I told myself her confusion was the result of some medication for back pain. I did not want to admit that one of the kindest, smartest people I had ever met might be slipping away.
By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Although not a blood relative, this person has had a profound influence on my life since I was four years old.
I have considered her my primarily role model. She was the one that taught me that each person has gifts that can benefit society, and with those gifts comes an obligation to make this world a better place.
We only had the opportunity to spend time together about a half dozen times over the past decade, but we have maintained close contact through email. She is someone whose advice I knew I could always rely on.
The last time we were together, I knew something was not right. But, even though I have had so much experience with Alzheimer’s disease, I was in denial about what I saw.
I told myself her confusion was the result of some medication for back pain. I did not want to admit that one of the kindest, smartest people I had ever met might be slipping away. After all, she was still her cheerful, positive, loving self. We talked about her pets, and she smiled and told me about her beloved dogs, two Great Danes.
She was very aware that I am devoting my life to confronting Alzheimer’s disease on every level. I knew that her dad had passed away from the disease. I told her that everything I accomplish in my life is really her accomplishment because she made me understand, when I was still very young, that it is my responsibility to pursue my passion and help others.
I remember our departing hug the last time we were together, about eight months ago.
I was glad we had some time together, but I had a sinking feeling that it was our goodbye. Just this weekend, I learned that she has progressed to Stage 6 of Alzheimer’s disease.
It hurts. Alzheimer’s steals yet another brilliant and kind mind.
I will fight you, Alzheimer’s disease.
I will keep working to make a difference in the silently growing underwater tsunami that is about to rise up and engulf our society.
PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.
- Test Your Memory for Alzheimer's (5 Best Tests)
- What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- Learning How to Communicate with Someone Suffering From Alzheimer's Disease
- Alzheimer's Communication Tip, No More Blah Blah Blah
- How to Listen to an Alzheimer's Patient
- How Do Alzheimer's Patients Die?
- Is Coconut Oil a Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease?
Learn more about the Alzheimer's Reading Room Knowledge Base