Jul 15, 2011

Believe It or Not, Dotty has Alzheimer's

From time to time, I get an email or comments on Facebook telling me there is no way that Dotty has Alzheimer's. This usually happens after some passerby listens to a podcast or watches a YouTube video featuring Dotty.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

It should say probable Alzheimer's disease up there on top.

Dotty was first diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's disease in 2004. Lets just say, the damage in her brain couldn't be explained by ordinary aging.

Dotty was also diagnosed in January, 2010, when she was admitted to the Dimebon clinical trial for Alzheimer's disease.

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In 2010, Dotty scored a 14 on the MMSE. I think she scored 19 three years earlier. Prior to the Dimbeon clinical trial, Dotty was on the combination of Aricept and Namenda. I took her off the Aricept for 60 days, and she ended up on the combination of Namenda and Dimebon during the clinical trial.

I am not a fan of the MMSE. However, they did have some more sophisticated test during the clinical trial.

For example, they showed Dotty the picture of a fork. They asked her, what do you do with this. Dotty was clueless. Next they handed her a fork, and asked her what do you do with this. She demonstrated how a fork is used to shovel food in to your mouth.

Six weeks later, they showed Dotty a picture of a fork and asked her, what do you do with this. She demonstarted what you do with a fork.

Now to the real point of this article.

From time to time, I get an email or comments on Facebook telling me there is no way that Dotty has Alzheimer's. This usually happens after some passerby listens to a podcast or YouTube video featuring Dotty.

The first couple of times this happened, the persons doing this tried to continually beat me up. I blocked them.

Yes, at first I was angry. Would you like to be called a liar? However, in typical fashion my brain took over. Care to guess what happened next?

I started thinking, well if they don't think Dotty has Alzheimer's I must be doing a pretty good job as an Alzheimer's caregiver.

So today, I get another one of those narly emails, more or less telling me I am full of it. No, I am not going to respond. Anyone is entitled to their opinion. Although, I tend to respect people that base their opinion on facts. On the other hand, not much respect for people that use their butt to think and conclude.

This brings me to you the Alzheimer's caregiver.

I bet you get frustrated when you think (and feel) that family, relatives or friends don't really understand how difficult it is being you. I also know that a fraction of caregivers have to suffer family and friends that don't believe the loved one is suffering from dementia. Yeah, it hurts and makes you angry.

However, I suggest you look at it the same way I do. You know what you are accomplishing and so do we. We understand.

Does it really matter what other people think when they haven't even taken the time to know the facts or examine the evidence? I don't think so.

What does matter is that you know what your are accomplishing. No one can take that away from you. You know now, and you'll know later.

The accomplishment belongs to you.

Go look in the mirror and give yourself a standing ovation. You deserve it.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,800 articles with more than 602,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room