Dear Anyone Who Knows Someone Worried About Alzheimer’s,
After my headache/panic attack/discombobulated trip to the ER on Sunday, I have a more heightened awareness and concern about what I might be forgetting. I’m also increasingly sensitive to people commenting on anything that might have slipped my mind. So here’s a tip for pals of people who worry about Alzheimer’s Disease running their family:
Please, pretty please, don’t ever say, “YOU DON’T REMEMBER THAT?” Unless, of course, you want to send your friend (ie. me) into a full-blown panic attack. Oh shit, do I have it? What’s happening to me? God, I am so young!
Truth is that we are all forgetting all the time. (See accompanying graphic I found on the Internet when I was looking for something I forgot.) Plus, I am so preoccupied with my dad and this disease that non-essential information is falling between brain hemispheres. Besides, I am trying to remember two lives now. His and mine.
When I visit Beau at Juniper, I never say, “Hey, remember me?” Questions like that put the patient on the defensive and creates anxiety. It’s better to say, “Hey, Dad. It’s me! Gal!” It’s imperative that the burden of remembering fall on my shoulders on these occasions.
Obviously there is a huge difference in the two scenarios, but they intersect in the same place—-Fear. So I am asking you, please ease my burden too. Just repeat what you told me a few minutes/weeks/months ago without calling attention to my lapse. It’s also quite possible that what you said was boring as hell and I never had any interest in committing it to memory. But I’ll save you that embarrassment if you’ll save me mine.
In the same vein, I’ve always despised the phrase, “YOU NEVER HEARD OF ____?” Fill in the blank with any person, place or thing. Nobody has heard of everything, right? Seems to me that people who use this phrase are trying to make themselves feel superior and/or make you feel inadequate. So, while we’re at it, can we stop that too?
Thanks and love,
One Comment Add yours
I believe we are all guilty of forgetting some thing at some time a lot of the time…as you pointed out it is how we react to the forgetting…and more importantly…in what state of mind are we in, when we forget. “State of mind”…what a strange term…I may google it one day, although I feel lately I have been googling far too much…all of us have…the shortcut that gets us to the answer to almost anything instantaneously has become the most overused site in the universe and I happen to feel that is this googling along with texting, cell phone calling and emailing that is heading us into a very strange non-communitive place (or should that read non- communative?)…well you know what I mean. I am wondering what I will become with the voice-activated iPhone…I’ll probably never have to read another book, newspaper or talk to anyone again! In any case , back to my comment…man did I digress! Your “you don’t remember that?” reference reminded me of my friend, Charlie Irwin’s song that he wrote years ago and that I saw him perform in a club in LA. It was titled “I’ll Never Forget The Time That I” and it was a slow blues that did not have any other lyrics but those and he just kept repeating the line over and over…gradually becoming more and more frustrated… at the time it made me laugh. It was a parody of “going up” which is a term used in stage acting when you totally forget your lines…you are blank…on stage in front of 100’s 1000’s…and you cannot remember the next “line” that is going to cue the next actor to give his or her “line”. Well, all the worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players, they have their exits and their entrances and one man, in his time, plays many parts…etc…etc
This morning as I dropped David off at school I squeezed his hand three times and told him that it meant “I love you” then I squeezed four times and told him that it means “I love you too” I did this for possible future use. Your previous posting which hit me far too deep to comment referred to you and your Dad squeezing hands, and you squeezed Nana Arceneaux’s hand in the nursing home. The thought that one of us may not be able to communicate with him one day… I wanted him to know just what the squeezing would mean.
All that said I won’t be making any “forgetting” jokes for a long time to come.