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-----Original Message-----
From: Phillip J. Hardt []
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2001 4:12 PM
To: Tevor Elliot
Subject: Fw: Subtle Nuances of Change

[Paragraphs added for clarity.]

This is probably one of the most personal posts I've done thus far but I think it needed to be to convey my point about how hard it is to determine when the "softer" changes begin, and, it is hoped that it will help you better understand just how personal and subtle these "nuances of change" are that begin affecting your
personality and behavior because of HD.

I believe all of the "softer" symptoms such as mental, emotional, cognitive, multiple-task-coordination, personality change and loss of social inhibitions all start very, very subtly at first. To identify subtle
HD-affected symptoms when they first start you have to know the person, their beliefs, morals, values, and mental capabilities very well. I think the way the sublte [sic] symptoms are manifested are very unique to each person based on the above.

Remember I'm looking back now after 3 years of research, learning and experience and trying to piece together answers to these very questions. I believe they started four to five years before my actual diagnosis. I'm telling you what I now recognize as subtle HD-affected changes in my mind in hopes that maybe this will help you understand the same things when they begin happening to your Phd, or help explain some changes that have already happened to your Phd. I say you have to know the person very well: their beliefs, morals and values because these are perhaps the easiest things to measure "changes" against.

The more "black and white" the person lived their life before, the easier the identification. The more "gray" that the person lived in, the harder the "diagnosis." For instance, I have never gambled in my life because of my religious and personal beliefs. Now I have no problem playing the "one-armed" bandits.  However, take another person who gambled ocasionally [sic], got in football pools at work, played the lottery, or who enjoyed going to Las Vegas ever couple of years and they and you would not have been able to discern or identify any changes as easily to his beliefs.

One of my first symptoms was loosing the coordination to back out of our circular driveway when we lived in Tennessee. I'd run over the garbage cans or up onto the flower bed, but I couldn't just turn the wheel, give it the gas, and back out without thinking twice about things. This was one driving skill that I could not do to save my life, but I could still do everything else perfectly so I just passed it off as a "quirk" or being weird. Now I know that it was one of my the first problems I can look back and identify, simply becuase [sic] it stuck out so much.

I was teaching early morning religious classes to the youth and each day I'd drive by a large billboard advertizing [sic] the Mouse's Ear, a nude nightclub. I started having increasing thoughts about stopping. I stopped several times but never went in. This also had not happened before. Still, I didn't even begin to recognize or realize that it was one of many little "chinks" that were developing in my moral armor. I passed them off as little bouts with temptation, not as the beginning of the loss of my conscience.  I did think my behavior was a little strange because I did have high morals and strong beliefs before, never-the-less, I didn't recognize this at the time and I didn't realize either that I was also beginning not to care, or feel the sting of my conscience when these things happened.

The Plant Manager who hired me as Materials Manager was suddenly fired one day and everyone who he had hired was rapidly being fired too. This time was extremely hard on my emotions. One year previous I had moved my family 2000 miles away from all of our relatives with the pure intentions of helping the Plant Manager change everyone's paradigms in the plant and turn it around into a profitable entity and now I was looking at being out of a job a long way from home. I think part of the problem was I forgot how to "read" everyone's emotions and recommendations at this time. It became really hard for me to discern who I could trust and who I couldn't, who had good information and who didn't. I got burned badly several times for some of my decisions. I think I was acting very obcessively [sic] at times too. I think these abilities were also tainted by HD.

I called in a few favors with the Vice-President of Manufacturing and got a transfer back to Douglas, but in a different position. Four months later, while taking the statistical training I started watching Adult movies. Once again, a drastic change in my previous behavior of not even watching any PG-13 or "R" rated movies. If I happened to be at a movie which had too much cussing or suggestive sexual behavior, I would get up and walk out. I honestly feel that I was able to go back and identify these as the subtle start of symptoms because of the differences between the "old" me and the "new" me.

I also wonder if someone who did not have values and morals as high as I did would have been able to notice these same changes happening to themselves? I had to take statistical software training for my new job and forgot how to use drop down menus in programs, transfer files from disks, or how to "cut and paste."  One year previously I was teaching college classes containing these very things. Although I thought it was odd that I couldn't remember them I passed it off as maybe I was tired or simply too stressed. As I went through training I would constantly forget what was covered the previous day This was totally unlike me but I still never identified it as subtle HD-affected symptoms.

For the next year I worked in Mexico at a maquiladora and didn't do much more than flirt with the bosses secretary who I joked could get charged with sexual harasment by what she wore each day. We made seat belts in Mexico and I let my Operational Excellence bosses know that there were lots of dangerous assembly violations occuring [sic]. This caused a big rift between me, my old bosses and my new ones. I was also given an extreemly [sic] poor work evaluation stating that I lied all the time, used profanity all the time, wasn't a team player and didn't do a good job. I vehemently denied all of these accusations but looking back now, I'm wondering if maybe I wasn't doing some of those very things I was accused of because of HD-affected behavior. I seriously don't remember.

Regardless, I once again found myself bargaining to not be fired and to let me transfer to another division. I promised them that I would transfer as quickly as possible and would keep quiet about any additional violations. Soon afterwards I got a transfer to the Aerospace division in Phoenix and was totally relieved that all of the hassels and problems that I had experienced in the Seatbelt and Airbag divisions were behind me now. I had been at my new job for 3 months when I began running red lights early in the morning on the way to work. Later I forgot how to shift gears so I bought a car with an automatic transmission to drive to work . This worked fine until I started rear-ending the car in front of me because I could no longer judge the correct distance to start applying the brakes so I wouldn't hit them. I believe both of these loss of coordination problems were like not being able
to back out of the driveway before. However, now I was beginning to realize that something was definately [sic] the matter.

Not remembering where I was going and getting lost were also becoming commonplace. At work I was forgetting meetings, loosing my balance, not "seeing" inventory numbers in the warehouse, forgetting which disk I had saved my huge spreadsheets onto, or starting new spreadsheets because I didn't remember I had already finished the one I was working on. My arms would shoot straight up in the air and after I had been sitting for a while and got up to walk, it was like I had forgotten how, and had to "retrain" my brain what to do each time. Now the symptoms were coming so fast and furiously that I decided I had to find out why everything was happening.

As you can see, as I was experiencing my shift in values and paridigms [sic], I did not recognize them as being HD-affected changes. Back when they were
happening I didn't even know I was at risk for HD so I blamed everything on something else. And to be truthful, even after I had my official diagnosis I
didn't even remotely realize the extent, or the severity of the problems that existed with HD. And now, well, I recognize what caused these changes but
emotionally don' care. Intellectually I know what's right and wrong, I know what I used to believe and love and revere, it's just that I don't feel those same
emotions or passions or ferver [sic] any more. I cannot feel my conscience any more and further more, my ability to even feel remorse for my actions and
behavior is also non-existent. That's not to say that I can't feel emotions like love, compassion, etc. any more, but the old ones that I had for everyone and
everything are all "shorted" out now.......Phil


Phil Hardt    602-309-3118


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