(And a note about the vaccine)
The Sweet 17 are such a memorable band of sisters, all with their unique blend of marvelous beauty and disease-caused imperfection. Mrs. PB-J is no exception to this story.
Mrs. PB-J is a farm girl from Nowhere, Oklahoma. She laughs a lot and dishes out the teasing even faster than she takes it. She is mobile and stays pretty much to herself except at mealtime when she has her Sweet 17 table posse. Every day when I get there I come up with a peanut butter and jelly joke of some sorts because she has some sort of an arrangement with the staff, not unlike a prisoners arranges to get smokes, so that she gets her beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and for supper daily. Yesterday I asked my stepdad in a voice loud enough for her to overhear: “Did you hear about the robbery at the nursing home that was broadcast on KY3??” “Apparently, someone broke in with an armored car and stole every last container of peanut butter and of jelly! They were shocked but happy that that was all that was taken.” He responded playing along until she said “That didn’t happen!!!” with her soprano, head-voice-originated laugh. Last visit I told him of the great peanut shortage from the floods and how issued a state of emergency and are immediately replacing all peanut butter with kale butter to save the minimal peanut butter supply for former President Jimmy Carter. She thought this an untruth as well.
I haven’t noticed traditional dementia symptoms with this damsel in distress. She forgets, but not excessively. She does get frustrated with one of her table posse, my mom’s roommate, when she asks the same question for the 12th time in that meal and she loudly corrects her. As I look through the signs of dementia, I only see hints of a few of them. It is a reminder that the dementia thing is a spectrum…and umbrella of symptoms. If she was truly diagnosed, she likely has one of the symptoms that are acute that I just haven’t observed yet. It also reminds me that those with the condition can hide the symptoms and do…as best they can. Regardless, for now, she is pretty healthy and a super fun lady to be around. 🙂
My visit with mom was great yesterday was another good one. It started by me getting to meet the new hospice volunteer. She is a super nice lady and will hang out with mom when she is around. What a constitution or a sense of ministry it would take to voluntarily sit with dozens of strangers (at first) typically with six or less months to live!! Perhaps one would get used to it, but I am not so sure. What a blessing she and hospice as a whole has already been as a supplemental membership to Team Mom. 🙂
Mom was in good spirits and was in a goofy mood. Her speech was jumbled, but had moments of fun and clarity. It makes me sad when she loses her train of thought, but as long as I don’t make a big deal about it she doesn’t mind. She told me in not so many words yesterday that she likes it where she is. What a lady! I love her more every day and hate the disease even more as well.
Last Thoughts: If you have a chance today, swing by and look at the info about the Alzheimer’s vaccine that made its way through the news cycle yesterday. Every news reporter around parroted this story and it may well be great news…but likely won’t. Here is why, from a non-scientist, but one with common sense that understands business and this disease pretty well for a recent entrant into the topic:
- Dementia is a spectrum of different conditions.
- Every “version” of dementia, whether Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), Vascular Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, mixed dementia, etc… have different symptoms, harm different parts of the brain, and likely have a very different potential “vaccine” or “cure”. To say that you have a vaccine for Alzheimer’s discounts that there are multiple causes and types would be tantamount to saying that you created a vaccine for cancer that has been proven to prevent lung cancer, so it will also automatically work for skin cancer, testicular cancer and breast cancer. Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t? Which kind of lung cancer?
- Big red flag: Mice. Mice do not naturally get Alzheimer’s. They just don’t. Please don’t believe those who say they do. They can be given genetic soup and meds and other stimuli that could mimic Alzheimer’s, but who is to say that some form of e-Alzheimer’s is the same?
- We don’t know the actual cause of most every dementia. Example: Beta Amyloid-related issues are often blamed for the disease because they are present in nearly every type. But, what if they are a side-effect, a sub-cause, or just something that happens when you have dementia like, perhaps, a scar after getting a cut? Huge $tudies focused on eliminating these BAs have had funding pulled many times due to inclusive results.
- Money is at play. A vaccine is worth, literally, trillions of dollars. Any hint that something may prevent the disease would mean the researchers will have a blank checkbook.
- People get hurt by getting their hopes up. Real people. Caregivers. Patients. Families.
- Wanting something really badly doesn’t make it happen. I would give every dime I own for a cure for my mom and the Sweet 17 including Mrs. PB-J.
- All of this being said…I hope there is something good coming from the vaccine talk, but I am not optimistic. But I hope.
- Will I take a potential vaccine? Likely. I am trying to get accepted into some pretty significant testing right now. One such test will require frequent MRIs (a fresh hell for claustrophobic me) and multiple spinal injections. I am willing if it will help.
- Cures and vaccines come and go… A Lot! Google the subject and go a few pages in past the hype of this vaccine and see the million vaccines/cures that have failed.
- PLEASE be extremely hesitant to even take a second look at miracle cures you see and hear about all the time that are nothing new. CBD oil does NOT cure dementia. It just doesn’t. No really, overzealous salesman, it doesn’t even if you refund your huge sales commission. It may help with stimulating hunger or with anxiety (there are many things that help with those), but it needs genuine FDA testing, not just anecdotes. There are also snake oils everywhere, preying on those who are hopeless and there is a special wing in hell for people who knowingly deceive in this way.
- I want to believe. I do trust the Lord with the results.
So until a real vaccine and cure are developed or approved, we march on. We advocate for patients and for seniors. We give. We pray. We serve and help where we can. And, all the while we look heavenward where there is no shortage of PBJs at the table and, oh yes, no pain either…