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Whatever the reason, Alzheimer's is having less of an impact on my RC flying than on playing a guitar. I doubt anybody knows why, it just is.
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Selective Coordination

Alzheimer’s gets confusing – again

Text and photos by Tom Hintz

Posted – 5-27-2015

My journey through Alzheimer’s occasionally takes an unexpected turn. Most recently that has been the confusing realization that coordination is not universal nor is its decline. Flying RC airplanes certainly takes high levels of coordination and I continue to do well in that pursuit. I am still able to learn new flying skills though learning them often requires higher numbers of repetitions to learn than in the past. There can be frustrations in learning RC related skills but I have a good level of confidence that I will eventually master them one by one.

At the same time I see coordination lacking in playing guitar, something I have done approximately as long as flying RC planes. I even played guitar many years ago in a working band and enjoyed that performing. Today I can’t form chords I have known for 30 years. Fingering common sequences of notes that was once automatic is now nearly impossible if I can do it at all. When I try to buckle down and practice a chord or tune repetitions have no benefit. It seems that my hands just get tired and trying to hit a string of notes or chords gets worse, not better. The way I used to practice new things on the guitar with success just does not work today and I haven’t been able to find an alternative.

I can literally set the guitar down to go flying and find my coordination seems to instantly return and I can execute difficult (for me) maneuvers with my planes. I can also see progress when learning new maneuvers or other skills related to flying. I just do not feel like I am losing coordination in RC flying like I have with playing guitars.

It is the decline of guitar-specific coordination that is confusing. It would seem that the brain to fingers link would be the same for playing guitars as it is for flying RC planes yet the guitar side is fading fast while my flying skills seem to improve. Learning new RC flying skills do take longer than in my earlier years but considering that I am now 66 with the complication of having Alzheimer’s that is understandable.

I really enjoyed playing guitars, including building some like the one I am holding in this picture. It was my pride and joy but I gave it to my brother in law before I lose touch altogether and it winds up in a pawn shop or something.
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Unfortunately what is clear is that Alzheimer’s seldom makes sense to those who are trying to understand it or those who have it. The realization that I do not have forever to deal with this made it easier for me to give up learning new things on the guitar and invest my time in RC flying where progress is obvious and way less frustrating.

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