How the Neurologist Got His Alzheimer’s

Dear Hayley,

Remember when we were little girls and it seemed like nothing bad ever happened? Yeah, there were cuts and bruises, and nightmares. But the Big Bad Stuff didn’t exist. And then slowly, out of nowhere, it started creeping in.  You threw up for the first time. Your guinea pig died.  Your best friend said she hated you.

Then, you got pimples. Maybe your grandparents started dying. Slowly  the world started to spin on another axis, one you never knew existed. And out of the blue, one day, you’ve got spots like a leopard, or the skin of an elephant or a hump like a camel. You’ve grown up into what you were meant to be even though it felt really weird and scary along the way.

Alzheimer’s disease is like a backward Rudyard Kipling tale—a so un-just story. You forget who you were meant to be. You lose the memory of why and how you got your skin, your spots, your hump. You go back to a time when nothing bad or good ever happens. You lose reason. And there’s no rhyme.

Today, my father asked Nora if she was his wife. He’s going the way of the white tiger, Hayley. Soon to be extinct. Which is why I have to write him down. To remember how, Best Beloved, he got to be he and I got to be me.



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