Saturday, October 23, 2010

Journal of a Living Lady #382

Nancy White Kelly

There has been so much emphasis in the news this month regarding Alzheimer’s. Jokes abound, but it is a serious disease. Now that I am in the last half of my sixties, slips of memory bother me.

I know a face, but the name disappears. I lie awake at night, sometimes for hours, trying to resurrect a name that I should know well. Details of events, even recent ones, somehow slip into a mysterious black hole in my brain. Am I headed down that Alzheimer’s road?

Leading authorities say that Alzheimer’s begins twenty years before becoming obvious. The same can be said of certain types of cancer. There are slow growing-cancers and those that are so aggressive it takes your breath. A friend recently succumbed to cancer in less than three weeks after diagnosis. He and I were working together on forming a local coin club. Bill seemed to be in vibrant health. In our last phone conversation, I asked what I could do for him. He humbly replied, “Pray for me.” I did, but sometimes our will is not that of the Heavenly Father. None of us are going to make it out of this world alive.

Personality-wise and somewhat in looks, I am very much like my paternal aunt who died of serious dementia a few years ago. She forgot who Buddy was and barely recognized me on my last visit though she was like a second mother while I was a child.

Like many folks of her generation, she smoked most of her life. Her only brother, my father, died at the age of 62. He was a heavy smoker too. Thankfully none of the children are smokers, but we can’t help but wonder about the second-hand smoke we were subjected to long before the effects were known.

Most likely I am just growing older and experiencing normal diminishment of brain cells that transmit thoughts and revives memories. I feel much younger than the calendar says and can still be the life of the party as long as I am home by 8:00. Instead of Alzheimer’s, maybe I have what Buddy refers to as “All-timers.”

While on a road trip last year, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant and resumed their trip. When leaving, the poor woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table. She didn't miss them until they had been driving for about forty minutes.
Adding to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn so they could return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back, the husband became the classic grouchy man. He fussed, complained, and scolded his wife relentlessly during the long return drive.
The more he chided her, the more agitated he became. He would not let up for a single minute.

To the woman’s relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant. As the chagrinned wife got out of the car and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her, "While you're in there, you might as well get my hat and the credit card."

I do hope my mind lasts as long as my body. I dare not allow my mind to wander anymore. It should not be out on its own. Truthfully, Buddy might not remember to look for me.

1 comment:

Bob Cleveland said...

I've heard that lying awake wondering about it is one sign you don't have it.

My dad had some sort of dementia .. could have been from small strokes, or maybe Alzheimers. It never occurred to him that anything was wrong.

My term for what you got (and I got it too) is "old-timers".

I think that's it.