, but I couldn’t see them. It was dark in the room.
I momentarily thought back over the night’s experience. It had been less that restful. I had been abruptly awakened sometime in the night by the technician as he was removing tape and re-arranging some kind of device on my left index finger. The next abrupt awakening had something to do with the mask on my face. I was awake enough to know that he said he was changing something. I blocked it out and fell back to sleep.
But now I was totally awake and fully disoriented to the time. Do I get up or do I stay in bed? I opted to turn on the lamp. I found the remote and turned on the television. More quickly than the time it took me to type that last sentence, the technician was in the room. “Are you okay” was his question. I responded with a question: “Is it time to get up?”
I wasn’t totally surprised when he said “No”. I was surprised when he said the study needed to continue for at least two more hours. I was sleeping soundly when I heard the door open again. He said: “You can now get up.” I asked the time. It was 5:15 a.m.”
Long-story-short: “My blog is late. It was out of my control.” About thirty minutes ago, I received a text from my son: “Are y’all okay?” I responded: “Running late. I was out all night.” I figured that would give him pause for concern. Let him wonder – the thought put a smile on my face.
Who knows what he thought, but he responded: “No blog. Coffee’s cooling.”
All My Best!