Friday morning, I saw a headline from The Hill. Bob Dole is pissed about the VA. Well, I'm pissed about life. He's a year older than my father, and his mind is as sharp as ever. So is former President, George H. W. Bush. . They are the same age as my father. Their bodies are frail, but their minds are good. Jimmy Carter's body and mind are doing great. Both he and GHWB are the same age as my father. My father's body is great, for someone 90 years old. He's proof that high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes are not killers. But - his mind is in another orbit. We're pushing Stage 6.
It's not fair. Then again life isn't fair. What also isn't fair is the disaster the disease makes of the lives around the person who has it, especially if you aren't quite wealthy, don't have the right insurance, and don't plan to put your loved one in a kennel where they are encouraged to die.
My father still has his dignity. Sure, he's driving us crazy. My mother is exhausted from taking care of him. The problems is that we are in an in-between stage. He doesn't sleep that much. With her cardiac condition, she needs sleep. Like a two year old, he can't be left alone. You just don't know what he will get into, hide, or even worse, go outside. She keeps the house armed, which helps, lots. His mental comprehension is nearly shot. It's frustrating. Then, a light goes off, and he's fine. Contrary to what the so-called experts say, the more action around him, the better his mind is. The more caffeine and sugar he consumes, the better his mind works.
People have Alzheimer's Disease are treated like dirt, by society and especially by some representatives of the medical community. They have decided there is no human value in a person suffering from the horrid disease. They are worthless, a drain on valuable resources. They are allowed no basic human dignity. Why don't you take your father to a day out for AD? Right, you think we're going to drop him off, like a toddler with a back-pack, to go with a group of people who don't give a damn about him, to color and clap his hands to the wheels on the bus go round and round? Dignity? I think not.
My father still has a tremendous amount of dignity. The biggest problem my mother has with him - or one of the most annoying (aside from hiding things, including her diamond wedding band) is the fact that he wants to put on his best clothes, every day. He always wants to get dressed up and go somewhere.
Families of those suffering from the disease, especially men, are expected to be martyrs, especially the wives. For some weird reason, women end up being put in institutions to die, but wives have a tendency to kill themselves, caring for their husbands. That's the way the politics of the disease work.
The worst thing is the precedent that the Reagan family set, basically hiding the former president from society. Now, anyone who is even in the early stages of the disease is to be hidden away like some flawed monster. People who have Alzheimer's need to have their brains stimulated.
Contrary to popular myth, they need challenges, visitors, interesting meals, and enjoy going out in the world. Sure, when late afternoon approaches, and it's time to sundown, all hell breaks lose, but you learn how to deal with that.
The reason you don't put you loved one in a kennel to die, is because that's just what happens. They are improperly supervised, fall, break something, and are dead in a couple weeks. It's legalized murder. Granted, my father makes me crazy. I'm not a patient person. It is the reason I never had children. I couldn't put up with it. But, that's my problem. He shouldn't suffer because I'm not good at care-giving.
So, you hit the double espresso frap with extra sugar and hop him up on it. The sugar makes the brain work. When the brain works, his behavior is better. But - sugar is evil, right? We're learning the disease can be 'managed' by diet. People who have the disease need caffeine and they needs lots of processed white sugar.
My rant is over, and I've managed to calm down a little. It does make me sad, watching men my father's age who have brains that are working. We are blessed. He's not in pain. He's not suffering, and we know, when he has this June 11 birthday, that it will be the last one he will ever be able to comprehend. That's a blessing.
Oh, a little FYI. Alzheimer's is not all that common. The worst thing is the 'facts' put out by various foundations. There are currently about 5.2 million Americans who are suffering from the disease. There are approximately 317 million Americans. In other words, there are 312 million Americans who do not have the disease. It is very rarely hereditary. One of the leading causes of the disease is Lyme Disease. If someone is pro-active and knows about the connection, it is possible, actually possible to ward off the disease, and even stop the symptoms - by vitamin therapy and diet. But - they aren't talking about this. They're also not talking about the fact that up to 300,000 people contract Lyme Disease each year. Each one of these people is susceptible to developing AD.
We can track my father's AD back to Lyme Disease./>
All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead