The Little Blog that Could

September 21, 2008

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Yes, we know. Things have been uncharacteristically slow this month at Pajamadeen. Not for lack of interest in our readers but, rather, a rough descent into the rabbit hole of Alzheimer’s disease, which my mother has. At last, the day came when she couldn’t remember my name. Even though you know the day is coming, it’s still shocking when it arrives. Three out of three doctors have declared her mentally incompetent and she thinks she’s in rehab for her recently broken right hip. She speaks constantly of going home, even asking us the other night if we”d heard of the Underground Railway and if we could start digging her a similar tunnel for escape. And this is just in rehab. She doesn’t yet know that this particular rehab facility was selected because it has an adjacent…Alzheimer’s care unit.

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Today is World Alzheimer’s Day. We signed up to participate in any way we can as an Alzheimer’s advocate. It’s estimated that 24 million people worldwide suffer from this little-understood and always fatal illness, in which little bits and chunks of a person’s personality and memories and everything else that makes them uniquely who are they, are picked away as if by a bird of prey, leaving behind an empty shell, a husk of a person. Today’s the last day of summer as well, and it seemed appropriate that with the approach of fall and the winter of her life, today was the day when Mama could no longer remember my name. She wanted to take the train and come visit and see the flowers Pajamadeen grew this year, but it’s yet another pleasure in life that’s not to be. We love you, Mama.

Read the story of how Joe Louis’s sister, an Alzheimer’s patient, froze to death this year when she wandered into the night from the retirement home she lived in.

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