Who Is Alzheimer’s?


I have a question – Who is this Alzheimer guy, anyway? 

Google is an amazing thing.  Type in a few words; and now, I know.  He was a German doctor, Alois Alzheimer, who in 1906 noticed a change in brain tissue in a woman who had died of a mysterious mental illness.  From his observations came what we now know as, “Alzheimer’s”.

I have a couple more questions – If you have a horrific disease named after you is that a good thing?  Do you go to a medical convention; sit around with your colleagues; and feel honored?

IMG_5263Maybe, when it came time to name Alzheimer’s, “Horrific, Unbelievable, Illogical Destruction Of Everything You Once Knew” was already taken.  Quite possibly, calling it “Hell” would have been offensive.  “The Worse Thing You Could Ever Imagine” might have made it sound like the disease was boasting about itself around cancer, heart disease or diabetes, and many, many other tragic inflictions. 

I have never had someone, close to me, die from cancer.  I know of many, who were taken suddenly by a heart attack, but they weren’t my mother.  Death is death!  It’s never pleasant. 

What I do know is I lost my father to an aneurysm nine years ago.  It only took three days to watch him pass from here to heaven, but it seemed like an eternity.  The last three years of Alzheimer’s with my mom makes those seventy-two hours seem like a fraction of a second.   

Alzheimer’s grabs hold of its victims and refuses to let go.  It squeezes life from them in its grip.  It lifts them from all they know and shakes lose all the memories.  It strangles away the recognition of spouses, children and friends.  It suffocates its victim in the darkness of nothingness.  And although it is often listed as a cause of death, it kills living long before it takes a helpless victim’s last breath.

Dr. Alzheimer died in Breslau, Poland in 1915.  I’m sure he deserves to have his final resting place marked by a memorial bearing his name; but all around the world, new victims, every day, are laid to rest under tombstones which could bear his name.  Those entombed are not alone in their dying.  If you would look around those cemeteries, you would find the remains of the souls, hearts and determination of the families of each of those victims. 

IMG_5276Friedrich Nietzsche said, “… if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”  As one of the most brilliant philosophers in the history of mankind, I will not argue with his observation.  I will, however, cautiously modify his words. 

What I have found to be true is – If you look into the abyss of Alzheimer’s long enough, Alzheimer’s will gaze back into you.


LivExceptionally (Even With Alzheimer’s),


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