Friday, September 21, 2012

Wear Purple and Walk


Many of you know that I lost my mother a month ago. For the past few years I watched her suffer as her brain gave way to the destruction caused by dementia.


September is World Alzheimer’s Month, dedicated to raising awareness of this terrible disease. Today, September 21, is Alzheimer’s Action Day. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on everyone to show support for the fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementias.


Almost every minute another American gets Alzheimer's, and as the baby boom generation gets older those numbers will double. This is our fight, those of us who are still young enough to be able to take action in a way that those who are afflicted no longer can. We can work to change our futures and ensure that neither we nor generations after us will have to suffer from this debilitating, mind-destroying disease.


Today, Alzheimer’s Action Day, wear or carry something purple, the color of the Alzheimer’s movement, to honor all those with this disease and their caregivers. Walks to End Alzheimer’s are being held all around the country to raise awareness and funds. My husband and I and a friend will be participating in one on Sunday.


Is there one in your area that you could sign up for?

If you can, consider making a monthly donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. I do, and the amount is charged to my credit card. I don’t even need to think about it, yet I know I’m doing something to help.

What can you do?


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Birthday Musings


We moved to a new neighborhood when I was fourteen (same city, just a different part), and I soon found out that, within a three-block radius, three other people had the same birthday as mine--today, September 19. One was a woman across the street who became my mother’s best friend. The other two were boys a few years younger than I was. We might have had a block party but never did.


What are the odds of that? I read once one of those interesting little factoids—that may not be facts at all—that if you have a certain number of people in a room, the odds are good that two of them would have the same birthday. I have no head for numbers, so I don’t remember how many people (although it was much closer to a dozen than to 366) or what the odds were. But in every place I’ve worked, every school I went to, among all the people I’ve known well enough to know their birthdays, I have not since met anyone else who had the same birthday as mine. And yet there were four of us at that particular time within three blocks of each other.


Do you know some of the famous people who share your birthday? When I fell in love with “The Man from UNCLE” I was thrilled to learn that David McCallum had the same birthday as mine. Younger people probably know him from NCIS, but to me he’ll always be Illya Kuryakin. And he’s looking darn good for 79. Also Jeremy Irons--not a bad person either to share a birthday with. And--how many people remember them?--Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, the one with the deep voice.  Not to mention Adam West of TV Batman fame.


So, how many of you know who you share your birthday with?


On a more sober note, this will be my first birthday without my mother. I’ll miss her terribly, of course, but it’s made easier by the fact that for the last couple of years she didn’t know when my birthday was, and when we told her she’d look disappointed and say “I didn’t get you anything”--knowing she was frustrated and upset with herself for her lack of memory. So today I honor her and thank her for the gift of life she gave me.


Thanks, Mom, and I’ll always love you.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Third Thing


Last Thursday afternoon I started to take my dog out for a walk. We went down the driveway and headed for the curb to cross the street.


The next thing I knew I was waking up in an ambulance, with EMTs surrounding me.


Strangely, I don’t remember being surprised or scared. I seemed to accept where I was. The EMT told me I had fallen in the street. I asked where my dog was; he said they’d put her back in the house. Then I asked who had called them. A passerby, they said. They told me they were taking me to the hospital, and I accepted that. I was able to give them my name and address, and presumably my husband’s phone number at work, as they were calling him.


But I had absolutely no memory of having fallen.


I was given at CT scan at the hospital, which was negative. I had a bump and a cut on my head that took a couple of stitches, a cut on my inner lip, and a chip off my front tooth. I was told I have a concussion. I’ve been resting the past few days and avoiding going out because I look the bride of Frankenstein. If this were Halloween, I’d be all set to scare the kiddies.


But it’s a scary thing to think about. I’ve never lost consciousness before in my life, and to have no memory at all of what happened is really disturbing. (I keep asking my dog, the only witness, but she isn’t talking.) I felt fine when we left the house. I wasn’t dizzy or lightheaded at all. The last thing I remember thinking is planning to cross the street in front of my house. There’s been road work going on on our street for months, and the pavement is uneven. There’s a sort of pipe sticking up near the curb. Maybe I tripped over something. Maybe Honey suddenly spotted a squirrel and bolted, pulling me off my feet. Maybe a lot of things…I guess I’ll never know.


I have an appointment with my own doctor on Tuesday to have the stitches removed. I’ll tell him the story and see if he thinks I need follow-up. In the meantime I don’t feel too bad; ibuprofen helps for what pain I have, though it isn’t much, and I can only wait for the purple-and-red around my eye to fade. In the meantime, though, I’m going to avoid going out in public if at all possible.


One good thing to come out of this, I guess: I think I’ve lost my aversion to cell phones. If whoever saw me in the street hadn’t had one, I’d have been lying there longer. Maybe I’ll even start carrying my little TracPhone with me now when I go out.


They say bad things come in threes. If that’s true, I should be safe for a while now. My mother’s death, the virus from hell that hung on for three weeks, and now this. It’s been quite a month.