Lozz: I watched an old movie the other night with Carey Grant and…um…what was her name…she was french…dark hair…I forget the name of the movie…it took place on an island off of New Guinea.
Me: Oh…ya…I think I know the one…uh…dark haired french actress…what was her name??
The conversation carries on like this for a bit and we are eventually talking about Natalie Wood and her husband, “what’s his name” oh ya, Robert Wagner and the fateful night she drowned. They were on a boat together with another actor. Who was that guy?? We both rack our brains because we know we know the answer but we just can’t get the neurons to respond! “I can see him” I claim as if that will help. We finally give up. I’ve just dropped her off at her house and I head for home. Our houses are only 100 feet apart and I’m barely in the door when I get a text message from her. “Dennis Hopper!” Yes! Thank you, now I can sleep tonight. (see comments below for the correct answer!)
This is a fairly common occurrence for me. It isn’t anything all that new either so I’m really not too concerned about it. My grandmother died from Alzheimer’s Disease but she didn’t start showing symptoms until late into her 70’s. At least not obvious ones. She was a master at hiding her symptoms in the beginning though. I also watched my mother-in-law slowly succumb to the disease.
I recently read a book by first time author, Lisa Genova, called “Still Alice” about this disease. I really enjoyed it, but it did scare me a little. It is unique in that it is the first story (that I’m aware of) that takes the perspective of the person with Alzheimer’s. We get to go inside Alice’s head and witness the disease as she does. What scared me is that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s and there were a few instances where I could relate just a little. When my grandmother and mother-in-law were going through this I had often wondered what it was like inside their heads. What were they thinking. Did they know what they wanted to say but just couldn’t form the correct words? Were they oblivious to the disease and therefore not bothered by it? There are so many different stages, but I do believe the final is probably the most peaceful. No more frustration.
~ “Still Alice is about a young woman’s descent into dymentia through early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alice is a fifty-year-old psychology professor at Harvard when she starts experiencing moments of forgetting and confusion. But, like most busy, professional people her age would, she at first attributes these signs to normal aging, too much stress, not enough sleep, and so on. But as things get worse, as things do with the disease, she eventually sees a neurologist and learns that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s. As Alice loses her ability to rely on her own thoughts and memories, as she loses her cerebral life at Harvard, where she’d placed all her worth and identity, she is forced to search for answers to questions like “Who am I now? and “How do I matter?” As the disease worsens and continues to steal pieces of what she’d always thought of as her self, we see her discover that she is more than what she can remember.” ~ Lisa Genova