Wednesday, February 17, 2010


About a year ago Julie submitted forms volunteering as a participant in an Alzheimer's research project. Some phone calls and more forms resulted in an interview and blood test in early December. Twice recently Julie commented that she must not have been selected since there was no further communication.

Yesterday she received a call. At the end of the first week of April at the Mayo Clinic she will have six hours of tests including another blood test. I'll be interviewed concerning changes in her memory in recent months.

As Julie's mother first declined into Alzheimer's she was taken periodically to a doctor who would conduct quick simple memory tests. One of the common questions was "what is today's date?". She couldn't remember but she could remember that the question was always asked. She resorted to cutting the date out of a newspaper and taking it with her. When asked the question she would look at the palm of her hand to answer. She has progressed beyond that point and memory tests are no longer appropriate.

It must be scary and extremely unsettling to know something is wrong, to be searching for ways to compensate, to be unable to understand what is happening. Hopefully, research will slow the decline and prevent some instances of the disease.

After finishing this I asked Julie's approval to use it. Here's her reply via instant messenger.

yes, unless you add that witnessing mom's disease sparked my interest in contributing to research as a way to help and compensate for the fact that I can't help M&D out very much because of the distance between us - the post is fine and factual but lacks any emotion on what for me is an emotional topic


Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

Well, alzheimbers is such a terrifying prospect for anybody that it is hard to fashion the terror one feels when confronted with the real possibility of falling prey to it. It's kind of different than simply knowing you are going to die......this is a slow death no one would wish on anybody. There's no way I personally could blog about it and at the same time even hope to paint the picture emotionally in the manner it deserves. You did well enough.

2/17/2010 08:50:00 PM  

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