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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Illness March 18, 2014

When my children were young, I was always so upset when they were sick-- and so fortunate that none of them was sick often or severely-- but as parents, we worry. What can we do to make them comfortable? When do we need to see the physician? When do we need antibiotics or just let the flu or cold run  its course?

This week, my husband is ill; he has a chest cold and similar to his behavior during the many years when he was healthy, he wants nothing more than to be left alone when he is sick. But just as when my children were young, my husband who has Alzheimer's disease cnnot tell me his symptoms, cannot make good decisions regarding his health or anything else and it is so hard to just sit there, hold his hand, place a cold cloth on his forehead, give him tea with honey and let him rest.

It seems as if he has aged ten years in the past week; he no longer greets me as someone special in his life. I am merely one of the kind people who care for him on a daily basis. It is so sad to see his stooped form walkng slowly from the dining table to the recliner, relating to no one, eating very little.

What can I do? I can increase my diligence to advocating for this disease, to advocate for increased funding to provide research to find a cure for this devastating slow deteriorating brain disease -and to refute claims by some that this disease is merely the result of an aging brain!!!

My grandson and I had a late brakfast at our favorite restaurant ysterday and overheard a conversation at another two tables. At one table a man sat alone, a widower for 30 years who said his children swore to disown him and never let him see his grandchildren again if he dated or married another woman, an edict he has followed all these years!  A man across from him, a minister, said his wife is in a home; she has Alzheimer's disease and was diagnosed in 2001. His seatmate lost his wife to Alzheimer's disease 4 years ago. 

Maybe it is because I live in a state with a large population of older adults, maybe I listen for these stories more now, but when I spoke at a church last Sunday, almost everyone's hand went up when I asked how many folks knew someone who has Alzheimer's disease. I think the incidence has been increasing. Is it because we live longer now?

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