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I enjoy working in the early morning hours so getting up at midnight to 2am is not such a bad thing - I think.
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Jamming 8 Hours of Work Into 16 Hours

Schedule-resistant short-term memory failures

Text and photo by Tom Hintz


Though frustrating, one of the easier Alzheimer's-related problems to deal with in my life is forgetting what I am doing or going to do. These lapses generally just take a couple minutes of looking around and mental back-tracking to re-establish the thought. Not so long ago these little lapses were just an occasional thing. Today trying to schedule points of progress in a project like building my new ESM 88” Zero is all but worthless.

I say that dealing with the short-term memory lapses is easy because there is only one course of action, add more work time. Nothing to it if you don’t mind daily work hours interrupted by 5 or 6 hours of sleep each night. Yeah, that’s the part that worries some of the people around me.

The good thing about all this is that I have always been an early morning person. I love that time of day because it is quiet and I can get a lot of writing done, work through the increasingly-full email in-box and get into the garage/shop to work there as well. For a long time now my usual schedule has me going to sleep around 7pm and getting up between midnight a 2am depending on how much I wore myself out the day before.

One weekends I try to spend most of my daylight time at the flying field. All that walking around and the occasional rescue mission into the surrounding fields and woods seeking a downed plane often results in me sleeping an extra hour or two. Even then I get up early enough to charge up the planes and radios to be used that morning at the field.

Something that encourages these odd work hours is that I am still truly excited about building my sites as well as seeing the growth and interactions from overnight. I enjoy creating content that people can use or find interesting.

One of the things that really bothered other writers when I worked in the motorsports magazine industry is that I was a full time staff writer but I had no formal training in writing. No college, nothing. I could just do it and until I realized that it ticked off other writers I never really thought about why I could. I still have no idea why I can do what I do but these days I am more concerned with how long I will be able to do it.

A big part of dealing with Alzheimer's is working the mind to slow its progression. I am fortunate that in the years preceding my diagnosis I had been working for myself and had amassed the computers and other hardware I need to produce content with good video and photographic support. And I do all this at home so my odd schedule is not open to review by an employer. Enjoying the work makes it easier to keep fighting Alzheimer's as long as I can afford to do so.

At the same time I know that all this will come to an end when the Alzheimer's wins out which it seems certain to do at some point. I may still be willing to do the work but everything I know about this disease tells me that will not be enough forever.

Then there is the money. Producing content just is not done for free and now without a sponsor I have to pay for everything out of my pocket. There is a very good chance that the lack of funding will stop me well before Alzheimer's does. I am literally racing Alzheimer's to see if I can produce enough good quality content that this body of work will generate enough cash on the Internet to keep doing it until Alzheimer's stops me. The good news is that I am fully aware of that and it spurs me on to work harder, like right now at 4am on a Saturday morning before heading to the flying field. My odd/long schedule lets me crank out another story for you before I go flying for me. Now let’s see how long I can keep this up.

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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.
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